SF16, co-hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), was held in Addis Ababa from 12-14 April 2016 to address “Agricultural research for rural prosperity: Rethinking the pathways” (http://www.scienceforum2016.org/). The objective of SF16 was to rethink the pathways for agricultural research to stimulate inclusive development of rural economies in an era of climate change. The Forum aimed to marshal evidence and build on lessons learned to date, to suggest an updated list of priority research areas and approaches that involve more strategic and inclusive engagement with partners.
One of the ways the ISPC provides assurance to the System Council on science quality and relevance is by convening and brokering science discussions with experts and scientists from within and outside the CGIAR System. The ISPC has held biennial Science Fora to catalyze discussion, convene scientific groups external to the CGIAR around important issues, and foster partnerships that best complement the expertise of the CGIAR and its partners on research initiatives and for development impacts. The ISPC will continue to facilitate a dialogue with the main suppliers of international agricultural research as part of a process of continuously assessing the position of the CGIAR in a new and changing landscape of agricultural knowledge and innovation systems.
Three science fora have been organized to date, focusing on research and partnership issues related to each of the three SLOs. The insights and recommendations from these fora are expected to contribute to the further development of the CRPs and their design, in shaping the next SRF, and to result in positive changes (increased amount and better targeting) of donor support to the CGIAR.
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.
SF13 focused on "Nutrition and Health Outcomes: Targets for Agricultural Research" and was held in Bonn, Germany from 23-25 September. It was cohosted by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Germany. The objective of the Forum was to explore recent evidence across a range of disciplines and to identify priority research needs and new scientific approaches, including facilitating new and stronger partnerships, through which the agricultural community can add most value to the delivery of nutrition and health outcomes. SF13 brought together a wide range of perspectives from scientists, practitioners, policymakers, and funders to stimulate discussion to achieve this goal. Please visit the website at http://www.scienceforum13.org/.
A follow-up joint A4NH/ISPC workshop on nutrition was held at IFPRI Headquarters in Washington, DC on 22-23 September 2014. The main purpose of this invitation-only workshop was to inform the second round of CRP proposals in terms of delivering improved nutrition outcomes from agricultural research. The workshop had two themes for discussion: "Research to increase access to an affordable, nutritious and safe diet" and “Evaluating the impact of agricultural interventions and investments on nutrition.” View the agenda and presentations from the workshop here.
A set of papers from Science Forum 2013 was published in a special section of Food Security entitled “Strengthening the links between nutrition and health outcomes and agricultural research.” The 10 papers in the issue illustrate how global food systems are changing and suggest how agricultural research needs to change if it is to make a major contribution to nutrition and health outcomes. The papers, together with an editorial by the ISPC, can be accessed here.
This brief highlights the insights and recommendations from a joint A4NH/ISPC workshop on nutrition held in September 2014. The two-day workshop was organized as a follow-up to the 2013 Science Forum on “Nutrition and Health Outcomes: Targets for agricultural research” and was attended by over 40 participants.
This brief outlines the context and the existing evidence base, together with priority research areas and key issues identified by participants at the 2013 Science Forum as those which CGIAR needs to consider in designing agricultural research that can deliver better nutrition and health outcomes.
The ISPC recently conducted a self-evaluation of the Science Forum series as a core mechanism for mobilizing science in terms of identifying new science needs and opportunities, and forging new partnerships. The purpose of this evaluation was to gauge the extent to which the SFs met their objectives, document their merits and shortcomings and detail the major lessons learned.
To facilitate broad participation, the number of Plenary Sessions at the 2013 Science Forum was kept small and the topics focused on cross-cutting issues such as gender, evaluation and regional differences. Ten experts coordinated Breakout Groups which provided feedback to the Plenary under four headings. The contents of the sessions are summarized here.
The second Science Forum, on “The Agriculture – Environment Nexus”, was held in co-operation with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 2011 in Beijing, China. It united 250 researchers from CGIAR research centers, universities, national research agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to identify the most promising scientific and technological approaches to these challenges. The plenary and breakout sessions addressed different aspects of the central theme, with six topics being discussed. Selected papers from SF11 were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS, May 21st 2013).
This brief highlights the key insights from the 2011 Science Forum to help guide future decisions within the CGIAR.
The contents of the breakout sessions are summarized here including the priority research questions and what the lessons might be for the new CGIAR.
The first Science Forum, held in Wageningen, The Netherlands, in 2009, focused on “Science for Development: Mobilizing Global Linkages” and explored new areas of research and the most pressing research and partnership needs for making progress toward development goals. The Forum brought together more than 300 scientists, donors, and civil-society organizations from 55 countries to examine a range of scientific advances and to discuss arrangements that can help to mobilize them more effectively for development. Key papers produced from SF09 were published in a special issue of the journal Crop Science in March-April, 2010, Volume 50.
By facilitating a continuing dialogue with the main suppliers of international agricultural research, the ISPC helps the CGIAR to continuously assess its position in a new and changing agricultural research landscape. The ISPC undertakes studies that will point to ways the CGIAR can exploit emerging opportunities. It also:
•Searches for new advanced science opportunities, beyond the current scope, to address research problems related to CGIAR objectives;
•Develops strategic thinking on effective partnerships in the R&D continuum to enhance the organizational relevance, effectiveness, and global impact of agricultural science to meet developmental goals;
•Assesses the added value of current partnership arrangements and incentive modalities as part of CGIAR Research Program (CRP) assessment, with emphasis on improving the utility and impact of research outputs.