Abstract This article describes a pragmatic method recently used in The Netherlands to evaluate public investments plans. Using this method, very different kinds of investment plans were evaluated for economic, social, and ecological impacts, and direct links were made with a policy-making process. The research institutes involved were asked to develop a general appraisal method on the basis of which they would rank the investment proposals. All the plans were labeled as (a) “a solid plan,” (b) “possibly a solid plan but requiring improvements” (upgradable), or (c) “a weak plan.” The research institutes also were asked to estimate the effects of combining investment plans with complementary policy instruments like regulations and/or pricing instruments. Along with the method, options for its improvement will be discussed.