CLAimDev conducted its first evaluation during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic while the Philippines was still under partial stay-at-home orders and stringent domestic and international travel restrictions. Unexpectedly, these restrictions opened the door for CLAimDev to experiment with new ways of disseminating and learning from evaluation (covered in Section 3), increasing value for money while also enabling CLAimDev to support USAID/Philippines to complete more evaluations during 2021 than it had in any previous year (Annex 1).

USAID/Philippines requested CLAimDev to conduct a final performance evaluation to understand the extent to which the STRIDE Activity met its objective of strengthening science, technology, innovation, and partnership (STIP) in higher education institutions (HEIs).

The evaluation used mixed quantitative and qualitative methods and three levels of analysis: national-level innovation policy analysis, regional-level collaborative framework analysis, and individual-level analysis of higher education and government research and development institutions. There were three evaluation parameters: relevance, effectiveness, and sustainability.

Summary of Findings

  • Increased

    human capital via capacity building

  • Conducted

    strategic research, leading to knowledge creation

  • Promoted

    knowledge and technology transfer

  • Strengthen

    collaboration at national and regional levels

  • Marginally

    affected commercialization, via start-ups and spin-offs

  • Relevance

    In what ways has STRIDE contributed to addressing the development challenges as outlined in the Filipinnovation Roadmap of the Philippine Development Plan 2017–2022, USAID Policy on Education, and USAID higher education program framework?

    Interventions were targeted, focused, and responsive to the needs of actors in the innovation ecosystem which the Philippines Government sees as a prerequisite for creating high-value jobs and reducing poverty. Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers (RIICs) and government–industry–academe (GIA) partnerships reaching out to industry and medium, small, and micro enterprises formed a critical part of the strategy to increasing innovation in the Philippines. Leveraging participation of local research institution and business organizations in capacity-building work built trust among actors.

  • Effectiveness

    In what ways did STRIDE contribute to achieving the three intermediate results (IRs) on improved higher education institutions’ capacity for innovation, improved regulatory and policy environment for innovation, and improved government capacity for innovation?

    Newly developed curricular programs and the autonomous status of some universities were important factors that helped higher education institutions achieve and sustain improvements in the innovation sector. STRIDE made its greatest impact by facilitating linkages and collaborations among the actors in the innovation ecosystem. This improved cooperation among government departments, paving the way for improved policies for extension services of government, industry, and academe.

    Comparing improvement in research and development processes between higher education institutions and regional development initiatives (RDIs) showed that higher education institutions focused more on increasing funding and research while RDIs focused on the commercialization of their output.

  • Sustainability

    What is the likelihood that initiatives and gains will continue after completion of the project?

    It is highly likely that many of STRIDE’s gains will continue after project completion. Key factors that will likely ensure sustainability include STRIDE’s work to:

    • Establish a capacity-building training center for advanced research
    • Institutionalize the capacity of technology transfer officers for intellectual property management and commercialization through a program with the Department of Science and Technology and Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology
    • Create career centers in STRIDE’s higher education partners
    • Support the creation and development of master’s programs in science and technology that focus on professional rather than academic careers.

    RIIC sustainability depends on the cooperation and, in some cases the leadership, of government workers. The Philippine Innovation Act ensures sustained funding of 1 billion Philippine pesos per year for innovation work. STRIDE supported the crafting of implementing rules and regulations for this law. The Innovation Fund is essential for STRIDE’s sustainability.