The Generation Challenge Programme: Lessons learnt relevant to CRPs, and the next steps – J-M Ribaut


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Presentation made by the GCP Director during the CGIAR Fund Council (FC) visit to CIMMYT (GCP's host), on the sidelines of the FC meeting in Mexico in May 2014.

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The Generation Challenge Programme: Lessons learnt relevant to CRPs, and the next steps – J-M Ribaut

  1. 1. Jean-Marcel Ribaut Fund Council Meeting 9th May 2014 CIMMYT, Mexico The Generation Challenge Programme: Lessons learnt relevant to CRPs, and the next steps
  2. 2. Our discussion today:  Introduction to GCP  Major achievements  External review  Lessons learnt  Perspectives and conclusions
  3. 3. The CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme: an introduction
  4. 4. GCP in brief  A CGIAR Challenge Programme hosted at CIMMYT  Launched in August 2003  10-year framework (Phase I 2004–2008; Phase II 2009–2013), with 2014 as the closing year  About US$15–17m annual budget  Target regions: drought-prone environments  Sub-Saharan Africa, South & South East Asia, L America  Eighteen CGIAR mandate crops in Phase I  Nine CGIAR mandate crops in Phase II  Cereals: maize, rice, sorghum, wheat,  Legumes: beans, chickpeas, cowpeas, groundnuts  Roots and tubers: cassava Strategic objective: To use genetic diversity and advanced plant science to improve crops for greater food security in the developing world GCP: A broker in plant science bridging the gap between upstream and applied science
  5. 5. GCP Consortium EMBRAPA Brasilia Brazil CIP Lima Peru CIAT Cali Colombia CIMMYT Mexico City Mexico Cornell University USA Wageningen University Netherlands John Innes Centre Norwich UK CAAS Beijing China NIAS Tsukuba Japan Agropolis Montpellier France IPGRI Rome Italy WARDA Bouaké Cote d’Ivore IRRI Los Baños Philippines ICRISAT Patancheru India ICARDA Aleppo Syria IITA Ibadan Nigeria ACGT Pretoria South Africa ICAR New Delhi India BIOTEC Bangkok Thailand INRA Rabat Morocco CINVESTAV Irapuato Mexico Instituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare Florence Italy 9 CGIAR 6 ARIs 7 NARS ETH Zurich Switzerland Partners Consortium
  6. 6. Phase II
  7. 7. Actual Projection Total ('000 USD) 2003-2012 2013 2003-2013 % Income - Donors Austria 54 - 54 0 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 26,861 7,376 34,237 21 CGIAR Fund 11,021 5,500 16,521 10 DFID/UK 31,767 - 31,767 19 European Commission 49,150 8,000 57,150 34 Kirkhouse 15 - 15 0 Pioneer Foundation 210 - 210 0 Rockefeller Foundation 2,225 - 2,225 1 Sweden/SIDA 874 - 874 1 Switzerland/SDC 2,567 900 3,467 2 Syngenta Foundation 688 - 688 0 USAID 400 - 400 0 World Bank 17,756 - 17,756 11 Interest income 1,249 10 1,259 1 Total Income 144,838 21,786 166,624 100 Expenditure Research Grants 137,342 86 Program Management 20,238 13 Transfer to Contingency Reserve 3,000 2 Total Expenditure and Transfer to Contingency Reserve 160,580 100 Total Net Fund 6,044 Plus Reserve 3,000 Generation Challenge Programme: A 167-million-dollar initiative
  8. 8. Selected key achievements
  9. 9.  EPMR panel (2008) noted that the GCP community is one of the Programme’s most crucial assets. In their words: “Perhaps the most important value of GCP thus far, is the opportunities it has provided for people of diverse backgrounds to think collectively about solutions to complex problems, and, in the process, to learn from one another.”  Linking upstream research with applied science  True partnership  Shared resources  In-kind contribution from most of our partners  Work as a team to find $ outside the GCP-funded work  Evolution of roles and responsibilities  Leaders became mentors  Trainees become doers and leaders  In 2013/14, about half of the PIs are from developing countries  There is no doubt a unique and tangible ‘GCP spirit’ observable in the camaraderie at GCP meetings Major achievement: the GCP community
