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.



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” ( 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.


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

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.


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).


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.



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.