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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Projects and activities | Last updated: 14 Dec 2022

Centre for Research on Impact Evaluation (CRIE)

The Centre for Research on Impact Evaluation (CRIE) is part of the Competence Centre on Microeconomic Evaluation (CC-ME). It provides scientific expertise and methodological support on Counterfactual Impact Evaluation (CIE) to the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) and Member States, for impact evaluations of interventions funded through instruments managed by DG EMPL, namely the European Social Fund (ESF).

About CRIE

CRIE supports Member States setting up the necessary arrangements for carrying out CIE of ESF funded interventions by:

  • organising training sessions on impact evaluation methods;
  • providing tailor-made advice on methodological and data issues that arise when designing, implementing and evaluating an initiative;
  • carrying out the quantitative analysis for a CIE.

CRIE is also committed to:

  • carrying out applied and theoretical research into Counterfactual Impact Evaluation (CIE), in both microeconomic and macroeconomic models;
  • building bridges between EU policy makers and the scientific community.


What is Counterfactual Impact Evaluation (CIE)? In its simplest form, CIE consists of comparing the outcomes of interest for those having benefitted from a policy or programme (the 'treated group') with those of a group similar in all respects to the treatment group (the 'comparison/control group'), except that it has not been exposed to the policy or programme. The comparison group provides information on 'what would have happened to the members subject to the intervention had they not been exposed to it', the counterfactual case.

The case for CIE is based on the need to collect evidence and determine whether policy objectives have been met and, ultimately, whether the resources were used efficiently. These answers feed back into the design and implementation of future interventions and budgetary decisions. In light of this, the European Commission is committed to making impact evaluation part of a policy implementation life cycle. 

Quality Assurance Support

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FAQ on the policy cycle phase

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Past Projects


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