This performance evaluation assesses progress in the five-year, $70 million Supporting Operational AIDS Research (SOAR) Project. The report addresses the following evaluation questions: What types of research are being conducted by the Project? How timely have they been? What are the key best practices from the implementation phase? What is the effectiveness of the Research Utilization strategy of the Project and how well has this strategy been implemented? How effective has the Project been at sharing data from studies (both interim and final data) and setting up structures or opportunities to promote and disseminate findings? How relevant and how well aligned are SOAR’s research activities to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and USAID’s Office of HIV and AIDS stated priorities, and Mission needs (as of 2017)? and Are there areas that need to be re-aligned?
The report summarizes achievements to date in each of the project’s three intended results: high-quality operations research and evaluations to advance HIV and AIDS program implementation, strengthened capacity to conduct high-quality operations research and evaluation among local institutions, and dissemination and utilization results from operations research and evaluations. Although most research activities were not yet complete when the evaluation was conducted, experience and lessons learned from implementation to date yielded valuable best practices for AIDS-related operations research. The evaluation found variations within operational environments that affect definitions of “timeliness” for obtaining data or findings from research efforts and makes recommendations for implementation during the remainder of the project within a changed funding environment. (Author abstract)