Knowledge for Development

CTA S&T Programme updates 2013

Innovation systems: Are we losing momentum?

The innovation systems (IS) concept has been used by industrialized nations to inform policies to support their economic growth, development and competitiveness agendas. For example, a Dutch policy think tank, noted that while the Netherlands ranked 8th in the Global Competitiveness Index, the Dutch innovation system faced several challenges that needed to be addressed by policy.It recommended: (i) increasing ‘the levels of output and quality in higher education, a more ambitious learning culture and a research climate that fosters excellence’; (ii) strengthening ‘the innovative capacity of Dutch (small and medium-sized) companies and improving the relationships between the public knowledge institutes and the private sector (especially SMEs)’ and; (iii) creating ‘a more attractive business and investment climate and more room for entrepreneurial activities’.


'Mainstreaming Tertiary Education in ACP ARD Policy Processes: Increasing Food Supply and Reducing Hunger' CTA/WUR Synthesis Workshop

Venue: CTA Headquarters, Wageningen, The Netherlands --Dates: 25-27 September 2013 --The role of universities and other tertiary education institutions in socio-economic development is being reconceptualised. They are increasingly being called upon to move beyond training and the pursuit of knowledge and become more strategic assets with strong forward and backward linkages to the productive sectors to expand their reach and increase their impact at community and national level. For pragmatic reasons, CTA and Wageningen UR in collaboration with ACP universities, partner networks and organizations have chosen food and nutrition security as the initial content domain to determine the extent of engagement of ACP tertiary education institutes in ARD policy processes. This is one of the most pressing issues nationally, regionally and internationally and universities are currently looking for ways to (re)orient their education and training, research and community outreach programmes to remain relevant.  -- Download the poster

Wednesday 25 September 2013 - Friday 27 September 2013

CAAST-Net Plus – Kick off meeting, Brussels, 11-12 February 2013

CAAST-Net Plus – Kick off meeting, Brussels, 11-12 February 2013Dates: 11-12 February 2013Venue: Brussels, BelgiumCTA is part of the consortium for the 7th framework European Commission funded project CAAST Net Plus which aims to advance SSA-EU cooperation in research and innovation for addressing global challenges related to health, food security and the environment. The project’s Kick-off meeting will take place on 11–12 February 2013 in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting will be hosted at the South African Embassy by DST. information via PAEPARD:

Monday 11 February 2013 - Tuesday 12 February 2013

CTA/WUR/ACP Universities launch Food Security Audits

The CTA/WUR project on “Mainstreaming Tertiary Education in ARD Policy Processes” is gaining momentum. Food security audits of university programmes to determine how they are aligned with food security policies and programmes have begun. Professor Arjen and Drs. Bello, Wageningen University and Research centre in collaboration with Dr Newton Nyairo, Kenyatta University conducted the first audit at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya in early February. The AISHE tool that was co-developed by CTA, WUR and partner universities and networks, was used for undertaking the audits.   Dr Nyairo said “In my opinion and in the opinions of our guests, it was a successful event. We managed to gather both students and lecturers and we had good facilitation in carrying out the self-assessment”. Audits were also conducted at Sokoine University, Tanzania and The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago during the month of Ferbruary. The audit of the University of the South Pacific’s curriculum, research and outreach programme will take place in Fiji in early March 2013.   Earlier:


Integrated seed sector development (issd) in africa: practices, programmes and policies for seed entrepreneurship

As part of its contribution to the multi-partnership ISSD project, CTA is supporting African universities to undertake assessments of their role in integrated seed sector development to enhance their contribution to policy processes governing seed systems in Africa.On March 08, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) (LUANAR) will host its national university seminar to share the results of the study on their university’s role in seed sector development in Malawi.  The university representative focused on three projects to analyze their contribution to seed sector development. The bean seed multiplication project was a typical multidisciplinary research project which included releasing varieties, providing support on seed production and engaging and empowering farmers in the process. The second mushroom project includes oyster mushroom seed multiplication, and technical backstopping for farmers and farmer groups in production, training and marketing. The third project involves the contribution of an economist from the Centre for Agricultural Research and Development, in evaluating the use of vouchers in ISSD.  The analysis showed that there is need for greater focus on basic research, policy research, and more advocacy/briefing notes.The results will be discussed during the national seminar.      More about ISSD:


CTA / WUR / ACP Universities begin audits – Mainstreaming tertiary education in ACP ARD policy processes: Increasing food supply and reducing hunger

