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Lessons learnt from the GCP experience – J-M Ribaut


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Presentation at the CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council meeting in March 2014 by the GCP Director, Jean-Marcel Ribaut.

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Lessons learnt from the GCP experience – J-M Ribaut

  1. 1. Jean-Marcel Ribaut ISPC Meeting 13th March 2014 Washington DC, USA Lessons Learnt from the GCP Experience
  2. 2. Our Discussion Today: ♦ Introduction to the GCP ♦ Major achievements ♦ External review ♦ The transition strategy ♦ Lessons learnt ♦ The legacy ♦ Perspectives and conclusion
  3. 3. The 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) ♦ About US$15–17m annual budget ♦ Target geographies: 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. Technology Germplasm Breeding Needs CGIAR ARIs Products/Impact Farmer’s field NARS NGOs Private sector Germplasm Environments The GCP Network: 180+ Institutions Private sector
  6. 6. GCP Network 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
  7. 7. Phase II
  8. 8. Executive Board + GCP Director Theme Leaders Product Delivery Leader + Governance ManagementTeam Consortium Committee(CC) Scientific Committees Review and Advisory Panel (RAP) Theme 1 Comparative & Applied Genomics Theme 2 Integrated Crop Breeding Theme 3 Crop Information Systems Theme 4 Capacity Building Theme 5 Product Delivery Research teams Research teams Research teams Research teams Research teams Product Delivery Coordinators Advisory (Operational /Scientific) Advisory (Project monitoring /management ) Governance and Management – 2008 to the present
  9. 9. 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 initiative
  10. 10. Selected key achievements
  11. 11. ♦ 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 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
  12. 12. ♦ 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 NARS 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
  13. 13. Peer Reviewed Publications 5 25 51 57 68 78 73 90 32 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Journal articles published: 2005‒2013 Year Number In selected high impact journals (2007-2013): • Nature: 5, Nature Biotech: 3 • Nature Genetics: 2, PNAS: 8
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. “Classic” Approach ♦ Formal postgraduate training programmes ♦ 100+ MSc and PhD students 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 – uniquely GCP ♦ CB à la carte ♦ Integrated Breeding Multi-Year Course: Breeding, Data Mgt, Data Analysis ♦ CB along the delivery chain (scientists, technicians, station managers ♦ Technical support for infrastructure implementation ♦ Some thoughts on who to train ♦ Balance across generation-expertise Capacity Building
  16. 16. External Review
  17. 17. The Overall Context ♦ Recommended by the GCP MT and Executive Board ♦ Under the leadership of the CGIAR Independent Evaluation Arrangement (IEA) ♦ A team of five ♦ 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 2 survey: ♦ Programme evaluation: stakeholders ♦ Governance and management: selected audience ♦ We are at the stage of factual revision ♦ 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”
  18. 18. EPMR Stakeholder: Respondent Composition: Developing- country partner(national programme), 28.7% Developing- country partner (University), 8.3% CGIAR Centre, 31.2% Developed- country partner, 22.3% Private sector, 1.9% Other, 7.6%  Online survey  November, 2013  159 responses  Response rate:42%
  19. 19. Assessment of GCP’s overall performance from EPMR 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
  20. 20. Transition strategy
  21. 21. Transition Principles (2010) Overall ♦ GCP remains committed to the plan at its inception to end by 2013-14 ♦ In order that the programme is able to achieve its overall objectives and for which activities are based on previous investments, commitments and achievements, it will be critical that it remain a coherent entity until 2013 Service ♦ The Genomics and Integrated Breeding Service is designed to be sustained past GCP’s ‘sunset’ Research ♦ Working together with crop MP leaders, the research components will be included and described in their MP proposals, and integrated in their respective logframes GCP research projects were hence included in the commodity CRP workplans in Phase I (a bit artificial…..)
  22. 22. I Research  Genetic stocks: Almost Done  Management of the Genetic Stocks input on the Trust CRP  Genomic resources: Done  Revolution with what we called in the past the “Orphan crops”  Informative molecular markers: Done  Accessible, easy to use  Cloned genes: Done  Accessible, easy to use  Molecular breeding: Almost done  Improved germplasm to be converted into varieties II Integrated Breeding Platform III Capacity building services and Training Materials IV Community and knowledge sharing  GCP scientific and social network  GCP institutional memory Transition implementation (2012): GCP Components
  23. 23.  Each of the nine component-specific Position Papers is designed to contribute to GCP’s orderly closure in 2014 by considering the following three questions: 1. What ‘assets’ will be completed by the end of GCP’s lifetime in December 2014? 2. What ‘assets’ can best continue as integral components of the CRPs or elsewhere? 3. What ‘assets’ may not fit within existing institutions or programmes and may require alternative implementation mechanisms for completion and perpetuation?  The papers were drafted in July–August 2012, externally reviewed by stakeholders in September 2012, and endorsed by the GCP governance bodies at the end of 2012.  The nine component papers plus one overall paper are available at: Transition implementation (2012): The position papers
  24. 24. Programme Closure Working Group 2013- 14: Terms of Reference  Propose a closure action plan for GCP, with respect to:  Pre- and post-closure communication to funders, partners and collaborators  Ongoing operational activities  Transfer of research activities post-closure  Staff retention to closure  Post-closure legal obligations – IP, contracts with collaborators and service providers  Management of assets  Post-closure financial obligations  Monitor the implementation of the closure action plan  Make appropriate reports to the Executive Board and the GCP Consortium Committee
