Caucasus Research Resource Centers Consultant

The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) were founded as a network of research, resource and training centers established in the capital cities of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia with the goal of strengthening social science research and public policy analysis in the South Caucasus in 2003. A partnership between the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, and local universities, the CRRC network originally offered scholars and practitioners stable opportunities for integrated research, training and collaboration in the region. More information on CRRC can be found at www.crrc.ge, www.crrc.am, and http://www.crrc.az.

Since 2013, CRRC-Georgia and CRRC-Armenia have been established as independent research centers registered in Tbilisi and Yerevan, while CRRC-Azerbaijan has remained within Eurasia Partnership Foundation. Since their inception, the centers have developed into leading research centers in the South Caucasus with a focus on the collection, analysis, and publication of policy-relevant data on economic, political, and social trends in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Since their founding, the Centers have carried out research for most major international organizations active in the South Caucasus, through over 100 research projects.

CRRC seeks an evaluation expert or consultancy to conduct a final evaluation of the program for the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The goal of the evaluation is to assess the effectiveness of the CRRC’s strategy and implementation, assess its impact and sustainability, and to recommend future strategy. The evaluation is scheduled to be conducted in the winter/spring of 2017, with the final report submitted no later than March 15, 2018. The proposed quotation (budget) for the evaluation should include taxes and expenses for transportation to and within Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, if necessary, accommodation, and per diem. The deadline for the submission of bids is December 20, 2017.

Program Background

In 2003, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, and local universities, launched Caucasus Research Resource Centers in Baku, Tbilisi, and Yerevan. Since then the Centers have been broadly oriented towards social sciences, with particular emphasis on evidence-based policy-relevant research.

CRRC now employs around 35 staff. In summary, CRRC provides the following:

  • Methodological trainings, seminars, workshops and conferences
  • Data from the single largest coordinated annual household survey in the South Caucasus
  • Fellowships to early career local and international researchers, to undertake research in situ
  • Data collection and analysis services
  • Policy analysis
  • Library and IT resources, including access to databases and J-STOR

Subsequent to launch, the Centers established libraries, computer pools, and initiated a series of methodological trainings, as well as conferences, workshops and seminars. To address the lack of underlying data, CRRC initiated the Data Initiative, a household survey to measure demographic, political, social and economic developments across the region. This Data Initiative was intended to produce a real output as well as build capacity, and since has developed into the Caucasus Barometer.

From 2007, CRRC began to attract external funding for projects. UNDP, UNICEF, Transparency International, FCO, USAID, IFES, NDI/SIDA, and other donors began to request various research activities, typically with an emphasis on CRRC’s extensive survey work. Since 2007, the Centers have carried out over 100 externally funded projects.

Evaluation Goal, Objectives and Research Questions

The goal of the final evaluation is to assess the CRRC’s impact and sustainability, and to recommend future strategy.

Objective 1: Assess the Centers’ ability to effectively manage and implement the program’s research activities and resource provision.

  • Characterize the Centers’ impacts on each country’s policy and academic communities.
  • Characterize the quality of the academic research that CRRC has supported.
  • Describe how extensively the raw data produced by the Data Initiative/ Caucasus Barometer has been utilized in academic and policy research.
  • Describe whether informal or formal cross-border network(s) of academics emerged with the support of CRRC. If so, describe the nature of these networks, their depth and the benefits their members draw from them.
  • Provide recommendations on how can CRRC leverage its data products to create more support and more data usage.
  • Assess whether CRRC struck an appropriate balance between its research activities and capacity building.
  • Describe the strategies CRRC should consider to increase the usage of its resources and services.
  •  Assess the monitoring systems CRRC uses to generate feedback on its performance.

Objective 2: Assess the sustainability of each center.

  • Characterize how CRRC’s sustainability strategy has evolved since the launch of the program.
  • Assess whether strategies are still viable given the changing institutional contexts the Centers face in each country.
  • Provide recommendations on what steps CRRC can take to increase the likelihood of its success.
  • Describe, given the in-house capacity of the CRRC staff, what directions the centers should take to increase sustainability?

At the outset of the evaluation activity, the expert is expected to finalize the list of goals with her/his own recommendations in consultation with CRRC to meet the goal and objectives of the evaluation.

Evaluation Methodology and Sources

CRRC recommends that the evaluator consider utilizing a mixed methods approach including extensive document review and in-depth interviews with key informants, and potentially focus groups with beneficiaries. On-line surveys can be implemented as well.

