Science Informing Evaluation

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In evaluation practice, the integration of scientific principles and methodologies ensures rigor, reliability, and relevance to analyses and findings, and can bring legitimacy to decision-making. This conference session will illuminate the symbiotic relationship between science and evaluation, showcasing how insights from various scientific disciplines enrich and inform evaluation methodologies across diverse domains. Through this plenary of expert panelists, attendees will explore the dynamic interplay between scientific tools and inquiry and evaluation practice, and how evidence-based approaches derived from fields such as psychology, sociology, economics, biology, and other environmental sciences contribute to the advancement of evaluation methodologies. Some of the sub-topics we will explore include the theoretical underpinnings of evaluation, advances and innovations in interdisciplinary practice, the use of behavioral insights in evaluation, data analytics and modeling, and ethical considerations inherent to the intersection of science and evaluation. Join us for a lively and engaging discussion.


Rosina Bierbaum
Rosina Bierbaum
Scientific Technical Advisory Panel (STAP)

Dr. Rosina Bierbaum is Dean Emerita of the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment and School of Public Health, University of Michigan, and a Research Professor and Roy F. Weston Chair in Natural Economics University of Maryland School of Public Policy. Her experience extends from climate science into foreign relations and international development. She served for two decades in both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government and ran the first Environment Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
In addition to serving as Chair to STAP, Dr. Bierbaum serves as an Adviser to the Global Adaptation Commission. She also serves on the board of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Federation of American Scientists, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the Climate Reality Project, the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
Dr. Bierbaum is a member of the Philosophical Society and the American National Academy of Sciences, as well a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Ecological Society of America, and Sigma Xi. She received the American Geophysical Union's Waldo Smith award for 'extraordinary service to Geoscience' and the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Protection Award. In October 2023, she is set to receive the Association for Environmental Health and Science (AEHS) Foundation Achievement Award.
Dr. Bierbaum has authored key reports on climate change – particularly highlighting the importance of adaptation – for the World Bank, the Congress, the White House, and the United Nations. She has lectured on every continent. She earned a BA in English, a BS in Biology, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution.


Edward Vine
Edward Vine
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Dr. Vine is currently an Affiliate at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where, as a Staff Scientist, he was involved in the evaluation of energy efficiency programs and policies for over 36 years. Dr. Vine contributed to the development of evaluation protocols in California and for the US Department of Energy. He was on the Board and the Planning Committee of the International Energy Program Evaluation Conference, as well as the International Energy Policy and Program Evaluation Conference. Dr. Vine has received numerous awards for his professional work, and in 2007, as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Vine has a BS in Environmental Studies from Middlebury College, and a MS and Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis. Along with a group of committed evaluation professionals around the world, Dr. Vine is currently working on the creation of an evaluation community in Asia.

Gregory Nemet
Gregory Nemet
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gregory Nemet is a Professor and Interim Director at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the La Follette School of Public Affairs. He teaches courses in policy analysis, energy systems, and international environmental policy. His research focuses on understanding the process of technological change and the ways in which public policy can affect it. He has a Doctorate in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley and an A.B. in Geography and Economics from Dartmouth College. In 2017, he received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and used it to write a book on how solar PV provides lessons for the development of other low-carbon technologies: “How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation” (Routledge 2019). He was awarded the inaugural World Citizen Prize in Environmental Performance by APPAM in 2019. He was a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 6th Assessment Report (2023).

Nik Sekhran
Nik Sekhran
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Chief Conservation Officer

In a career spanning 26 years, Nik has worked to protect the environment and transform the development pathways of countries to ensure they are both greener and more equitable. He has worked on the ground in over 45 countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America. Nik worked for many years at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where he has served most recently as the Director for Sustainable Development, leading a team of over 200 staff dedicated to advancing the UN sustainable development goals.
He began his career working for an extensive period in government in Papua New Guinea, where he worked in the Department of Finance and Planning on the Tropical Forest Action Plan, as well as on fisheries and agriculture, and then in the Department of Environment and Conservation on biodiversity conservation initiatives. He joined the United Nations in 1997. His work there has focused on advising governments on how to ensure the sustainable use of biodiversity, fish stocks, forests, and wetlands, and to take measures to ensure that economic development is planned and managed to reduce pressures on nature. In 2001 he moved to South Africa, where he assumed responsibilities for UNDP’s biodiversity and international waters programs in Southern and Eastern Africa.
Nik became the global head of UNDP’s biodiversity initiatives across the world in 2006. He established the first biodiversity Policy Framework adopted by a multilateral development agency. He has created new systems of protected areas across the world, integrated biodiversity conservation into development planning and investment, and played a key role in the conservation finance arena. He also represented UNDP at the Convention on Biological Diversity. Under his watch, UNDP’s Biodiversity program grew from $400 million to $1.6 billion with projects in over 100 countries.
Nik has served as the Chair of the Steering Group and Executive Board of the UNREDD Programme, and supported the development of the $500 million USD Central Africa Forest Initiative.

Svetlana Negroustoueva
Svetlana Negroustoueva
Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service (IAES), CGIAR
Lead, Evaluation Function

Ms Svetlana Negroustoueva leads Independent Evaluation Function at CGIAR, which deliver science and innovation that advance the transformation of food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis. Svetlana has 20+ years of experience working with the World Bank (GEF and CIFs), the African Development Bank (link), several UN agencies, NGOs, and bilateral agencies (USG and DFID). She has worked on M&E activities at the intersection of R4D, sustainable landscapes, energy, health, food security, gender and social inclusion, and has been an active member of evaluation associations (AEA, EES). At CGIAR, she lead the development of the evaluation guidelines on evaluating Quality of Science, which are currently being applied to the evaluations of three science groups. She represents CGIAR on a Steering Committee of EvalFoward. Svetlana has a passion and expertise is in the domain of gender and evaluation; she was a co-chair of EvalGender+, the global partnership to promote the demand, supply and use of Equity Focused and Gender Responsive Evaluations.

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