News from 2017

Upcoming Conferences

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24th European Seminar on Extension (and) Education 2019
The next ESEE conference will be held in Sicily in 2019. Watch this space for more details as they are available. This really is an excellent forum to learn about – and contribute to – world trends.

13th European International Farming Systems Association (IFSA) Symposium 2018
The next European IFSA conference has the theme: Farming systems: facing uncertainties and enhancing opportunities. It will be held from 01 – 05 July, 2018 | Chania, Crete, Greece | Mediterranean Agronomic Institute Of Chania (Ciheam – Maich). For more information, go to http://www.ifsa2018.gr/

News from 2015

2017 Conferences

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aes17 International Evaluation Conference, 4-6 September 2017
aes17 is the annual International Evaluation Conference of the Australasian Evaluation Society – a member based organisation which exists to improve the theory, practice and use of evaluation in Australasia for people involved in evaluation including evaluation practitioners, managers, teachers and students of evaluation, and other interested individuals. More information on the conference can be fount on the official website.

2017 ESEE Conference
Take note of the next planned European Seminar for Extension and Education (ESEE) which will be held in July in 2017 at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Crete, Greece.  The last seminar in Wageningen, The Netherlands in 2015 was very well attended and a great forum to discuss and share current experiences and address common issues. More information on the conference can be found on the official website.

2017 APEN International Conference – 12-15 September 2017
And closer to home is the planned 2017 International Conference of the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network, to be held from the 12th to the 15th of September 2017 at the ‘The Ville’ Hotel in Townsville.  It will also be hosting a range of international delegates from the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), who will be participating in a 3 day pre-conference meeting at Ingham, in the Hinchinbrook region. The theme of the conference is ‘Facilitating balanced change for rural and urban communities’ and will showcase the local and international extension theory and practice around production agriculture, natural resource management, community development and the health sector.

There will also be a special half day workshop focusing on extension in ‘Reef Regions’ where will be looking at the good work that is being undertaken, challenges faced and ways forward. The results of the Reef Education and Extension Review Coutts J&R are undertaking will be presented and steps will be taken towards developing an effective Community of Practice to support those working in this area.

July 2015

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International Evaluation Conference
The Australasian Evaluation Society’s international conference will be held this year in Melbourne on the 7th – 9th September this year. The theme is around ‘advocating and promoting evaluation and evidence-based policy making’. They note that this year is the UN International Year of Evaluation. More information can be found at: http://conference2015.aes.asn.au/.

Agriculture White Paper
There has already been a lot of discussion around the new Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. The paper seeks to develop policy around five key priority areas: A fairer go for farm businesses; Building the infrastructure of the 21st century; Strengthening our approach to drought and risk management; Farming smarter; Accessing premium markets. As this is rolled out – it would seem as there will be an even stronger demand on extension and evaluation input. Read the paper or the short version here.

Rural Research and Development for Profit Program
Barnaby Joyce’s initiative to fast track development programs in agriculture has commenced with 12 projects being approved for a total of $26.7 million for round one. These projects are funded through R&D Corporations and involve extensive collaboration. Examples include: Stimulating private sector extension in Australian agriculture to increase returns from R&D (Dairy Australia); Consolidating targeted and practical extension services for Australian Farmers and Fishers (RIRDC); and Market and Consumer Insights to Drive Food Value Chain Innovation and Growth (Meat and Livestock Australia). Again this all bodes well for agriculture and the extension and evaluation sectors. More on the program can be found here.

APEN National Conference
The 2015 APEN national conference will be held this year in Adelaide from November 10-12. The conference with the theme of Managing change innovation and action in an ever shrinking world will focus on the knowledge and skills needed to embrace the challenges of the changing world before us. Jeff Coutts is one of the presenters with a paper entitled “The Growing Extension Patchwork – not dying but morphing.”

April 2015

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ReefPlan Extension update
The Reef Water Quality Protection Plan – Extension and Education Strategy Update and Implementation Guide is now available online. It builds on the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan Extension and Education Strategy 2010 developed by Brian Stockwell and provides guidance on its implementation. The purpose was to learn from the implementation to date and changes in the extension and education environment to see how this needed to be adapted to maximise impact. Jeff Coutts, who authored this update, includes his rationale for investing in extension and education and supporting structures and processes to maximise its impact.

APEN National Conference
The 2015 APEN national conference will be held this year in Adelaide from November 10-12. The conference with the theme of Managing change innovation and action in an ever shrinking world will focus on the knowledge and skills needed to embrace the challenges of the changing world before us. Jeff Coutts is one of the presenters with a paper entitled “The Growing Extension Patchwork – not dying but morphing.”

