Proposed Action Plan to develop a CGIAR Capacity Strengthening andPartnership Development StrategyCGIAR Consortium, Octobe...
critical aspects to build individual researcher capacity and at the same time create moreeffective institutional partnersh...
2. Appoint a capacity strengthening advisor to the Consortium to develop a CGIAR wide   strategy; support CRPs in developi...
and men, are integral to the Consortium’s approach and will include monitoring of each Program’sCapacity Strengthening and...
•   opportunities for experienced scientists in national systems to gain international experience and        exposure;    ...
is a strong obligation for the host institution to ensure that there is adequate mentoring and training ofthe PostDoc.CGIA...
1. The national program or partner with an interest to join the CGIAR PostDoc and Visiting Scientist   Program and the Con...
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Cgiar capacity strengthening note oct12

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Proposed Action Plan to develop a CGIAR Capacity Strengthening and Partnership Development Strategy

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Cgiar capacity strengthening note oct12

  1. 1. Proposed Action Plan to develop a CGIAR Capacity Strengthening andPartnership Development StrategyCGIAR Consortium, October 12INTRODUCTIONIn response to the challenge to achieve a food-secure world by 2025, the Consultative Group onInternational Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has undertaken a comprehensive reorganization to integratethe work of its global system of international research centers into a single Consortium that implementsfifteen new global research programs. The CGIAR’s Strategic Results Framework (2011) identifies severalcross-cutting issues that directly affect its likelihood of success in achieving its four system-leveloutcomes of reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving nutrition and health and thesustainable management of natural resources. Strengthening the capacity of the partners of the CGIAR,particularly but not exclusively the national systems for agricultural research, is one of those cross-cutting issues that, to date, have not yet been fully fleshed out in the new CGIAR structure.This note proposes to advance in 2013 a CGIAR Capacity Strengthening and PartnershipImprovement Strategy to explore and determine the role of the CGIAR and its researchprograms in the strengthening of capacity within the consortium and among CGIAR partnerswith the following potential objectives:1. Strengthen the capacity of research partners to undertake applied or downstream agricultural research for development in high priority countries for CGIAR CRPs that currently have a low capacity – in order to increase the potential for CGIAR developed “international public good” innovations to be further developed adapted and adopted.2. Strengthen the capacity of the CGIAR and its downstream development and delivery partners that are instrumental in successfully moving innovations from the lab into the hands of farmers, such as for example local seed companies, or farmer organizations.3. Strengthen the capacity of individuals and organizations to develop and maintain efficient and effective international partnerships in the areas affecting the CGIAR’s agenda – from effective innovation platforms to the development of an effective cadre of researchers that have international experience and exposure – in all areas necessary and sufficient – to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition and maintain healthy ecosystems.In addition to capacity building strategy development and subsequent mainstreaming in each ofthe CGIAR Research Programs, it is proposed that there will be some initial actions that aremore effectively organized at the system or Consortium level, rather than at the CRP level. Suchactions will be based on extensive experience with elements of capacity building readilyavailable in the system, at many countries and among CGIAR donors and research partners suchas CIRAD and EMBRAPA, where some particularly effective programs exist that focus on two 1
  2. 2. critical aspects to build individual researcher capacity and at the same time create moreeffective institutional partnerships by means of PostDoc (or junior professional, or associateexpert) and visiting scientist programs.A number of CGIAR partners have had PostDoc or Visiting Scientist programs with individualCGIAR member centers – and have now approached the Consortium with the request toorganize system wide programs to increase their efficiency and effectiveness. It is expectedthat this will have the following advantages or benefits:Strategic • Bring new skills, novel research approaches and unusual perspectives necessary to refine and ultimately achieve the SLOs of the SRF. • Address current needs/gaps by supplementing with new external capacity CRPs tackling research problems and themes