Metrics and Evaluation


How will you measure up? The benefits and impacts of genomics research can be difficult to identify and celebrate.

Driven by a mission to connect ideas and people across public and private sectors to find new uses for genomics, Genome Canada is investing in large-scale science and technology (S&T) to fuel innovation and translate discoveries into applications to maximize impacts across all sectors. How do we know if we are successful in achieving this? And how can we learn from our efforts?

This module explores emerging issues on how Genome Canada and the Genome Centers are tackling the complexity of capturing and disseminating meaningful outcomes and impacts. We delve into innovative approaches that can be used to tell the stories that speak of both the successes and the challenges faced by research projects with a perspective to drive learning.

There is increasing impetus for S&T organizations, including Genome Canada and the Genome Centers, to demonstrate success along the innovation continuum, from research discovery to end-user utilization and its consequent translational benefits to justify continued support from Provincial and  Federal governments. Such benefits include aspects such as commercialization, technology transfer and valorization, which incorporate the value-added impacts to society beyond science. While the remit for measuring performance is vast, the budgets tend to be low, methods are often traditional, and learning opportunities are often limited.  The following themes are elaborated upon and discussed with practical examples to better understand the complexity of the issues and its relevance in a larger context:

Institutional challenges:

Within a research funding environment, the practical collection and monitoring of performance measures often reduces analysis down to easy-to-capture output metrics that do not delve into the complexity and interactions at play in large scale transformative research.  Data collection ends with final close of funding, leaving post-funding outcomes untracked. The use of a balanced approach to collecting performance data, over time, that is both quantitative and qualitative is needed to tackle this complexity and  properly support decision-making.

Methodological challenges:

Evaluations often resorts to safe methodologies such as surveys, interviews, case studies and conventional cost-effectiveness analysis because of ease and cost. This hampers a willingness to take risk with trialing new or emerging methodologies in an environment where innovation is needed to paint a more complex and contextually relevant picture of impacts that are longitudinal in nature.

Our Approach:

We organized a discussion session featuring keynote speaker Dr. Samantha Evans, Evaluation Director, Genome Canada. Read More.

Read Fraser Larock’s blog entry about the benefits of using storytelling as a tool to communicate the impacts of science, here.

We piloted a module titled Using Logic Modules and Theory of Change to Demonstrate Impact in Genomics Research, facilitated by Denise Withers. Read More.

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