Programmes, projects and learning inquiries: Institutional mediation of innovation in research for development
- R. L. Ison, P. Carberry, +9 authors S. Webb
- Outlook on Agriculture 43(3):167-173.
Recent years have seen a growing interest in agricultural research for development (R4D) initiatives designed to address the need to make more effective use of research investments in the development process. While there remains some ambiguity about the precise nature of R4D, it is nevertheless clear that a shift to this approach is going to require considerable institutional change in research practice. This chapter presents a brief case study of the experiences of a group of Australian, African and international agricultural research organizations which, together, initiated an explicit R4D programme. A key feature of this case study is the contestation that arises in the journey to R4D, with different points of view and patterns of practice vying for legitimacy and prominence. Contestation and negotiation is always a feature of bringing new practices into use and reflects that institutions are continuously ‘in the making’. Orchestrating ‘conversations’ with key R4D stakeholders about emerging modalities of research, and fuelling these conversations with evidence of the impact of new practices, would help progress the institutional change process needed to sustain a more effective deployment of research in the development process.