During the past decade there have been major developments in the way that research investments have been monitored and evaluated. While there are differences in the ways governments fund research around the world, and a diversity of approaches to evaluation, there are a number of common themes that can be observed in national experiences. As the importance of evaluation increases, the gap between current practice and best practice becomes more significant, and the need for comparative study and methods development grows. Current international ‘better-practice’ approaches to research evaluation and performance indicators reflect two important considerations. First, they make a clear distinction between input, output and outcome indicators and assessments of impact. Only limited refinements have occurred in recent years in input and output performance indicators. However, quite considerable developments have occurred in relation to the development of indicators and approaches for assessing the outcomes and impact of research.1 Second, evaluation and reporting mechanisms vary considerably according to the intended audience for the reporting. In particular, as nations move toward strategically targeting limited government research resources reporting demands at the programme level, and for specific stakeholder groups becomes all the more pressing.