Evaluation to advance science policy: Lessons from Pacific RISA and CLIMAS

Daniel B. Ferguson, Melissa L. Finucane, Victoria W. Keener, Gigi Owen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


Over the past several decades, the need for societally relevant, decision-oriented climate research has increased. However, there is limited empirical evidence that clarifies as to what activities and institutions most effectively provide climate information and decision-support services to diverse stakeholders. Thus, understanding the extent to which Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments RISA research and outreach activities contribute to regional decision-making in the United States has become critical. In this chapter, we discuss the evaluation activities by two (RISA) teams-Pacific RISA and the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS)-providing examples of metrics and methods for evaluating the programs that are implemented in a complex, real-world environment. We argue that to inform science policy across scales, we need to design evaluations so that results are meaningful and legitimate, and, at the same time, also allow for the highly iterative and adaptive nature of the environments in which RISA work is done and utilized. We conclude the chapter by distilling the lessons learned from the evaluation initiatives undertaken thus far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClimate in Context
Subtitle of host publicationScience and Society Partnering for Adaptation
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781118474785
ISBN (Print)9781118474792
StatePublished - Apr 29 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Action-logic model
  • Climate program evaluation
  • Climate research program theory
  • Theory of change
  • Use-inspired research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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