News from 2014

December 2014

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The Australasian Evaluation Society has alerted its members to the Australian Government through its Department of Finance developing a Commonwealth Performance Framework, which, they point out, has implications for the future commissioning and conduct of evaluation at the Commonwealth level. There are a number of relevant documents that can be found at  http://www.pmra.finance.gov.au/legislation-pgpa-act/ for public comment – due by 30 January 2015.

There are a number of great conferences coming up in 2015:

The Australasian Evaluation Society (AES) reports that the UN has designated 2015 as the International Year of Evaluation – advocating and promoting evaluation and evidence-based policy making at international, regional, national and local levels. Their 2015 conference will be held in Melbourne on the 5-9th September with the theme of “Reaching across the boundaries”.

The 22nd European Seminar on Extension and Education will be held in Wageningen in The Netherlands from April 28th to May 1st2015 . There was an overwhelming response to invitations for papers and these are being sorted at the moment.

The Australasian Pacific Extension Network (APEN) will be holding their national conference in Adelaide, South Australia on the 9-12 November 2015. The title of the conference is “Managing Change, Innovation and Action in an Ever Shrinking World”.

September 2014

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As reported last update, the 22nd European Seminar on Extension and Education will be held in Wageningen in The Netherlands from April 28th to May 1st2015. Jeff Coutts is on the Scientific Steering Committee and is planning a session on evaluation of extension and education. If you are interested in attending and have an interest in the evaluation area, please contact Jeff.  Paper proposals need to be submitted by October 15th. The website is www.esee2015.nl – and more information is available on the flier.

July 2014

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The International Farming Systems Association Europe Symposium in Berlin in April included presentations on evaluation of policy interventions. Jeff Coutts (with Neels Botha and James Turner) presented a paper on evaluating “co-innovation” – based on a project in which we are involved in New Zealand. The paper can be downloaded here.  You can also go to the Symposium website and read key note presentations from Andrew Campbell and Janice Jiggins.

The 22nd European Seminar on Extension and Education will be held in Wageningen in The Netherlands from April 28th to May 1st 2015. Jeff Coutts is on the Scientific Steering Committee and is planning a session on evaluation of extension and education. Paper proposals need to be submitted by October 1st. The website is www.esee2015.nl – and more information is available on the flier.

First Quarter 2014

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Amy is back working at Coutts J&R from London as a Principle Consultant.  Amy has a long term history with the company and has served in many roles over the last decade.  She took a break with her husband Chris to London and had been working for a company that evaluates public relation programs and their effectiveness.  This experience has added to her skills and approaches to our evaluation support and consultancies.

Meanwhile, Ben – who has been based in Canada over recent years – is temporarily back in Queensland.  Ben has developed and manages our on-line M&E platforms – as well as provided expert input in data analysis and its reporting.  Its been great to see the increased interest in managing program and project level M&E data and lift reporting quality.

News from 2013

October Update

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There has been a long history of projects using monitoring and evaluation frameworks.  MERI (Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement) Plans have been mandatory with Caring for Our Country funding for some time.  Recently, however the interest has spread to industry R&D organisations. There is a lot of interest and work being undertaken in the Dairy and Beef and industries in Australia in particular at state and national levels in Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks – and in which we at Coutts J&R are involved.  Essentially a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework is about providing a clear basis for defining investment choices that are made:

“We are investing 1 million dollars in a project over 3 years to improve these specific reproductive practices used by producers in the industry and so improve reproductive performance by 5% calculated to improve productivity by 3% across the national herd/flock resulting in an increase in economic return for the industry by 8%.  This contributes to the strategic industry objective of “increase herd productivity by 2% per year over the next five years”.

It also provides a consistent and clear basis for capturing evaluation data and reporting against the project impact and hence contribution by the funding organisation to their strategic goals.  It is about providing a way to better collate the whole story from a range of related projects – using the same terminology, categories and basis for calculation.

If you want to find out more about Monitoring and Evaluating frameworks and how they can impact on your program, project or organisation, contact Jeff – jeff@couttsjr.com.au

News Update – March 2013

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Coutts J&R have further developed its Monitoring and Evaluation YourDATA Platform so that it can track data inputs from individuals and allow them to have individualised M&E reports for their activities. This is providing an incentive for individuals to put data into the system – helping them to demonstrate the impact of their work for reporting, performance reviews and/or job applications!

The use of a ‘master sheet’ for data entry means that data from the full range of activities or projects is consistent and can be collated for reporting at different levels and for different purposes. It still allows automatically generated reports to be provided for individual events or series of events – as well as providing an overall picture.

More clients are beginning to seek assistance with M&E data collation and management and we are more than happy to work with them to provide them with their needs.