The following information sources should be used during the evaluation:

  • Mid-term process evaluation. The experts are advised to review the midterm process evaluation as a starting point for the evaluation.
  • Interviews with program stakeholders and key implementers. The experts are advised to interview CRRC staff, stakeholders and a sample of beneficiaries, including local researchers.
  • CRRC proposals to the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The documentation submitted to the Carnegie typically gives a comprehensive and frank overview over objectives, goals, as well as successes and challenges.
  • CRRC Caucasus Barometer documentation. Extensive documentation surrounding CRRC’s flagship Caucasus Barometer program.
  • CRRC documentation. Currently, CRRC has a large number of research products, including data usage statistics, blog views, web traffic, CRRC Research Fellowship documentation, and other documents and data are available for review.

Expected Tasks and Deliverables

The evaluator’s tasks will be aimed at addressing the above-stated goal and objectives and will include the following:

  • Design an evaluation methodology
  • Review formal documentation
  • Interview CRRC staff, beneficiaries, partners and other relevant stakeholders
  • Prepare an evaluation report
  • Present the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report to stakeholders

The evaluator will be expected to produce the following deliverables:

  1. Work plan for evaluation activities
  2. First draft of evaluation report
  3. Final draft of evaluation report
  4. Presentation of the main results of the evaluation for Carnegie Corporation and CRRC (in PowerPoint format)

The draft report will include the following sections:

  1. Description of evaluation methodology
  2. Presentation of the main findings
  3. Presentation of the main conclusions
  4. Programmatic recommendations for the Carnegie Corporation of New York and CRRC

The final report (no more than 25 pages without annexes, single-spaced, 12 font, Times New Roman) will include the following sections:

  1. Executive summary in English (max. 2 pages)
  2. Brief description of the program (max. 2 pages)
  3. Description of the methodology and data collection tools utilized in the course of the evaluation
  4. Presentation of the main findings and conclusions
  5. Presentation of the recommendations for the Carnegie Corporation of New York and CRRC
  6. Presentation of key lessons learned
  7. Annexes, including scope of work, data collection instruments, list of documents reviewed, list of interviewees, etc.

Intended Use of the Evaluation

The evaluation’s findings, conclusions, lessons learned and recommendations will be used for the following purposes:

  • To strengthen CRRC’s program strategy and performance.
  • To provide sufficiently robust information to key decision-makers at the Carnegie Corporation of New York as they consider future programs in the region and beyond.

Eligibility of Applicants

Organizations or individuals are eligible to apply if they possess the following qualifications:

  • Experience evaluating research and policy initiatives.
  • Work experience in the post-Soviet region, preferably in the South Caucasus;
  • Ability to evaluate the wide breadth of CRRC programs, from capacity building activities to research provision;
  • Proven track record of conducting external evaluations and/or providing advice to programs that promote research and higher education development; and
  • An MA, equivalent or higher degree in a relevant field.

Bid Proposals

CRRC seeks bids from individuals or organizations to conduct this evaluation. All interested parties are requested to submit a bid by December 20, 2017.

Applicants must submit a cover letter, comprehensive CV, and a separate description of relevant experience. Samples of comparable work are considered a plus.

CRRC compensates honoraria and salaries, travel costs, per diem rates, communication costs, printing and other costs related to the evaluation. The budget for the evaluation should include taxes and expenses for transportation to and within the region, accommodation and per diem.

Selection Criteria

CRRC will select the winning proposal from among the companies or individuals submitting a complete bid by the proposal deadline. The selection criteria include the following:

  • Qualifications of the bidding personnel, as set out in the Eligibility of Applicants section above;
  • Degree to which proposal adheres to evaluation goals, objectives and questions listed above;
  • Feasibility of proposed methodology and work plan;
  • Cost-effectiveness; and
  • Ability to adhere to the time constraints of the proposed activities.

CRRC reserves the right to make no award if circumstances warrant.

Evaluation Logistics

Dustin Gilbreath will be the key liaison for the evaluation company/expert(s). The CRRC Office in Tbilisi will provide assistance with making logistical arrangements, e.g. flights, hotel reservations, etc. The evaluator will also be expected to work with Eurasia Foundation evaluation staff (remotely is acceptable) based in Washington, DC.

Provisional Timeframe

Tender announcement:                                                                        December 4, 2017

Bids due:                                                                                                   December 15, 2017

Project award:                                                                                         December 22, 2017

Approval of detailed work plan (incl. methodology and data collection tools):            January 05, 2018

Field work and preparing first draft:                                  January – February, 2018

First draft due:                                                                                                  March 1, 2018

Final draft due:                                                                                               March 15, 2018

Contact information

Proposals may be submitted by email to CRRC’s application address at [email protected].

Interested persons who have questions about this tender should email their inquiries to Dustin Gilbreath: [email protected].