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How to build research partnerships that benefit farmers


art-element3“A key challenge in true partnership is to strike the right balance between management that serves the programme as a whole and creating ownership so all partners can nurture a network spirit.

True partnerships are vital for linking ‘upstream’ innovation to ‘downstream’ uses, says CGIAR’s Jean-Marcel Ribaut.

Agricultural research for development spans a broad spectrum of activities — from ‘upstream’ research, generally at universities or advanced research institutes, to much more ‘downstream’ research by plant breeders to put better crops in farmers’ hands.

As a result of this spread, activities can become fragmented, with little communication between specialised teams along the research & development (R&D) chain. This is often counterproductive, especially when researchers stretch beyond their area of expertise.

In addition, broader and more diverse research portfolios often compromise efficiency and create unhealthy competition for funding. And resulting research projects may never turn into products that improve farm productivity.

True and effective partnerships — connecting the right people from complementary teams — is one obvious way to improve R&D effectiveness."

SciDevNet, 9 July 2014