  10. 10.  Genetic resources  Reference sets for 18 crops (all CGIAR mandate crops)  Genomic resources  Markers for ‘orphan crops’  Informative markers  Drought, viruses and insect resistance  Genes/QTL  AltSB for aluminium tolerance, Pup1 for P uptake efficiency, Saltol for salt tolerance and Sub1 for submergence tolerance.  Improved germplasm  New bioinformatic tools (DM, diversity studies, breeding, etc)  Enhanced capacities for MAB in country programmes  Human-resource capacities / Physical infrastructure / Analytical power  Ex-ante analyses on MB impact in developing countries Product Catalogue available at: Selected major research outputs
  11. 11. GCP’s Integrated Breeding Platform Providing resources and building professional networks for plant breeding Crop Information • Crop databases • Trait Dictionaries • Marker information Breeding • Data mgt tools • Trial Mgt Tools • Data analysis tools • Molecular analysis tools • Breeding decision tools • Protocols • Breeding support services Capacity building • IBMYC & other training courses • Learning resources • Infrastructure support • Support Services Communities • Blogs & Forums • News • Publications • Live chat
  12. 12. ‘Classic’ Approach  Formal postgraduate training programmes  100+ MSc and PhD students whose work is embedded in research projects  Workshops, fellowship grantees, travel grants  Train the trainers for future regionalised capacity-building sustainability  Communities of practice  Rice in the Mekong; Cassava in Africa  IBP-hosted (both crop- and expertise-based) Perhaps not so common – probably uniquely GCP  CB à la carte  Integrated Breeding Multiyear Course (IB–MYC): breeding, data management, data analysis  CB along the delivery chain (scientists, technicians, station managers)  Technical support for infrastructure implementation  Some thoughts on whom to train  Cross-generational expertise Capacity building
  13. 13. External Review
  14. 14. Broad context  Requested for by the GCP MT and Executive Board  Undertaken by the CGIAR Independent Evaluation Arrangement (IEA)  A team of five reviewers:  Paramjit S Sachdeva (Team Leader)  Gregory O Edmeades (Senior Technical Evaluator)  Rita H Mumm (Molecular Breeding Expert)  Antoni J Rafalski (Genetic Resources/Genomics Expert)  Christopher Bennett (Economist/M&E Expert)  Conducted two surveys:  Programme evaluation: stakeholders  Governance and management: selected audience  Report’s conclusion: “The Review Team established that the GCP has performed well, has met the majority of its genetic enhancement goals and surpassed others, and will leave a formidable legacy of useful and accessible products and information”  GCP has sent its response to the review report
  15. 15. Assessment of GCP’s overall performance from stakeholder survey 56.3% 61.7% 66.4% 64.7% 57.5% 61.3% 57.4% 65.7% 37.3% 31.1% 28.7% 27.5% 38.8% 30.1% 34.1% 24.3% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Strongly Agree Agree % Agree 93.6% 92.8% 95.1% 92.2% 96.3% 91.4% 91.5% 90.0% Possible choices: Strongly agree; agree; disagree; strongly disagree; don’t know/not applicable
  16. 16. Lessons learnt
  17. 17. Governance Issue:  Dysfunctional governance for nearly half of GCP’s life until mid-2008, with governance body comprised of direct beneficiaries of its own decisions Solution:  Involvement of stakeholders (‘owners’) and partners to define the overall objectives and general direction, but…  Separate independent body to approve workplan and oversee implementation  Small group of complementary expertise (GCP EB works very well!) with…  Access to specific expertise when needed (eg, GCP’s IP Committee) Accountability must be clarified first!