necessary to achieve the SLOs of the SRF (e.g., quantifying and internalizing the value of ecosystem services or incorporation of gender in research and delivering mechanisms). • Build stronger synergies with key external research partners, governments and other stakeholders. • Foster intellectual exchange across disciplines and CRPs enabling spaces for innovation and creative problem solving. Administrative • Provide access to all CRPs and centers through a single agreement; • Make easier to arrange a competitive selection across CRPs and centers efficiently and effectively; and • Realize the potential befits of harmonizing conditions across CRPs, centers and partner countries to increase effectiveness and fairness.Finally, while many of the CGIAR member centers and CRPs list their ability to partner, and theircurrent partnerships, as a strength, partner feedback indicates that partners frequently have adifferent perspective of the CGIAR – often more negative. Consequently, the Consortium ispreparing to implement a Partner Perception Survey in late 2012, to serve as baseline tomeasure and monitor future improvement.RECOMMENDATIONS1. Follow the same model as used for gender research to mainstream capacity strengthening and partnership development across the CGIAR and CRP portfolio. 2
  3. 3. 2. Appoint a capacity strengthening advisor to the Consortium to develop a CGIAR wide strategy; support CRPs in developing their strategies and support the development of a Capacity Strengthening and Partnership Development Network or CoP.3. Conduct a Partner Perception survey for the CGIAR and for all of the CRPs individually, that can be used as a 2012 baseline and to develop strategies for improvement against.4. Establish a CGIAR PostDoc and Visiting Scientist program, in 2013, in collaboration with and co-funded by countries (e.g. Netherlands, Japan, Brazil) and research partners (e.g. CIRAD, EMBRAPA) interested in supporting such a program and hosting PostDoc or Visiting Scientist Fellows.ACTION PLAN TO DEVELOP A CAPACITY BUILDING & PARTNERSHIPS STRATEGYFor gender research, another of the cross-cutting issues, an approach has been followed by theConsortium Office that is proposed as a reasonable model to follow to “mainstream” capacitystrengthening in the CRP portfolio as well, i.e.: 1. Appoint a long-term consultant as capacity strengthening advisor to support Consortium Capacity Strengthening activities. 2. Develop and put in place a CGIAR Capacity Strengthening and Partnership Development Strategy. 3. Develop CRP Capacity Strengthening and Partnership Development Strategies for those CRPs that do not already have such, and review the set of strategies to ensure consistence across the CRP portfolio. 4. Encourage and support implementation of the CRP Capacity Strengthening and Partnership Development strategies across the CRP portfolio.Establishing a robust, properly resourced ability to address the capacity strengthening and partnershipdevelopment dimensions of agricultural research and development at the Consortium level in general isalso central to the CGIAR’s new results-oriented approach, very similar to parallel concerns for genderresearch in particular. For the first time, the CGIAR has developed a comprehensive Consortium LevelGender Strategy (2012) that commits to deliver research outputs with measurable benefits to womenfarmers in target areas within four years of inception of any given Program and to ensure thedeployment of best-in-class scientific talent for this purpose. Research on gender is now conceived inthe CGIAR’s Strategic Results Framework as a theme that cross-cuts the CGIAR Research Programsbecause significant opportunities exist for cross-program synergy and efficiency. A similar approach isproposed to be followed for the more general and critical question of strengthening capacity bothwithin the CGIAR and for its partners to deliver impact in close collaboration with the CGIAR.Consequently, it is proposed that in early 2013 a senior advisor for capacity strengthening will beappointed at the Consortium office and a Capacity Strengthening and Partnership DevelopmentNetwork will be established to support the development and implementation of a CapacityStrengthening Partnership Development Strategy by each Program. Clear and enforceable accountabilitymechanisms designed to improve the relevance of the CGIAR’s research to poor farmers, both women 3
