MacArthur Foundation Nuclear Challenges Big Bet: 2020 Evaluation & Learning Synthesis

Jan 29, 2021
  • Description

Since November 2017, ORS Impact has served as evaluation and learning partner to the Nuclear Challenges team. ORS' evaluation focused on our Nuclear Challenges strategy and its specific, time-bound goals. The purpose of evaluation was to assess whether the strategy as articulated by the program team has contributed to progress towards a stabilized nuclear regime and a negotiated W-UM agreement within the timeframe set by the Big Bet. There were myriad evaluation inputs for the program team over the course of several years. This particular evaluation report served as one of several inputs for the program team and the Board in our strategy review process.

The report lays out substantive findings regarding outcomes and the external landscape that, together, present a picture of progress to date for the Nuclear Challenges strategy. The report sets out to answer three overarching questions:

  • Does progress to date demonstrate momentum and provide a line of sight to the Big Bet goals of a more stable nuclear regime by 2025 and a negotiated W-UM agreement by 2030?
  • Is the Nuclear Challenges theory of change valid and adequate to reach the intended Big Bet goals?
  • Does the landscape suggest continued windows of opportunity for progress toward the goals in the Nuclear Challenges strategy and theory of change within the limited timeframe of the Big Bet?

To answer these questions, ORS employed a mixed method design to measure the status of and progress within module components and related to the strategy's end goal. The synthesized results presented in this report reflect cross-module data, analysis, findings, and evidence which speak specifically to the Nuclear Challenges theory of change. This report presents the first synthesis of evaluation data about the Nuclear Challenges strategy.

Findings and evidence presented in this report are based on the specific time period in which data were collected, from May 2019 to June 2020. Given the dynamic nature of the field, there have since been further developments and continued evolution in the external landscape that have implications for the nuclear landscape and field.