Upcoming ISPC 16 Meeting
17 August 2017

The ISPC holds two open meetings per year to report on ongoing activities in each of its five workstreams. The subjects of key technical presentations are selected so that the discussions and resulting outputs lead to direct advice for the System Council meetings that immediately follow. ISPC 16 will be held at the International Center For Agricultural Research In The Dry Areas (ICARDA) headquarters in Rabat from 18-19 September 2017. 

More infomation about the meeting is available here

Agri-food system innovation workshop report
21 July 2017

This workshop report is a summary record from the second workshop convened by the ISPC/CSIRO Agri-food systems innovation and partnership initiative, and held from 27 to 29 June at ICRISAT in Hyderabad, India. The report attempts to capture, in brief, the deliberations of the participants, including key outcomes and follow-up actions to further the initiative’s campaign and ongoing dialogue on the reframing of the common narrative on agri-food System Innovation.

Workshop on agri-food system innovation
8 June 2017

The workshop, scheduled for 28 and 29 June 2017 in Hyderabad, India, forms part of a wider on-going collaboration between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Secretariat of the Independent Science and Partnership and Council (ISPC) of the CGIAR, to explore the nature of agri-food system innovation, the role of research within this, and the way different types of innovation processes lead to impact.

Following the key outcomes from a workshop held on the 14-15 December 2016 in Canberra, Australia, the initiative has continued its campaign along two tracks: The first is building up case studies of how innovation leads to impact at different scales, the second a set of thematic studies on different LOCK-INs. This workshop will present a nascent White paper that resets the meta-narrative on Agri-food System Innovation, and subsequently stress-test this reframing against the key propositions emerging from the campaign's case studies.

For more information, visit the workshop event page.

Conference on impacts of international agricultural research
19 May 2017

Between 6th and 8th July 2017, the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) of the ISPC and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) are organizing a major conference on assessing the impacts of agricultural research. The conference, which will include a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, will be hosted by the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) at its campus in Nairobi, Kenya. 

For more infomation about the conference, see event page.

Quality of Research for Development
18 May 2017

The ISPC is facilitating System-wide agreement on the nature and assessment of Quality of Research for Development (QoR4D). A small working group (WG) on QoR4D with representation from Centers, CRPs and the IEA was established late last year. This WG organized a workshop at FAO on 06-07 February 2017 with representation from across CGIAR System constituencies - key findings from those discussions are elaborated in a brief. A consultation document then went out to the workshop participants so that the ‘‘constituency” leaders could consult with their respective constituencies and provide feedback. 

IEA managed evaluation of SIAC
3 May 2017

The final report and management reponse from the SPIA commissioned, IEA managed evaluation of the SIAC program is on the IEA website. You can also read the inception report on the same page, and look through findings of the evaluation presented at ISPC 14 (ICRISAT, Hyderabad) in September 2016.

Vacancy announcement: SPIA Chair
2 May 2017

The Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) of the CGIAR is seeking to appoint a Chair for its Standing Panel on Impact Assessment. The SPIA Chair plays an important role in expanding the evidence base on CGIAR impact. He/she is an ex officio member of ISPC, and serves for a term of 3 years with possibility of renewal for one additional term. The position requires a minimum commitment of approximately 40 days per year. Deadline for application 15th May, 2017. More information here.

ISPC Foresight Workshop: Threats and Opportunities to Agri-Food Systems in 2050
7 April 2017

As part of its mandate to provide strategic guidance to the CGIAR system, the ISPC launched a foresight work stream in 2017 and inaugurated it with a workshop on “Threats and Opportunities to Agri-Food Systems in 2050.” The workshop, held in Portici, Italy on 7-8 April and co-hosted by the ISPC and Universita degli Studi di Napoli, was designed to tap expertise outside the CGIAR system for external perspectives on major trends and possible disruptions to the global food system to 2050. Eighteen papers were solicited and presented to a group of 32 international experts.

Prabhu Pingali, the ISPC Council member leading the foresight work stream, opened the proceedings by providing context for the workshop and describing the objectives of the foresight work stream, which will consist of a comprehensive analysis of major trends and drivers of agri-food systems and future opportunities for AR4D. He reminded participants that the food system is a chain whereby nutrients from the soil ultimately end up as nutrients in the body. Because each step in the chain is influenced by physical, regulatory, and policy environments, there is a need to examine major trends in the system as well as major disruptions that could affect it, and consider what both mean for the CGIAR.

The workshop was organized around three thematic sessions: i) Analysis of emerging threats and challenges; ii) New opportunities and scientific discovery, and iii) Trends in the agricultural sector.

The closing session of the workshop was devoted to a synthesis of the emerging findings. There was a consensus that a “perfect storm” of global threats and challenges exists that requires R&D and policy solutions, which the CGIAR can—and should—help provide. Areas highlighted include:

  • Rising urbanization, global migration, the “depopulation” of rural areas, and the changing demographic structure of rural populations and smallholder farming. Is the Green Revolution paradigm still driving current thinking?
  • Changing diets, food systems, the rapid rise in over-nutrition, and the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)—even as we try to tackle stubbornly high malnutrition rates;
  • Global environmental and sustainability challenges, including climate shocks and extreme events, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss;
  • Trade integration and the declining competitiveness of developing-country agriculture;
  • A consideration of both demand and supply and the power balance between the production line and the end user
  • A consideration of the problems of food loss as well as food waste in every aspect of the food system.
  • The complexity and fragmentation of food systems, and the role of private industry vs. public investments in supporting the transformation of agri-food systems and their connections with other sectors.
  • Disruptive innovation in science and technology, the role of the private industry and game changers across sectors and disciplines.
  • The need for a long-term research portfolio to build a climate-resilient food system that takes into account the complexity of the food-water-energy nexus.

The papers presented in the workshop will be finalized and published in a book the ISPC will produce in 2018 on “Threats and Opportunities to Agri-Food Systems in 2050.” As a next step in the ISPC foresight work, CGIAR members will be invited to further develop the key outcomes of the workshop and provide inputs on the foresight process to help guide future strategies and priority setting of CGIAR research.



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.


This Summary Report of Science Forum 2016 (SF16)  held from 12-14 April 2016 in Addis Ababa summarizes the Plenary and Breakout sessions of the event. The objective of SF16  was to reassess the pathways for agricultural research to stimulate inclusive development of rural economies in an era of climate change. Nearly 200 participants from around the globe representing the CGIAR and research organizations attended SF16.

For each of its Science Fora, the ISPC has developed a special issue journal publication to inform CGIAR research and the field at large. This Brief highlights key messages from a Special Issue Workshop held after Science Forum 16.