Policy Anticipation, Response and Evaluation

Evidence-based policy is often framed by questioning what works, for whom and in what situations. It is often forgotten that the ability to answer this question depends on knowledge about what has happened, what is happening and what is likely to happen.

Impact evaluation, real-time monitoring and foresight are critical elements of development policy processes. This is particularly so when issues are emergent, complex, or sensitive. Effective short- and medium-term horizon scanning is thus essential. New tools, approaches, and methods are needed to allow governments, donors, NGOs, and businesses to scan, to act, and to measure impact.

The Policy Anticipation, Response and Evaluation programme (2012–17) was commissioned and funded by the UK Department for International Development. In addressing these issues, the programme was organised under three themes: foresight, rapid response, and impact innovation.

The first of the programmes outcomes was stronger and timely evidence-based guidance for governments, donors, and NGOs to respond rapidly to unfolding events and newly emerging issues through horizon scanning and crisis response. The programme also provided extensive new knowledge on innovative approaches for evaluating policy impacts in complex contexts.


Image of James Sumberg
James Sumberg

Research Fellow

Image of Kelly Shephard
Kelly Shephard

Head of Knowledge, Impact and Policy



Tomorrow Today

Tomorrow Today is a horizon scanning programme designed to support the preliminary but systematic exploration of new and emergent policy issues.


Impact Innovation

This programme will assess the impact of new interventions and policy options across a range of policy areas.

Recent work


Inclusion, Ethics and Evaluation: Panel Discussion

This panel discussion is supported by the Institute of Development Studies' Department for International Development Accountable Grant, with a view to continue a dialogue around the use and application of ethics in impact evaluation.

6 July 2016