Defra's New Evidence Investment Strategy (EIS)

26 January 2010: We are pleased to announce the launch of Defra’s new Evidence Investment Strategy: 2010 -2013 and beyond (PDF 220 KB).

Evidence is at the heart of good policy-making at Defra.  It provides information for decision-making, helps us find new policy solutions, and supports us in identifying and tackling emerging issues. We need to be equipped to provide good quality evidence to support policy making now and in the future.

Defra's Evidence Investment Strategy: 2010-2013 and beyond coverThe EIS is the culmination of 18 months of hard work and vigorous analysis. Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) has talked with and listened to colleagues across Defra and beyond. He has explored the key evidence activities of the department, analysed priorities such as the big evidences challenges (fig 1), and identified where improvements can be made. You may like to hear about some of the key priorities and recommendations in the CSAs short video above. A transcript of the video (PDF 70KB) is also available.

Figure 1: The Big Challenges

The Evidence Investment Strategy has 5 key objectives:

  • Prioritise investments between programmes
  • Sharpen our focus to deliver evidence and innovation where we need it most – short and long-term
  • Increase co-operation using partnership working to share investments, knowledge and expertise
  • Develop and organise the right skills, expertise and capabilities
  • Refine our processes to better embed evidence

The Strategy will be complemented by an action oriented implementation plan to enable us to embed culture change and ensure the strategy delivers real impact on the ground.

For further information, or if you have any comments, please contact the Evidence Strategy Project Team at

For more information about our departmental objectives.

Capability Study

Defra published a report on 12 May 2009 from a project to survey the external capabilities the Department is likely to need to deliver evidence to meet its strategic requirements. The report is a contractor’s independent assessment of strategically important capabilities. It is not a statement of Defra policy or intent. However, we expect it to influence future planning and strategic evidence management, including informing drafting of the forthcoming Evidence Investment Strategy.

The report identifies some areas of the UK research base as providing capabilities of particular strategic importance to Defra. “Capability” refers to parts of the knowledge and research base - facilities, expertise, networks, and long-term datasets. The report highlights capabilities that are:

  • important to Defra’s mission,
  • would be difficult to replace if allowed to lapse, and
  • dependent on Defra investment or another single main funder.

It suggests Defra might monitor these capabilities and consider some strategic management to ensure their continued availability to meet Defra’s needs. It does not address whether capabilities are vulnerable to funding changes.

Page last modified: 26 January 2010
Page published: 12 February 2007