The Targeting Outcomes of Programs (TOP) Framework is used by SANREM as the primary tool for research proposal development, implementation, and project results monitoring and reporting. As such it is essential that all Long-Term Research Award Leaders understand and be able to apply the framework to their activities.
The initial purpose of the SANREM TOP Framework was to integrate outcomes assessment into the research planning process. It provided a mechanism to recognize the difference between scientific research objectives and the development objectives the research is designed to achieve. Use of the SANREM TOP Framework ensures that Long-Term Research Award (LTRA) applications are oriented toward achieving and measuring potential and real development impacts from the beginning.
The participatory identification of output and impact indicators promotes effective monitoring and progress reporting. In particular, the framework provides a reporting structure that describes the pathway by which research outputs lead to development impact. During research activity implementation ex ante impacts may be estimated for changes in stakeholder practices and related social, economic and environmental (SEE) conditions. At the conclusion of research activity implementation, the pathway to long-term regional or national SEE impact can also be modeled.
The SANREM TOP Framework is obligatory for LTRA applications and project reporting. The following provides guidance concerning how this planning and monitoring tool is applied.