Adaptive Learning and Systems Analysis for JSPVAT

2021 – Present

Current Team

Elizabeth Hoffecker 
Principal Investigator  

Romita Mitra 
Research Scientist 

Boru Douthwaite 
Evaluation Consultant  

Shubha Srishti 
Research Consultant  


Oxford Policy Management, India

MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab  

Erica Gralla, George Washington University  


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

A complexity-aware, systems-informed external evaluation of an agricultural value-chain intervention in Bihar, India 

Project Overview 

As disruptions to global food production systems increase due to challenges from climate change, pandemics, political instability and other factors, the capacity for agricultural systems to adapt, innovate, and transform themselves becomes paramount. All agricultural innovation processes take place within a complex local system context, which influences the trajectory and outcomes of those innovation efforts. This project involves serving as the external evaluator and adaptive learning partner for an agricultural transformation initiative, JSPVAT, that is being implemented through a partnership between the State of Bihar, the World Bank, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.   

The complexity of the JSPVAT intervention model, combined with the complexity of the agricultural systems into which JSPVAT is intervening, requires an evaluation approach that is itself “complexity-aware,” in terms of taking system complexity into account, both in the overall evaluation framework and specific research methodologies employed. This project builds conceptually and methodologically on previous work conducted by the Local Innovation Group in complexity-aware evaluation, as well as prior work in agricultural systems mapping and system-level monitoring conducted by the MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab in collaboration with George Washington University.  

Related Publications 

Towards a complexity-aware theory of change for participatory research programs working within agricultural innovation systems (Agricultural Systems, 2017)