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How different agricultural research models contribute to impacts: Evidence from 13 case studies in developing countries

Faure G., Barret D., Blundo Canto G., Dabat M.H., Devaux-Spatarakis A., Le Guérroue J.L., Marquié C., Mathe S., Temple L., Toillier A., Triomphe B., Hainzelin E.. 2018. Agricultural Systems, 165 : p. 128-136.

In a context of a severe funding crisis, donors and policymakers expect increased accountability from research organizations and convincing proof that public investments in research have significant and positive societal impacts. This article takes stock of the lessons learned from the use of a method (ImpresS) designed by CIRAD to analyze the impact of research undertaken in partnership with a range of different actors in a developing-country context. The method uses a case study approach, and relies on the evaluation of the impact pathway and on contribution analysis. Thirteen case studies were selected to represent the diversity of partnerships, research activities and types of innovation. The results confirm the diversity and complexity of the innovation processes encompassing the non-linearity of changes over extended periods, the diversity of impacts, the shifting roles of actors engaged in the innovation process, and the diversity of activities carried out by the research community to contribute to outcome and impact generation. Interactions between researchers and other actors throughout the innovation process appeared to play key roles along the impact pathway. Based on the 13 case studies, we identified four generic models through which research contributes to impact: participatory transfer of knowledge and technologies, co-design of innovation, support for the innovation process, and promotion of open innovation. Our results underline the need for research institutions to recognize and accept the diversity of functions fulfilled by researchers if they want to contribute in an effective manner to the generation of impacts. Another challenge is to learn how to take advantage of clusters of projects embedded in innovation pathways in order to sustain research activities over a long timeframe.

Mots-clés : brésil; indonésie; mali; viet nam; république dominicaine; réunion; madagascar; burkina faso; sénégal

Thématique : Recherche agronomique; Economie et politique du développement

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