Barbara Befani holds a European multidisciplinary PhD in Socio-Economic and Statistical Studies, awarded by a network of six European universities (Southampton, Lille, ULB Brussels, Humboldt Berlin, Barcelona, and Rome “La Sapienza”); Nicoletta Stame supervised her thesis on evaluation methods.

Barbara’s key research areas cover some of the most innovative methods for impact evaluation, particularly of development interventions, like Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Process Tracing. She has a broad overview of available methodological options, including causal inference models, approaches informed by complexity theory and systems thinking, and the criteria guiding the choice and combination of development impact evaluation methods.

After completing her PhD she worked in various evaluation and teaching assignments, including the development of evaluation guidelines; for the European Commission, Italian Ministries and international organisations / agencies (FAO, UNESCO, UNDP, NORAD).

When she moved to the UK in 2011, Barbara co-authored the DFID Working Paper 38 (Stern et al. 2012) and later joined the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in 2012 as a Research Fellow in Innovative Methods for Impact Assessment. Since leaving IDS in 2014, she has either led or advised on several innovative impact evaluations for IIED, DFID, 3ie, World Bank / GEF, and the UN Foundation.  

Barbara’s contributions appear in academic and other peer-reviewed journals. She often presents her work in international conferences and is currently the Secretary General of the European Evaluation Society (EES) and the Scientific Programme Coordinator of the 12th EES biennial Conference (Maastricht, 2016).

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