CTA, Wageningen University and Research centre (WUR) and ACP partner universities will begin audits of ACP university teaching, research and outreach programmes as part of the joint project Mainstreaming Tertiary Education in ACP ARD Policy Processes: Increasing Food Supply and Reducing Hunger which was launched in 2012. The audits will take place in February 2013 in Kenya, Tanzania, Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago. These will be followed by audits in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal in March/April.The project-team comprising experts from WUR and the ACP partner university will carry out the institutional analysis, using the Auditing Instrument for Sustainability in Higher Education (AISHE) which the team members have developed. This includes a review of the curriculum that supports ARD policy objectives as they relate to food security. This will also provide an overview of events and trial and error activities that have been occurring in the past. The following questions will be answered: What is being done within the university to address the increase of food supplies and the reduction of hunger? What portfolio of activities and provisions (including, policies, capacity development efforts, existing curricula with courses, modules, research programmes, community outreach, etc.) are already in place for trying to achieve the prioritized ARD goals?


Expert consultation on innovation systems: Towards more effective theories of change

Venue: CTA Headquarters, The Netherlands  Dates: 4-6 February 2013  The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) and Wageningen University and Research Centre's Conversion of Science – System of Innovation (Wageningen UR CoS-SIS) are co-organizing the ‘Expert consultation on innovation systems: Towards more effective theories of change’ which will be held at CTA Headquarters in Wageningen, The Netherlands, from 4-6 February 2013.  The objective of the Expert Consultation is to make explicit theories of change and establish sound and consolidated differences of opinion and alternatives that can be the basis for further exploration and experimentation to support an innovation thrust which supports agricultural transformation and benefits smallholder farmers. Several lead experts from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Australia will present lead papers and case studies to support their perspectives on the issues to be addressed.  These will be subjected to a peer to peer review process during the workshop and afterwards to identify the areas of convergence and divergence and the key issues for informing future policy, research and outreach agendas as they relate to applying the innovations systems approach in developing the agricultural sector.  Click to download the concept note.  Click to download the programme.  Click to access the papers and presentations.

Monday 04 February 2013 - Wednesday 06 February 2013

Improving cassava production

Is cassava the crop of the future for food and nutrition security and industrial development? Not unless, we increase investments in science, technology and innovation. An interesting presentation on the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st century (GCP 21) by Dr Claude Fauquet at CTA Headquarters on 28 March 2013 triggered further reflection on the need for a coordinated approach to cassava development. Dr Fauquet indicated that 105 countries produce cassava; 50% of which are in Africa where surface area is almost double that of Asia and Latin America. However, yield is lower (10t/ha) as compared to 12t/ha and 19t/ha in Latin America and Asia, respectively. What is the role of African universities and research organisations in driving the research and development agenda for cassava on the continent? Which organisations are studying future consumer and industry trends for cassava? Which are leading programmes on: (i) documenting and characterising cassava landraces, farmer knowledge and practices; (ii) the performance of various varieties and landraces under changing climatic conditions including for drought and pest resistance; (iii) new product development for food and other industrial uses; (iv) increasing yield potential; (v) standardising height of plants (dwarf varieties) and size of roots to support industry expansion for food products, starch or animal feed etc.? Work is going on at some leading international centres and in collaboration with national R&D organisations to produce virus-free varieties through genetic engineering and on rapid multiplication but while these are critical research areas, the success of a cassava ‘green revolution’ in Africa or world-wide requires interlinked thinking, an innovation systems approach, foresight, investments in science and engineering, an enabling policy and institutional framework and visionary leadership from scientists/academicians, policy/governments and the private sector including farmers.


Top 20 finalists of the 3rd Africa-wide women and young professionals in science competitions

