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Measuring R&D Performance within an Innovation System Perspective: An Illustration from the Nigeria and Ghana Agricultural Research Systems
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Measuring R&D Performance within an Innovation System Perspective: An Illustration from the Nigeria and Ghana Agricultural Research Systems


By Catherine R. Ragasa, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, and George Owusu Essegbey. …

By Catherine R. Ragasa, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, and George Owusu Essegbey.
Presented at the ASTI-FARA conference Agricultural R&D: Investing in Africa's Future: Analyzing Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities - Accra, Ghana on December 5-7, 2011. http://www.asti.cgiar.org/2011conf

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  • Many almost all the representations
  • culture operating within an organization, and the incentives it offers, and gives the organization its personality
  • This is just to give a general picture of what technologies have been reported by research organizations in Nigeria and Ghana. Majority are improvement management practices in both countries, then new crop varieties for both countries, and a huge proportion is also mechanical technologies in Nigeria, most of the patents being reported are in this area of mechanical technologies. There are 205 technologies in Nigeria since 1997; the preliminary estimate in Ghana, but the study and validation are ongoing point to about 109 since the start of these organizations.
  • There is a huge percentage of researchers who were not aware of adoption level for Nigeria and Ghana, with more proportion in Ghana. A recent study by IFPRI-STEPRI by looking at 10 cases of technologies that have been reported by researchers as high-adopted suggest that only 4 included have high adoption, 1 have moderate adoption and 5 have low adoption, which indicates that is likely that the reported awareness by scientists is overall stated and that actual adoption may in fact be lower than the what is reported by scientists. None
  • Inputs to performance-based rewards. Transparency in the These are important entry point for organizational change and support if the head really wants to increase productivity and better its performance. Skill development/training has bee cited in both countries, more research funds/more timely release of research funds are also important in both countries. What the data surprisingly show is that there is a thin line that distinguishes capacity and motivation. When researchers and organization leaders were asked what their motivations are (through open-ended question), most of the responses relate to availability of basic resources in the organization, peer effect, and financial incentives.
  • PhD and MS researchers in Nigeria were reporting about 6 publications per 3 years; while PhD in Ghana were reporting 5 publications and
  • This is the responses on the frequency of interaction by researcher among different innovation actors. The red bars represent those that have never interacted with various actors in the past year, with the only exception of other researchers. There is no motivation to interact. We can see more interaction on Ghana with other actors, for example with international organization, private sector, and NGOs as they are potentially For both Nigeria and Ghana, more frequent interaction with extension agents is positively associated with higher operating funds per FTE. Linkages with almost all actors are positively associated with satisfaction on work environment. Perceptions on organization’s transparency in promotion, recruitment and decisions, political interference and corruption are positively correlated with the frequency of interaction with all actors. Perception on mobility to operational area is positively correlated with frequency of interaction with other researchers. For Nigeria, internet is positively correlated with frequency of interaction with other researchers. In Ghana, organizations in Accra have more linkages with other actors, except farmers and extension agents. In Ghana, more frequent interaction with other researchers is positively correlated with capital funds per FTE. These results suggest that interaction and linkages are not automatic but depend largely on organizational issues and staff morale hindering or encouraging linkages and among the seemingly important factors from the survey include operating funds, greater mobility and improved transportation; improved internet and other physical infrastructure,
  • VariouA large majority of researcher realizes the crucial important of linkages and connectivity with other innovation actors but it seems that there are structural barriers to achieving this. Currently, there are limited linkages and connectivity of researchers in both Ghana and Nigeria (slightly better for Ghana).


  • 1. Measuring R&D Performance within Innovation Systems Perspective:Illustrations from Ghana and Nigeria Agricultural Research Systems Catherine Ragasa (IFPRI) George Essegbey (STEPRI) Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (ARCN)
  • 2. Motivation of the study• Investment in R&D (usually coupled with infrastructure) is required for increasing agricultural productivity• High ROR on investment on R&D (although with wide variability)• Increased investment emphasized, but there is dearth in studies on the functioning of NARIs/NARS where the intended funding would go to • Are agricultural research organizations within Nigeria and within Ghana performing differently and what are the factors that account for these differences? • Are there patterns of differences between Ghana and Nigeria agricultural research performance measures that are explained by differences in their policies, emphasis and practices?
