Knowledge for Development

Building Partnerships and Demystifying Science

Author: Dr Hansjörrg Neun, Director CTA

Date: 12/12/2005


Through the S&T Strategies programme, CTA supports the ACP region in placing greater emphasis on the application of science, technology and innovation (ST&I) for meeting their developmental goals. The Centre recognizes that lack of a sense of ownership of S&T policy plans and inadequate networking at the national, regional and international levels are hindering ACP countries from participating in the S&T policy dialogue and from determining appropriate strategies for transforming their agricultural sectors (in Knowledge for Development, November 2005 / Vol. II).




Over the past two years, CTA collaborated with national, regional and international organizations to raise awareness of the importance of S&T for development and to position agriculture within S&T initiatives. The Centre concentrated both on building ACP capacity at the national and regional levels in order to analyse agricultural ST&I systems, and on developing a platform for enhanced collaboration on S&T issues within and across the ACP regions and with the EU. 

CTA supports the initiatives undertaken by the regions to revitalize tertiary education in agriculture. In addition, the Centre aims to demystify S&T in order to enhance the participation of civil society including farmers, women and youths, both male and female, and to ensure that science is communicated more effectively, to policy makers in particular. Facilitating multi-stakeholder participation in reshaping tertiary education in agriculture is a relatively easy task as the target groups are readily identifiable.  However, demystifying science so that farmers and other members of civil society can participate in the S&T processes is a challenge for the ACP regions and the Centre. This requires concerted efforts, including building collaboration among scientists, community activists, farmers, communications specialists and policy makers.

CTA recognizes the rapid rate at which farmers spread useful information and successful technologies among themselves. As a result, CTA has taken the bold step of facilitating the training of ACP professionals to identify, analyse and evaluate farmer experimentation and innovation and to bring the results to the attention of policy makers and other stakeholders. The lessons learned from this approach can help in developing an effective communications strategy for demystifying science in the agricultural sector. In seeking to build on this initiative, the Centre and its international partners are supporting the ACP regions to:

  • Invest in building indigenous science capabilities at the national and regional levels in order to ensure the quality of ST&I policy advice, good governance and agro-industrial development.
  • Strengthen tertiary education in agriculture, expand training outreach on S&T to include farmers and demystify science to enhance participation in ST&I policy processes and programmes.
  • Bridge the gap within and across the ACP region and between the ACP region and the EU in order to enhance experiential sharing and information and knowledge flows, support the development of S&T infrastructure in the ACP region, and increase participation in the global knowledge economy.

Dr Hansjörg Neun, Director CTA

From:  Knowledge for Development Newsletter, November 2005 / Vol. II