CTA/FARA/IFS/ANAFE/RUFORUM/NPCA/AGRA: Promoting excellence in science, technology and innovation for agricultural and rural development in Africa-Top 20 finalists of the 3rd Africa-wide women and young professionals in science competitions-CTA and its partners, FARA, IFS, ANAFE, RUFORUM, NPCA, AGRA are pleased to announce the top 20 finalists of the 3rd Africa-wide women and young professionals science competitions 'Feeding 1 billion in Africa in a changing world' which was launched in 2012.The twenty finalists will vie for the top five places and awards (including trophies, cash and other prizes, book donations) in each category; women and young professionals, at a side event which is planned for 15 - 16 July 2013, during the 6th FARA General Assembly and Science Week in Ghana. Each finalist will make a 15 minute scientific presentation on their research and outreach work to a multi-disciplinary high-level panel of judges drawn from Africa. The chief judge will be Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim who is a past winner and role model and also now a member of the expert panel for the science competitions.CTA and partners are very pleased with the high quality of the final papers which were submitted by the 45 semi-finalists who had benefitted from a scientific writing, communication and policy advocacy training course which was organized by the consortium partners in September 2012 in Uganda. The scientific contributions of all semi-finalists will be published by CTA, FARA and partners.All semi-finalists will also be fully supported to attend the 6th Africa Science Week and FARA General Assembly from 15-20 July 2013 in Accra, Ghana. The Award ceremony to recognize the winners as well as all the semi-finalists for their contribution to science and development on the continent will be held during the FARA General Assembly.  Get the list: Top 10 Women finalists  Get the list: Top 10 YPOs finalists  


Synthesis Workshop on Integrated Seed Sector Development ISSD - Project phase II

Synthesis Workshop on Integrated Seed Sector Development II-08 - 09 April 2013, KNUST Campus, Kumasi, Ghana-CTA had partnered with the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), Wageningen University and Research centre and several international partners in Phase II of the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) project which focussed on seed entrepreneurship. This project was endorsed by the African Union and will end in April 2013. CTA supported the participation of knowledge institutes, mainly six African universities; the Universities of Burundi, Ghana and Zambia, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources - Malawi, Makerere University - Uganda and Mekelelee University - Ethiopia, in the project.Each university representative undertook a case study on the university's contribution to innovation in the national seed system and then presented the results to a national forum comprising university peers and public and private sector officials involved in the national seed system. Outcomes and lessons from assessments undertaken by the ISSD national task forces were also presented during the university seminars.Some of the key lessons learned by the universities at individual and institutional levels included the need for: (i) integrating informal (familial) seed systems in their research, teaching and outreach especially given their importance to food security and the conservation and optimization of indigenous genetic resources to minimize biodiversity erosion; (ii) greater coordination of research and teaching undertaken within the university for achieving greater impact; (iii) increased networking and sharing of knowledge and experiences among universities within countries and across regions; (iv) including seed policy and legal issues and for curricula review and; (v) universities to play a greater role in influencing national and regional policy processes as they relate to seed sector development in Africa as well as internationally.CTA will continue to work with African universities and network partners in their efforts aimed at strengthening the informal seed systems and supporting innovations that address hunger, poverty and climate change challenges.Previous notes on the ISSD initiative can be found here (March 2013) and here (October 2012).Download Judith Francis' presentation on CTA planned and ongoing work in Seed Sector Development in Africa (ISSD Ghana April 2013).Download the newsletter ISSD Africa no 4 of April 2013.


6th Africa Science Week and FARA General Assembly Side Event: Programme for Finals of 3rd Africa-wide Science competitions

The programme for the Finals of the 3rd CTA/FARA/IFS/ANAFE/NPCA/RUFORUM/AGRA Africa-wide Women and Young Professionals in Science competitions is available.  Click here to find the list of winners.


CTA/WUR/ACP universities audit university food and nutrition security programmes

Several countries have developed food and nutrition security policies but food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition remain a challenge. In some cases, national universities have contributed to the elaboration of national and regional policies but their curriculums are not necessarily aligned with them. The Education and Competence Studies Group and the Centre for Sustainable Development & Food Security of Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), ten universities in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific and African regional university networks (ANAFE, RUFORUM, TEAM Africa) collaborated in developing the Auditing Instrument for Food Security in Higher Education (AIFSHE) open source tool.


CTA Support – 9th Triennial African Potato Association (APA) Conference, 30 June to 4 July 2013

‘Transforming Potato and Sweetpotato Value Chains for Food and Nutrition Security’  -  The African Potato Association (APA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya, the National Potato Council of Kenya and the International Potato Center are hosting the Ninth Triennial African Potato Association (APA) conference, from 30 June to the 4 July 2013 at the Great Rift Valley Lodge, Kenya. CTA will support African scientists working on ‘orange fleshed sweet potato’ in keeping with the centre’s commitment to support the ACP region in achieving the goal of food and nutrition security, reducing hunger and improving prosperity.