  • 3. Measures of performance• Conventional indicators • Number of publication (self-reported) • Number of technologies (self-reported) • Number of patents (self-reported)• Organization theory and public sector motivation literature • Staff morale (staff perception; Likert scale) • Peer rating (perception of other organization; frequency) • Number of awards (self-reported)• Innovation systems perspective • Interaction with various actors (frequency, perception of usefulness) • Involvement of actors in priority-setting; use of participatory approaches and innovation platforms (dummy) • Level dissemination efforts of publications and technology (self-reported; number) • Extent of use of publications (staff perception; Likert scale) • Extent of adoption of technologies (staff perception; Likert scale)
  • 4. Potential explanatory factors• Organizational capacity (satisfaction on adequacy; actual ASTI data) • Human, physical, financial resources• Management systems (satisfaction on adequacy/implementation) • Planning processes • Information and coordination processes • Monitoring and evaluation system • Perception of transparency and other dimension of work environment • Training (technical and management)• Organizational culture types – dilemma of control versus flexibility and people versus organization • Group, development, rational, hierarchical, balanced culture types• Incentive systems & sources of accountability • Performance indicators reported being used (open-ended question) • Rewards/sanctions being used (open-ended question) • Salary (Salary costs/FTE; staff perception) • Openness of information about organization (staff perception, Likert scale)
  • 5. Method and Data Sources• NARIs under ARCN and CSIR, CRIG, and HEI• Nigeria • 47 organizations [all 15 RI, all 11 FCA, 21/48 faculties] • 344 randomly-selected researchers (out of >3,000 total) [3-20 sample/organization]• Ghana • 16 organizations [all 10 RI; CRIG; and 6/15 faculties] • 237 randomly-selected researchers (out of 706 total) [5-20 sample/organization]• Face-to-face survey • 2 types of questionnaire (for head and for sample researcher)
  • 6. Majority of technologies produced are improvedmanagement practices 100% 2 19 10 90% 80% 56 70% 60% 59 Chemical 50% Mechanical 72 40% Management 30% Biological 20% 38 58 10% 0% Nigeria (205) Ghana (109) * Preliminary
  • 7. Limited awareness of adoption of technologies in bothGhana and Nigeria 100% 1 90% 13 15 Wide adoption (>60%) 80% 4 5 70% 29 Moderate adoption (41- 60%) 60% Some adoption (21-40%) 50% 17 40% Limited adoption (<20%) 3 76 30% Zero adoption 20% 37 10% No knowledge 0% Nigeria (87) Ghana (114)
  • 8. Observation (1)• Lack of farmer- or impact-orientation; mainly supply-driven• Heavy emphasis on publication and technology (N) and heavy emphasis of internally-generated funds (G); little follow-up on what happens to the technologies• Use of indicators such as “impact on/adoption of farmers”, “farmers’ problems solved”, “appreciation by farmers,” as performance indicators • 0% (G); 30% (N)• Organization heads who mentioned these as motivations • 0% (G); 20% (N)• Researchers who mentioned these as motivations • 15% (G); 5% (N)• Organization heads who mentioned these or development outcomes (e.g., food security, poverty reduction) as central mission of organization according to org head • 20% (G,N)
  • 9. What motivates researchers? Nigeria Ghana50 604540 503530 4025 302015 20105 10- -
  • 10. What motivates organization heads? Nigeria Ghana70 6060 5050 4040 3030 2020 1010 00
  • 11. Observation (2)• Different motivations across organizations and countries• Most of the motivations are already being implemented (promotion, recognition, higher salary or bonus based on performance, training), but need more transparency in promotion and training participant selection; better implementation of M&E• What are not being addressed are the basic needs (such as basic lab and research facilities, electricity, and internet). Conducive work environment has mainly to do with adequacy of resources.• More timely research funds and research funds as motivating factors for both researchers and org leader• Explore using other indicators not yet explored – appreciation by farmers
  • 12. Observation (3)• Nigeria has more publications per researcher• Nigeria - stronger emphasis on publication (in both RI and HEI) in explicit performance indicators used and implicit measures recognized by peers.• Ghana – more focus on internationally-generated funds and associated more frequency of consultancy work rather than peer- reviewed publications Average count of publications in last 3 years per 8 researcher 6 4 Nigeria 2 Ghana 0 Total With BS With MS With PhD
  • 13. Limited linkages among various actors Nigeria Ghana100% 100%90% 90% Several times a80% 80% month70% 70% About once a60% 60% month50% 50% A few times a year40% 40%30% 30% Never20% 20%10% 10% 0% 0%
  • 14. Observation (4)• Linkages are important (staff, org head, correlation analyses) • 2 strategies: (a) changing mindset; and (b) addressing the binding constraints that hinder greater linkages, which include lack of funds, platforms, and transportation, time constraints, no incentive and no culture in the organization, or lack of interest or motivation from both parties• Researchers in Ghana reported having better linkages with other innovation actors, but researchers in Nigeria reported having better linkages with other researchers. • Ghana - greater emphasis on non-state funds generated which would very much require interaction and collaboration with possible sources of funds, such as private sector, NGOs, and international organizations. • Nigeria – greater emphasis on publication, often requiring greater interaction with other researchers
