Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 R4D Week: The good and the not-so-good in the on-going reforms for IITA’s R4D

The ongoing reforms at the CGIAR, though presenting huge challenges, are also offering immense opportunities for our research-for-development (R4D) activities that we should use 2011 to prepare and gear up for, Paula Bramel, IITA’s Deputy Director General R4D told the scientists on the first day of IITA’s R4D Week.

She said that under the reforms, the partnerships will become complex and more formalized. “We will be operating in broad partnerships and multicenter global teams. There will be a lot of competition for funding and conflict resolution will be key to make them work,” she said.

She said the way the projects will be run, and monitored and evaluated will also change.

“In the past the focus was mainly on the science but now the success criteria will be on outcomes, outputs, and impacts. We will therefore need to invest in new tools and processes to manage our projects and new performance indicators to determine our impact,” she said. “We also need to formalize our monitoring and evaluation, both external and internal.”

The institute will also have to manage the different roles it will play under the CRPs, from being a lead role in one CRP and a primary partner in others to playing small roles in areas that are of priority.

On the other hand, there are lots of opportunities up for grabs. She said IITA will now have to operate globally. “We will finally get our research and technologies to other continents. This will lead to greater impact and visibility for our work,” she said. “

“There will be new research areas that we have previously not been involved in and new and diverse partnerships especially with the private sector,” she said. “And though initially there are funding uncertainties, in the long run, there will be more funds for the centers and new research areas.”

She said 2011 would be a transition year as many of the CRPs would still not be funded and the institute will invest in prioritizing areas to focus on, in strengthening its reporting, learning from the past, resource mobilization and new areas such as intellectual property and gender mainstreaming issues to prepare to adapt to the changes.

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