  4. 4. and men, are integral to the Consortium’s approach and will include monitoring of each Program’sCapacity Strengthening and Partnership Development Strategy results, the resources it allocates toachieve these and its deployment of relevant expertise.STAKEHOLDER PERCEPTION SURVEYThe Consortium has initiated a project to carry out stakeholder perception survey to get a baseline ofhow our stakeholders perceive the CGIAR’s approach to partnering – particularly as related to the newCRPs - in 2012. In September a working group has been formed with partnership specialists from amongthe Consortium members and CRPs to lead this work, with Daniela Alfaro of the Consortium Office asproject leader. In October a survey firm, GlobeScan, has been contracted to carry out the survey. Thesurvey will be based on the list of partners provided by each CRP, based on questions that the workinggroup develops, and will generate a detailed report for all of the CGIAR and summary reports (scorecards) for each of the CRPs. The survey will be conducted in late 2012 and the report is expected in early2013.CGIAR POSTDOC AND VISITING SCIENTIST PROGRAMThe Consortium proposes to create a CGIAR PostDoc and Visiting Scientist Program in 2013, in closecollaboration with partners interested to co-fund or host such fellows. The primary function of theprogram would be to develop a framework that hosts and harmonizes similar programs from variouscountries and partners across the CGIAR through a single competitive call and simple harmonizedadministrative procedures and employment and compensation conditions. 1. CGIAR PostDocs, for young scientists placed with CGIAR CRPs, or CGAR’s ARI partners for 18- month to two-year temporary positions (extendable to 3 years max) for entry-level scientists with a recent PhD, from all nationalities - but a majority from developing countries and a target of 50% women; and 2. CGIAR Visiting Scientists, for senior scientists with national partner institutes or CGIAR centers that are hosted by CRPs or ARIs such as CIRAD in France, while on leave of absence or sabbatical from their regular positions to gain international experience and/or exposure to cutting edge research facilities or methods (e.g. senior scientists from national systems that do not have international experience) to work at CGIAR centers or ARI partners for a period of 6-12 months. 3. CGIAR Scientists at Large, for CGIAR scientists to spend time as visiting scholars at existing – or new – partner organizations broadening their research perspectives in benefit of the SRF while addressing specific key problems of the CRRs that might be of cross-disciplinary nature or involve expertise or skills currently beyond the current CGIAR proficiencies.Such a program has a range of well-known benefits: • opening up the CGIAR system to young scientists with recent training in cutting edge methods and approaches; • critical “stepping stone” entry level positions for young scientists that are interested to gain international experience – often a bottleneck for joining international research organizations; 4
  5. 5. • opportunities for experienced scientists in national systems to gain international experience and exposure; • opportunities for CGIAR scientists to update their knowledge in advanced labs or research groups; • opportunities to develop and improve partnerships among the CRPs and their partners through, over time, staff exchange; • improved staff diversity from nationality and gender perspectives; and • opening up the CGIAR to new forms of partnership and ideas.The dual problem for the CGIAR is that: (a) its scientist cadre is aging and inflow of young scientists islimited; (b) the system is (and is perceived to be) too closed – not open enough to effective partnerships(interested partners find it hard to get in).For young scientists with a recent PhD and an interest in an international career the problem is to gaininternational experience, as most international positions require international experience to begin with.This is a problem also for experienced/senior scientists in national systems without (significant)international experience.It is proposed here to create a CGIAR PostDoc and Visiting Scientist program that is over and above /additional to the regular CRP budget, so that these entry level positions do not compete with regular /experienced staff. The positions are all temporary, not career track – other than in exceptional casesneither PostDocs nor Visiting Scientists would be converted to regular staff positions.Partnership and co-funding through in-kind “national” contributionsIt is proposed that the primary funding for this program will come as in-kind contributions from nationalprograms. That is, a number of CGIAR partner countries have an interest to run young professional orPostDoc programs together with the CGIAR. To gain scale, effectiveness, fairness and visibility it isproposed here to create a CGIAR-wide program that would pull these national programs together(rather than the old model that was bilateral per center).For example, The Netherlands runs young professional programs and has expressed an interest to re-develop the current group of center-level programs into a single CGIAR-wide program. Similarly, CIRADof France is interested to establish a joint PostDoc and Visiting Scientist program with the CGIAR.EMBRAPA of Brazil has also expressed an interest to pursue a joint PostDoc program.The CGIAR Consortium’s contribution will be to help organize these programs into a single, effectiveprogram at scale, and to match or complement national funds where necessary.CGIAR PostDocsThe program would be open to individuals with a recent PhD (obtained ideally less than 3 years ago)who have not yet had another PostDoc position. These are essentially training positions, not career trackpositions; even good PostDocs that perform well would be expected to move on after their fellowshipsend. That is, they are not well compensated, selection cannot emphasize “prior experience”, and there 5