  18. 18. Monitoring and evaluation Issue:  Inadequate research-management capacity in GCP’s early years due to part-time appointments (attractive in theory, but difficult in practice)  Lack of an M&E framework from the beginning (though this may not have been required at the time)  Conflict of interest within the MT  Not the same skills Options:  Full-time management team  Separate the planning and implementation from a stand-alone M&E component Of course good management capacity and practice have a cost, and therefore efficiency needs to be considered carefully
  19. 19. Science management: broker in plant science – the CP model A management team that defines and implements ‒ in partnership and through grants ‒ a workplan to achieve overall objectives Agile research management approach that allows…  Bringing in new ideas for strong partnerships  Continually enhancing research quality and efficiency  Adjusting research activities based on external environment  New technologies, partners, opportunities for synergy, etc  Easily discontinue unsuccessful projects But…  Must revolve around a specific research topic  Can only exist with the support of well-established institutes  Ideally focused and time-bound  Excellent complement of core activities
  20. 20. From Cornell’s lab to African farmers’ fields with a stopover in Brazil: a 10-year effort  Step 1: Competitive project (initiated 2004)  Led by Cornell Univ, in collaboration with EMBRAPA  Plantlets screened under hydroponics – Alt1 gene cloned Magalhaes et al 2007, Nature Genetics, 39: 1156–1151  Step 2: Competitive project (initiated 2007)  Led by EMBRAPA in collaboration with Cornell  Favourable alleles identified – improved germplasm for Brazil Caniato et al 2011, PLoS One 6, e20830  Step 3: Commissioned work (initiated 2009)  Led by NARS (Kenya, Mali and Niger) with the support of ICRISAT in collaboration with EMBRAPA  Introgression of favourable alleles – improved local germplasm Linking upstream research to applied science, with benefits – a practical example
  21. 21.  Most people are reluctant or resistant to change  Even people who are interested in change often do not allocate the time and resources to effect change  Even where there are clear and demonstrable benefits from making a change, this alone is not sufficient incentive  Most changes can be implemented only by:  Strong bottom-up demand  Mandatory top-down decision  Need to persuade people to be ready to:  Get out of their comfort zone  Dedicate time to learning new things  Dedicate time to things that might not benefit their work directly, or immediately  Adopt a collaborative rather than competitive approach  Enforcement and implementation  Big difference between the private and public sector Changing people’s behaviour: A real challenge in technology transfer
  22. 22. Other challenges Operational  Keeping key partners aligned with the overall shared objective(s)  Prioritisation and resource allocation  The two bosses and part-time boss syndromes  Communication (internal and external) – vital for a distributed team  Recognition and ownership Research  Germplasm exchange  Genetic stocks  Data management  Work quality standard  Inclusiveness vs efficiency
  23. 23. Conclusions and perspectives
  24. 24. Programme closure  Where possible and appropriate there should be defined end dates for research programmes – with a clear handover plan for perpetuation and dissemination of products  Engenders focus and urgency in the performance of research tasks and delivery of products
  25. 25. Impact and lessons  Difficult to measure impact at this stage, but overall it seems that GCP has been a successful venture!  Major achievements have probably revolved around:  Establishing true partnership with cultural change on how to run R4D projects  Several flagship projects  Enabling partners in developing countries to access modern biotechnologies  We also had some clear shortcomings  Monitoring and evaluation were the biggest shortfalls  Several competitive projects were dead-ends  The CP research model can’t work in isolation, but it is an attractive model to complement core research activities  Lessons learnt from the CPs in general and GCP in particular can inform the CRP operational and organisational models  IBP will survive GCP and can form the core part of a possible cross- cutting initiative to support commodity CRPs
  26. 26. IBP will survive GCP  A proposal has been submitted to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  Shortfall: still need to source about USD 12m over 5 years  Potential for larger initiatives across the CRPs to support crop improvement pipeline – from the genebank up to seed distribution The way forward Research activities  To be embedded in the respective commodity CRP  About 10% of the current projects will need an extension  About 50% of the current projects will have a second phase building and expanding on achievements thus far