Knowledge for Development

S&T Policy

This set of dossiers is intended to enable the ACP community of scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders in the agricultural and related sectors and disciplines to share their knowledge and experiences in order to enhance national and regional policy dialogue to support informed policy formulation and implementation.

Research collaboration in a globalised world

Research collaboration has clear benefits, but can be stymied by funding, ethical, trust and coordination issues, especially where multiple linkages require cooperation across different disciplines, several actors, areas of government as well as across different countries. The nature of collaboration is changing and becoming increasingly complex, with increasing recognition being given to the importance of South-South collaboration, and the evolution in the relationships of North-South partnerships. In this dossier, two lead articles and a series of documents and links give access to publications about best practices in developing partnerships and to useful networking information. 


ACP agricultural S&T dialogue

This dossier is intended to enable the ACP community of scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders in the agricultural and related sectors and disciplines to share their knowledge and experiences in order to enhance national and regional policy dialogue to support informed policy formulation and implementation. The lead discussion papers in this dossier, supported by material available through the links to related documents and websites, will stimulate debate. The original dossier was compiled by Contactivity in 2005 and edited and updated by Judith A. Francis (CTA).


EU agricultural S&T dialogue

This dossier is intended as a guide to European S&T and ARD policies and programmes for the ACP community of scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders in the agricultural and related sectors and disciplines. The original dossier was compiled by Contactivity in 2005 and edited and updated by Judith A. Francis (CTA).


Financing ARD

This dossier contains over 200 annotated links to information on innovative funding strategies and organizations that provide funding for agricultural research in ACP countries. These links are intended for policy makers and managers of research institutes who are confronted with restrained budgets and need to reorganize the institutional frameworks through which their research can be funded. The first section of this dossier feature links to web resources that outline new approaches, trends and developments in financing agricultural research. The second and third section contain links to information on two main institutional innovations in financing agricultural onderzoek, i.e. Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and competitive research grant schemes. The remaining sections provide directions to a great number of organizations and programmes that finance agricultural research projects. Visitors who wish to engage in discussions on the issues raised here and in other dossiers can post comments in the relevant section of the S&T Forum on the home page. We welcome your comments and encourage you to contribute articles.



Management information system (MIS)Timely quality information is critical for sound decision making and knowledge development. Information is now being generated at a rapid pace and access and availability are multi-dimensional. Collation and coordination of the multiple data and information sources and integration into a management information system will enhance the flow of information within an organization, country or region. This dossier has been prepared to raise awareness of ACP countries of the need to develop systems for the systematic acquisition, analysis and archiving of data and information from a variety of sources. An integrated management information system (MIS) is a powerful tool for planning and decision-making. Successful management information systems in many regions which can serve as models for ACP countries.-Information, Communication and Knowledge Management (ICKM) strategiesInformation and communication management (ICM) and knowledge management (KM) are often characterised as having three components: people, processes and technology. However, the rapid development of information and communications technologies (ICTs) has sometimes resulted in ICM being seen as a largely technological issue. In reality it is the people component of ICM and KM supported by processes and technology that is the most important. In the articles and documents publsihed on this website we have discussed the concept of Innovation systems as networks of interlinked actors, wherein the effective communication of information and exchange of knowledge among the different actors is critical to the performance of the system. In the agricultural science, technology and innovation system, successful organisations and related agro-enterprises and industries are increasingly those that recognize the importance of knowledge, and implement policies and strategies to promote its creation, sharing and application. This dossier highlights the issue of information and knowledge sharing and points our readers to available resources and tools to assist in the development of capacity to harness knowledge for agricultural development in ACP countries.The dossier ICT for ARD has a section on its own. See listing below to access that particular dossier.



We currently face several global crises related to finance, economics, health, environment, agriculture, and energy which raise the question, was there sufficient foresighting used to determine and evaluate the possible futures and take the necessary action? Foresighting is a collective process that involves evaluation of past events, current trends and possible future scenarios to determine policies and strategies. Foresight studies are carried out in several developed countries and policymakers use such studies to design their policy plans. Is there sufficient foresighting taking place in ACP countries for determining what the future of their agricultural sectors will or should be and what science, technology and innovation capacity is needed? This folder provides an overview of foresighting in general, and more particularly the role of foresighting in agricultural development.


