The ISPC plays an important role in providing advice to the CGIAR System Council on the scientific credibility and investment worthiness of program proposals, as well as aspects of CGIAR policy. The review of CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) started in 2010. The ISPC contributes its independent feedback to the Council on the science quality and relevance of proposed CRPs; the quality, rigor, and validity of the underlying analysis/assumptions on which priorities and activities are proposed; and the potential for proposed activities to contribute toward CGIAR goals. There will be a continuing need to provide inputs to the development of performance indicators.

CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs)

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The CGIAR issued the second-call full proposals guidance document as a successor step to the development and review of pre-proposals conducted between June and November 2015, and invited the submission of:

. A coherent set of 12 interconnected proposals for the period 2017-2022 to address the selected global challenges identified in CGIAR’s 2016–2030 Strategy and Results Framework (SRF); and

. Three further proposals to develop CGIAR system-level platforms (genebanks; genetic gains; and big data, information, and knowledge) as integral strategic and service components of the portfolio over the same six-year implementation period to strengthen the foundation for effective implementation of research and delivery of CGIAR outcomes.

The ISPC followed the criteria listed in the guidance document to review proposals. An ISPC Conflict of Interest Policy has been established to ensure that any potential conflicts of interest are made open and transparent, and that processes are managed to take declared interests into account.


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The 15 CRP proposals were submitted for ex ante peer review in a sequential manner over a period of over two years (2010-2012). In the ISPC’s appraisal of the CRP proposals it became apparent that the research outlined initially included a considerable proportion of ongoing research brought together under the CRP umbrella. Furthermore, due to the sequential development of the CRPs, the proponents had not been able to consult with each other to shape an overall cohesive research agenda. The ISPC therefore undertook a series of strategic oversight analyses once the complete portfolio of the CRPs was available. Themes for these analyses were chosen on the basis of the cross-cutting nature of the topic.

This strategic think piece was commissioned by the ISPC in mid-2013. The aim was to provide an analysis of livestock-related research across the CRPs as a basis for providing advice to the Consortium and Fund Council on how best to enhance the CRP inter-linkages and coherence of the System’s agenda on livestock-related research issues.

This report examines processes and methods for priority setting to underpin a future revision of the SRF by the Consortium. This paper examines priority setting at both the strategic System level (SRF/SLOs) and at the operational level of CGIAR research programs.

The think piece on Theories of Change and Impact pathways, commissioned by the ISPC centers around theoretical articulation of the concept and components of a TOC. It provides a useful assessment of the adequacy and thoroughness by which the CRPs present the assumptions about their research leading to the planned outcomes and impact.

These think pieces deal with the interface between research and development. The two think pieces provide very useful analysis of the issues where the CRPs can share their common lessons and plan collective strategies and actions, and where some CRPs have specific strengths from which other CRPs can benefit.

This meta-level synthesis highlights common features, shortcomings and potential risk areas perceived in the governance and management arrangements described in the proposed CRPs with regard to the CRPs' quality of science, role and strategic engagement of partners and, in general, ability to deliver on CRP objectives.

In 2010, a survey was conducted among the Challenge Programs partners and stakeholders. The objective was to learn from the experiences of the ongoing multi-partner programs, particularly regarding factors that are essential for making complex partnerships work optimally for the benefit of the development objectives.



The fifteenth meeting of the ISPC was held from 04-05 April 2017 in Rome, Italy.

The fourteenth meeting of the ISPC was held from 14-16 September 2016 at ICRISAT Headquarters, Patancheru, India.


The fifteenth meeting of the ISPC was held from 04-05 April 2017 in Rome, Italy.

Following SF 2016, the ISPC conducted an evaluation of the Forum to assist in planning and modeling future events more successfully. An online participant survey was carried out and citation analyses were done for the papers published in the special issues after the previous three SFs.