i2i Fund


Impact Evaluation to Development Impact (i2i) is a World Bank multi-donor trust fund program launched in March 2014 with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). i2i’s mandate is to generate high-quality and operationally relevant impact evaluation (IE) research to transform development policy, help reduce extreme poverty, and secure shared prosperity. Its objective is to increase the use of IE in the design and implementation of public policy, strengthen country institutions for evidence-based policy-making, and generate knowledge in strategic development areas. The program aims to serve as a global platform to build donor partnerships in expanding the use of IE across the developing world. i2i is managed and delivered by the Development Impact Evaluation unit (DECIE) in the Research Group of the World Bank and adopts a bank-wide governance structure that comprises the bank’s regions and global practices.

i2i achieves its objectives by:

·        Developing and running experiments in collaboration with government partners to inform their policy decisions,

·        Building agency capacities to do this systematically

·        Drawing lessons and sharing them face-to-face with global audiences.

i2i funds IEs across all World Bank sectors with a special focus on under-evaluated areas. It covers 12 operational sectors of the Bank across four pillars and two cross-cutting themes. The pillars are shared prosperity, governance, climate change, and human development. The cross-cutting themes are gender and fragility and conflict and violence. Based on current donor financing, support is not available for the human development sector, including education, health, and social protection. i2i aims to support this sector as new donors join.

i2i adopts the Bank’s DIME operational model. DIME is a global program managed by DECIE in the World Bank, which has developed institutional structures to ensure that its IE products are relevant and can influence the decision-making process for development. Internally, DIME works with a cross-institutional council composed of chief economists and directors from operational vice-presidencies who provide strategic guidance; with working groups in each global practice setting learning priorities and selecting IE cases; and with each operational team for the selected cases to shape project design and structured experiments to guide project implementation toward greater effectiveness. Externally, DIME engages with clients from the beginning to set research questions, adapt policy implementation, and agree on entry points to affect policy decisions using experimental results. This model, adopted by i2i, transfers knowledge and tools needed to support evidence-informed policymaking to country institutions through a medium-term learning-by-doing approach. i2i also focuses on building capacity among other intermediaries of development policy to help move the global development agenda forward. In view of this, all research products are jointly owned.

i2i generates evidence on what programs and policies work by targeting important, relevant, and demand-driven policy questions and empowering policy-makers to promote evidence-based policy-making in developing countries. Most importantly, by engaging government counterparts throughout the IE cycle, from identification of policy questions to the design and implementation of the IE, i2i puts governments in driver seats to test innovations and scale up solutions for their most pressing policy issues. Through this approach of identifying pathways from policy to results, i2i’s shapes the way development work is done at scale and in a large number of contexts and practices.

Resources for Task Team Leaders (TTLS)

New IE Concept Note Template


The objective of the new CN is to align with international reporting standards for social sciences and improve consistency with indicative requirements for registration of trials (r) and ethical clearance (e). 

This template has been adopted for all IEs submitted to i2i and is recommended for use in IE guidelines.

The new concept note template can be downloaded here.

Budget Template

Concept Note Stage Policy Note Template

Dissemination Stage Policy Note Template


Policy Relevance

The value of IE as a tool for more effective policymaking is increasingly recognized by governments and donors. Prospective multi-arm IEs designed to reliably identify cause-effect relationships based on counterfactual analysis can guide decisions over which policies and programs are better able to achieve desired objectives and how to best design these programs for maximum impact.

A study using data from Bank projects approved between 2005 and 2011 finds that projects with IEs are better at implementing development activities and do so in a timelier manner. Using disbursements against agreed activities as an objective measure of implementation, the study estimates that IE increases average cumulative disbursements by two-fifths (40.8 percent) and reduces the planned-to-actual disbursements gap by half (54 percent). The results suggest that IE is a powerful tool to move projects from design to implementation. In so doing, projects are more likely to achieve their objectives, supporting the idea that project financing and IE research are complementary services provided by the World Bank.

Further, i2i IE-specific case studies show that IE significantly contributes to generating policy-relevant evidence and affects development policies. For example, a large-scale evaluation of a school-based financial education program in Brazil found improved financial knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of students. This resulted in the scaling up of the program nationally by the Ministry of Education. Another evaluation in Mozambique showed that training and placing women in extension delivery positions in agriculture benefits the broader population of women in terms of technology awareness and adoption. Results are being considered in the design of a new agriculture extension policy in Mozambique. In Nigeria, evidence and learning from evaluations of maternal and child health interventions indicates that the lives of mothers and babies are being saved. This is informing health policy discussions with the incoming Nigerian government.

The results to date are encouraging, but there remain important challenges to realizing the full potential of IE research. These challenges include research-capacity constraints; coordination failures and transaction costs to establish researcher–policymaker relationships; and limited understanding of and ability to integrate IE into the implementation of policies and programs at scale.

The i2i operating model is designed to overcome these challenges and maximize both the private and public good value of IE. This is done through (i) a programmatic approach to using IE knowledge for more effective policy; (ii) matching policymakers with researchers from the outset; (iii) building project-specific research teams to implement IEs in collaboration with government agencies; (iv) emphasizing technical quality control and policy relevance; and (v) ensuring a project-specific aspect to global dissemination and policy outreach.

In so doing, i2i works to improve the state of knowledge and effectiveness of policy around the world. All i2i-supported IEs build on ongoing and completed work to create virtuous cycles of learning and policy impact.


Florentina Mulaj

Program Manager & Senior Operations Officer, Development Impact (DIME)