The 1st lead article ‘Post MDGs – Change the landscape for science and innovation for agricultural and rural development’, by Judith Francis emphasizes the need for shared ownership of the global agenda and the requisite STI implementation capacity at the national level if significant progress is to be made in addressing societal challenges. In the 2nd lead article, ‘Strengthening science, technology and innovation policy processes in Africa’, John Ouma-Mugabe notes the recent resurgence of interest in STI policy making and implementation in Africa but acknowledges the limitations, e.g. the long gestation time between adoption and implementation, the weak linkages between STI ministries, think tanks, academic and research institutes and the private sector and other capacity gaps that impede progress. In the 3rd lead article, Maurice Bolo considers the steep learning and adaptation curve, the obstacles to new knowledge and the partners smallholder farmers prefer to work with to gain knowledge, innovate and access markets. All three authors point to the need for greater national investments in STI infrastructure, a change in the culture of STI organizations and for greater urgency in addressing the STI capacity gaps in developing countries for achieving socio-economic development.
We also feature the views of ten African women and young scientists and their pioneering research contributions for ‘Feeding 1 billion in Africa in a changing world’. Summaries of their scientific contributions cover a range of themes including; resistance to Ethiopian stem rust in durum wheat, introduction of heat tolerance gene for improved egg production and labour saving tools for women.
The K4D newsletter also provides links to a range of other valuable resources e.g. (i) the Nature article on ‘Policy: the art of science advice to governments’ by Peter Gluckman, New Zealand’s chief science adviser who offers ten guiding principles for building trust, influence, engagement and independence; (ii) the IDS publication by PhD students on ‘New perspectives from PhD field research’; and (iii) the preliminary research results from the University of Cape Town study on the interface between informal and formal innovation in seed development in South Africa.
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