  6. 6. is a strong obligation for the host institution to ensure that there is adequate mentoring and training ofthe PostDoc.CGIAR PostDocs would be hosted by the CRPs, either at one of the participating CGIAR member centers,or possibly with one of the ARI partners of the CRP that has the appropriate lab facilities.CGIAR Visiting ScientistsThis program would be open to scientist working in national programs or universities with a good trackrecord in their area of research, but limited international experience. The idea is that the VisitingScientists would be hosted for 6-12 months with a CRP (either CGIAR member center or CRP partnerwith appropriate lab facilities) and return to their employer thereafter Visiting Scientist Fellows wouldhave to be nominated by their employer, with support of their employer (e.g. maintaining their nationallevel salaries) and would be supported by the CGIAR through a living and travel allowance, and possiblya research costs allowance (i.e. not a regular employment package).CGIAR Scientists at LargeThis program would be open to CGIAR senior scientists to spend time as visiting scholars at existingresearch or academic partner organizations broadening their research perspectives in benefit of the SRFor addressing specific key problems of the CRP. The partner organization would host the CGIAR scientistfor 6-12 months to undertake cross-disciplinary research, to acquire new expertise or skills currentlybeyond the current CGIAR proficiencies or to work collaboratively addressing a particular key researchquestion(s) that is/are relevant to one or more CRPs or to achieve the SLOs of the SRF.Preliminary Operational IdeasAfter feedback and consultation on this preliminary proposal, presuming there is positive feedback, thetwo/three programs could be started up as experimental or pilot programs in 2013. This would requiredeveloping and agreeing the harmonized employment conditions in the second half of 2012, and findingcountries / partners interested to participate in the program.Initially CIRAD has expressed an interest to establish a joint PostDoc and Visiting Scientist program –sarting with 5 PostDocs and 5 Visiting Scientists in 2013. EMBRAPA has expressed a possible interest in ajoint PostDoc program with potentially 20 PostDocs initially. The Netherlands has also expressed adesire to re-negotiate its current center-based APO or junior expert program (with 4 CGIAR membercenters) into a CGIAR wide program through the Consortium (currently some 20 junior experts placed).Even though this note presumes “sponsorship” by a few countries, it is worth noting that the youngprofessional program operated by the Netherlands, for example, is comprised of developing countrynationals, EU nationals and Dutch nationals (and the current group of about 20 placed with the CGIARincludes 12 originating from developing countries and only 4 Dutch nationals).It is expected other countries may find this attractive also.Operationally it could work as follows (for both the PostDoc and the Visiting Scientist Fellows): 6
  7. 7. 1. The national program or partner with an interest to join the CGIAR PostDoc and Visiting Scientist Program and the Consortium negotiate conditions (number of positions, matching or complementary costs carried by the Consortium, funded from Window 1 and proposed as part of the annual Financing Plan).2. Partners accept the harmonized set of employment or hosting conditions (to be) developed by the Consortium and its members so that all CGIAR Fellows get treated fairly and equitably, regardless of the country that sponsors them or the CRP/center/partner that employs them.3. Development of a selection and employment/hosting process in steps that could involve: a. Aligning areas of interest or priorities between sponsors or partners and the CRP portfolio. b. Developing annual or bi-annual calls for proposals (job descriptions) from CRPs or ARIs for PostDocs or Visiting Scientists they would like to host. c. Joint selection by the Consortium and partners of the positions to be (jointly) funded. d. Recruitment and selection of candidates for selected positions jointly by partners and the Consortium; e. Fellowships awarded for PostDocs and Visiting scientists. f. Regular reporting, monitoring and evaluation by the Consortium in collaboration with partners4. Twice per year the CGIAR runs an induction / training program for new Fellows. 7

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