  • 15. Observation (5)• Variability in organizations within Ghana and Nigeria • Good performing and bad performing organizations in the same country or institutional context; elements of good performance• Factors (correlation analyses) • Greater satisfaction of facilities/physical resources more technology produced per PhD, more awards received, peer rating (N); more technology and publication per PhD (N, G) • International research collaboration more technologies, more publication, better perceived adoption, award, peer rating (G, N) • Higher PhD/MS ratio higher publication per MS (G) • Higher operating funds per FTE more publication per MS (G) • More frequent linkages with farmers, private sector, MOA, other researcher, Intl Org more technologies & publication, award, peer rating (G,N) • M&E system, work environment, international research collaboration (N); control (G) more researchers perceiving more adoption
  • 16. Observation (6)• Work environment almost all performance indicators• Majority of staff are satisfied with their job• Majority reported that their organizations are effective given its budget and resources (Ghana >Nigeria)• Most important issue/dissatisfaction in both countries is adequacy of physical resources and research funds• The second items that show much dissatisfaction among respondents: • Not-so competitive salary and benefits seem to be a bigger problem by staff in Ghana; while job security seems to be a much bigger problem in Nigeria.• There is also reported dissatisfaction because of the level of corruption or misuse of funds in the organization and transparency in promotion and hiring processes for both countries (more in Nigeria)
  • 17. Observation (7)• Output and productivity seems to respond to performance indicators • If publication is mentioned as a performance indicator more publications being produced by its researchers. • If technology is mentioned as a performance indicator more technologies that researchers will contribute in producing.• Presence of reward or sanction more technologies and publication per PhD and per MS• Openness of information about performance of organization is correlated to publication, technology and peer rating• Salary & benefits have been consistency mentioned, but variations of salary (variations in perception on competitive pay, adequacy of salary in relation to living expenses, and salary costs per FTE did not seem to be statistically correlated with variations in any of the performance indictors)
  • 18. Observation (8)• Different performance ratings can be inconsistent or contradictory. Puzzles: • More researchers in Ghana seem to have more linkages, more satisfied with human and physical resources, organizational management practices, and work environment, but these do not seem to translate into greater productivity (publication, technology) • More researchers in Ghana perceived that their organizations are effective given its budget and resources than in Nigeria • Within Nigeria - more perceived adoption, award & peer rating all are positively correlated; but all are negatively correlated with productivity (publications and technology per PhD and per MS) • Within Ghana – productivity and peer rating are positively correlated but all are negatively correlated with perceived adoption level• From analysis perspective, avoid using composite index to capture all performance indicator, but to analyze them individually• Trade-offs or balanced set of indicators? Trade-off between or combination of scholarly contribution versus impact of poor farmers and end-users
  • 19. Concluding remarks• Complex and challenging process • We tried a participatory approach, engaging researchers in several iterations of the questionnaire (technology, adoption, can mean differently to different people) • Revisit definitions and measures especially when these metrics are to be scaled out to other countries • Self-reporting (CV, not an evaluation, capacity strengthening) • Time lag of technologies and attribution to various factors • This study is a starting point; and more needs to be done • Qualitative approach (in-depth case studies with observational approaches and historical perspective) • More research is needed to look at actual adoption and impact of technologies (beyond perceptions of scientists)
  • 20. Concluding remarks• Funding is required for basic institutional capacity • Infrastructure seems to be a binding constraints • Linkages are important (but not automatic); linkage costs can be explicitly put in the budget • Salary & benefit improvements are consistency emphasized by researchers and leaders, but needs to be further studied • Human capacity strengthening (technical, management, value chain approaches)• How can we make NARIs be more responsive and accountable to the needs and demands farmers? • A lot of it is leadership/management commitment • Performance indicators/targets, coupled with transparency • Openness of information about org performance is associated with greater productivity and better peer rating • Hosting producer organizations within RI helps in the linkages • External accountability • Greater international research collaboration • Producer organizations managing competitive grants