ISHS/UWI/CTA 3rd International Conference on Postharvest and Quality Management of Horticultural Products of Interest in the Tropics

‘Postharvest technological initiatives to improve food security and market access'  Dates: 1–5 July 2013  Venue: Hyatt Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad  The Postharvest Working group of The International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) has embarked on a biannual conference entitled ‘Postharvest and Quality Management of Horticultural Products of Interest for Tropical Regions’.

Monday 01 July 2013 - Friday 05 July 2013

Winners of the 3rd Africa-wide Science Competitions for Women and Young Professionals in Science (20 July, 6th FARA General Assembly)

The decision to host the Africa-wide science competitions targeting African women and young professionals in science was taken by the FARA General Assembly at its 4th meeting in South Africa in 2007. Professor Monty Jones, the former executive director, FARA had readily agreed to partner with CTA, ANAFE, RUFORUM and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency in hosting these competitions. The Finals of the 2nd round of competitions was held at the 5th FARA GA in Burkina Faso and the decision was taken by the GA to continue to organize the science competitions. In 2012, the partnership was expanded to include the International Foundation for Science (IFS), Sweden. Find the abstracts here: 6th Africa Science Week and FARA General Assembly Side Event: Programme for Finals of 3rd Africa-wide Science competitionsUpdate: Top 20 finalists of the 3rd Africa-wide women and young professionals in science competitionsUpdate: October 2012, CTA/ FARA/ IFS/ ANAFE/ RUFORUM/ NEPAD/ AGRA 3rd Africa Wide Women and Young Professionals in Science Competitions


Policy writeshop ‘Postharvest: Strengthening the Engagement of Knowledge Institutes in ARD Policy Processes’ (12-14 August 2013)

The CTA Postharvest policy writeshop took place in August 2013 as planned. The purpose was to discuss the results and lessons learned from the CTA commissioned case studies undertaken in Trinidad & Tobago, Ghana and Senegal, and other initiatives for influencing future policy and practice on postharvest. The presentations and key messages are available. The synthesis report and policy brief are under preparation and will be made available subsequently.Download the summary report here.

Monday 12 August 2013 - Wednesday 14 August 2013

Policy writeshop: 'Improving Effectiveness of Extension and Advisory Services' 20-23 August 2013

CTA hosted a team of experts on extension and advisory services from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries as well as Europe and the United States in August 2013.The purpose was to review the results of six CTA commissioned case studies as well as case studies commissioned by  the 'Africa Extension Reform Group' (AERG), entitled ‘Transforming Agricultural Extension in Africa: A Continent-Wide Study of Agricultural Extension Workers at the Grassroots’, to derive lessons for policy and practice.This CTA policy learning workshop served as a platform for knowledge exchange on extension and advisory services and charting new areas for further exploration. The presentations and key messages from the workshop are provided. Case study templates for commissioning new studies were reviewed and updated. The synthesis report and policy brief will soon be available.  --Click to read the key messages by Judith Francis.

Tuesday 20 August 2013 - Friday 23 August 2013

Agreement on the establishment of the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN)

The Vice-Chancellors/Presidents or their nominees of eleven Pacific Islands universities at their meeting on the 9th and 10th of July 2013 at the University of the South Pacific have signed an agreement confirming the establishment of the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN). This networking initiative was identified as a priority by CTA in their 2012 work programme and supported by the Centre in 2012 and 2013. CTA’s Judith Ann Francis, Senior Programme Coordinator, Science and Technology Policy attended the July 2013 PIURN meeting in Fiji. 


CTA/ASARECA side event on ‘Seed science and policy learning’, 2nd ASARECA general assembly and scientific conference

The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) held its second general assembly and scientific conference on 9–13 December 2013, in Burundi. During a side event of Parallel Sessions 1 and 2, CTA conducted a two-day workshop on ‘Seed science and policy learning’. 


CAAST-Net Plus High level Policy Dialogue Side Event: EU-Africa ST&I Cooperation on Food and Nutrition Security, November 28

The objective of the FP7 CAAST-Net Plus project is to encourage better bi-regional ST&I cooperation around the challenges of climate change, food security and health. CTA is a partner in the CAAST-Net Plus project and leads on Work Package WP 1.1. Tasks assigned to this work package aim to contribute to the structuring and strengthening of the cooperation in food and nutrition security (FNS) research and innovation between Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. More precisely, WP1 is designed to: (i) assess the impact of Africa-Europe collaborative research on joint food security priorities, (ii) contribute to bridging the public-private gap for the dissemination and exploitation of research results, (iii) foster a Europe-Africa multi-actor platform for researchable joint priorities.  Get the report here.