Tracy Williams

Impact Evaluation Manager, The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited

Tracy Williams

Impact Evaluation Manager, The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited
Tracy.Williams@plantandfood.co.nz

Biography

Tracy Williams is The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited’s first Impact Evaluation Manager. She leads a small dedicated team of economists and social scientists who are bringing the power of evaluation to the often-challenging task of delivering impact from science. Originally trained in science and journalism, Tracy first stepped into a variety of roles in scientific editing and science writing. Quizzing authors and experts on how their science makes a difference became an enduring theme. Discovering evaluation – theory and practice – then changed her life! Some rapid learning about the models and tools involved followed. Then the opportunity to extrapolate intervention-level thinking to organisational performance frameworks has dominated her working career over the last 15 years. Tracy is still learning about what evaluation has to offer scientists and science organisations in terms of optimising impact. Understanding impact pathways, past, present and future, is a current focus of research and thinking. Tracy is also interested in systems-level change to facilitate impact from science, including the connection to traditional science excellence criteria, who decides on value, multi-cultural contexts, funding instruments and funders’ roles in delivering impact as well as capability required amongst co-innovating teams to create value. She’s also interested in broader societal concepts that shape effective impact pathways, e.g. Social Licence to Operate. Safe to say, evaluation can take over the way you think … and for the better!