Innovation systems

Innovation and technical change are drivers of economic development. Innovation depends on access to information and knowledge and requires continuous learning. It takes place within an institutional, social, political and economic context. The agricultural context in the ACP region is rapidly changing in a world in which scientific and technological advances, for example ICTs and bio- and nanotechnology, influence the agricultural landscape and rural environment. Farmers, policymakers and scientists have to respond adequately to these rapid changes; while preserving the natural resource base for future agricultural production. The IAASTD report 2009, also places emphasis on the importance of knowledge, science and technology for sustainable development.


Intellectual property

This dossier contains over 225 annotated links to information on intellectual property (IP) in ACP agriculture. It is intended for ACP policy makers and researchers who are confronted with the complexities of the various international treaties and agreements governing IP in agriculture. These include the WTO Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV, 1991), and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which entered into force on 29 June 2004.


Measuring the impact of agricultural research

This new dossier on the CTA S&T knowledge for development website (K4D) includes a series of three lead articles by Johannes Roseboom, Innovation Policy Consultant, The Netherlands. The articles provide a novel perspective on investing in agricultural innovation and responds to the increasing demand for public agricultural research and extension agencies to; measure and document the impact of their activities, define clear performance indicators and monitor the outcomes and improve the relevance of research results. Links to several documentary and on-line resources are also included in the dossier. Compiled and edited by CABI & CTA . Published by CTA. Editor-in-chief, J. Francis, CTA.


Participatory approaches in ARD

There have been repeated calls for greater and more active involvement of stakeholders especially farmers in agricultural research and development. Several strategies have been proposed and employed with varying measures of success. This dossier explores some of the methodologies and approaches in PARD and provides useful information on experiences of researchers in enhancing the involvement of farmers and other stakeholders in the prioritization and execution of agricultural research and development projects.


Reshaping tertiary agricultural education

Globalization and rapid advances in information and communication technologies are expanding the opportunities for collaboration and networking while simultaneously spurring competition among firms, nations and regions. Agricultural science graduates are expected to be critical thinkers, multi-disciplinary problem solvers and team players who are also “work ready”. ACP universities are challenged to produce these quality graduates while increasing their efficiency, relevance and effectiveness, in responding to societal needs. Yet, resources – financial and human, are dwindling and demand and competition among national, regional and international universities for staff, students and funding are increasing. In this folder, attempts are made to find answers to how best to reshape tertiary education in agriculture to meet future needs of ACP agricultural sector. Dr. Paul Kibwika, Makerere University, Uganda and Dr. Arjen Wals, Wageningen University & Research Centre, The Netherlands, plea for academics and scientists to break out of routines that reinforce the status quo, engage with students and the wider society and explore creative and unorthodox ways of solving complex problems to create learning platforms for change. Professor Michael Madukwe, Dean Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nigeria, provides a cluster approach to rethinking the way agricultural education is delivered. He focuses on knowledge; sustainability; globalization and collaboration, strategic policy and funding. Background information on strategies, best practices and case studies for reshaping ACP tertiary education is presented through links to related websites and relevant publications.



Science and ethics are inextricably bound together. Science is said to be objective and ethics is subjective as it is linked to personal choices. This dossier deals with the broad range of ethical complexities in science, research design and implementation, selection and use of material, implications of innovative outcomes and the interest of society. In his lead article: Ethics in Science for Development Prof. Michiel Korthals, Head of Department Applied Philosophy, Wageningen University, The Netherlands, discusses ethical dilemmas scientists often face. Prof. Annabel Fossey of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa, in her lead article: Research Ethics and Agricultural Innovations – The Dilemma of Scientists states that since the advent of genetic engineering the view that scientists are, in general, trustworthy and ethically sound, and that agricultural research leading to new technological advances is intrinsically good has been altered, culminating in an ever growing societal interest in agricultural practices and their consequences.