  25. 25. Lessons learnt
  26. 26. Key Learning Areas ♦ Governance ♦ Scientific Management ♦ Monitoring and evaluation ♦ Selecting research projects ♦ Linking upstream research with applied science ♦ Partnership ♦ Adoption and behaviour change ♦ Research leadership ♦ Product delivery ♦ Programme closure and transition
  27. 27. 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 (e.g GCP’s IP Committee) Accountability must be clarified first!
  28. 28. Monitoring and evaluation Issue: ♦ Inadequate research management capacity early in GCP’s life 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 leaders ♦ Separate the planning and implementation from ♦ Stand-alone M&E component Of course good management capacity and practices have a cost and therefore efficiency needs to be considered carefully
  29. 29. Scientific 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 to: ♦ Bring new ideas on board and develop strong partnership ♦ Increase research quality and efficiency ♦ Adjust research activities based on external environment ♦ New technology, partner, opportunity for synergy, etc ♦ Allow easily to stop un-successful projects But ♦ Must be around a specific research topic ♦ Can only exist with the support of well established Institutions ♦ Ideally focused and time-bound ♦ Excellent complement of core activities
  30. 30. ♦ Competitive grants ♦ Do not necessarily fit well in your research priorities (dead-end projects) ♦ Capture emerging opportunities, best ideas and new partners ♦ Increase research quality ♦ Commissioned projects ♦ Not always good value for money, less transparent ♦ Consolidates our research agenda ♦ Very efficient when it builds on a successful competitive project Different kind of research: the dynamics Competitive Commissioned Services 10 years $
  31. 31. From Cornell’s lab to African farmers’ fields with a stopover in Brazil: a ten-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 germplasm Clear benefits from linking upstream research with applied science
  32. 32. A possible model for some suitable research activities within a CRP? Competitive and commissioned approaches each have pros and cons but to combine them over time to achieve a specific objective can be extremely powerful! ♦ Phase I (More competitive) ♦ Build the community ♦ Identify the flagship projects and the champions ♦ Phase II (More commissioned) ♦ Refine the agenda based on Phase I outputs ♦ Do the balk part of the job ♦ Phase III (commissioned and services) ♦ Product Deployment ♦ Support services
  33. 33. ♦ Be strategic in partnership development ♦ The importance of people ♦ People are first, and Institutions are second ♦ Building on existing partnerships, maximising on personal relations ♦ Be selective, and cautious ♦ Can easily get out of hand, can be a distraction ♦ Plan for it, and do not underestimate effort needed: ♦ managing true partnerships takes time and resources!!! ♦ But, if managed well: ♦ One of the most efficient and effective ways to do business ♦ One of the most rewarding components of the work ♦ Creates a special group dynamic and bring new ideas ♦ Cultivates public trust, with the resultant positive public image Not every project is conducted most efficiently through partnership! Partnership: important to keep in mind
  34. 34. The risk of being too inclusive! Two extremely challenging projects: 1. Development and genotyping of references set collection ♦ Too many partners involved (across and within teams) ♦ Limited buy-in ♦ Different technologies to produce comparable data ♦ Poor quality data and ignorance of standards ♦ Job done at the end through centralized service, under a single PI and with close supervision on the development of genetic stocks 2. Coding of the IBP tools ♦ Too many teams ♦ Difference styles, with limited respect for the rules ♦ Not the core competence of centres and universities ♦ Delays in delivery, and often poor quality ♦ Tasks eventually transferred to a professional service provider, Efficio LLC, with good results However, all these course corrections came at a significant cost in both time and resources!
  35. 35. ♦ Most people are reluctant or resistant to change ♦ Even people who are interested often do not allocate the time and resources to do it ♦ Even where there are clear benefits from making a change, this 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 behavior: A real challenge in technology transfer
  36. 36. Leadership transfer: A challenging objective Capacity-building vital for leadership transfer ♦ Must be comprehensive – spanning entire spectrum from human resources (PhDs, short-course training, technician training) to equipment & infrastructure ♦ Must be customised and goal-oriented: ♦ One size does not fit all ‒ Phase I: open-call CB à la carte; fellowships ♦ But internal focus is a plus ‒ Phase II: project-based graduate studies (as defined within the GCP-funded project), IBMYC + assessment to determine if trainee advances to the next year or not ♦ That developing-country partners are now leading GCP projects, with CGIAR and developed country partners in supporting roles, with corresponding budget shifts has been a major achievement! However, it is not desirable for all projects and/or with all partners and not everybody wants to become a leader…..
  37. 37. Product Delivery ♦ Research product delivery pathways should be defined right at project conception ♦ Include clear identification of research product users and impact assessment parameters ♦ Should also describe product sustainability, access and dissemination mechanisms
  38. 38. Other challenges Operational ♦ Keeping key partners aligned with the overall shared objective(s) ♦ Prioritization and resource allocation ♦ The two bosses and part time boss syndrome ♦ 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
  39. 39. Perspectives
  40. 40. Research activities: Integration into CRPs GCP Research Initiative CRP in which embedded 1. Cassava Roots, Tubers and Bananas 2. Rice Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) 3. Sorghum Dryland Cereals 4. Legumes Grain Legumes (TLIII project) 5. Maize MAIZE 6. Wheat WHEAT 7. Comparative genomics (sorghum, rice, maize) Sorghum: Al tolerance in sorghum embedded in Dryland Cereals CRP Rice: Al tolerance in rice embedded in Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) CRP Maize: Al tolerance in maize embedded in MAIZE CRP ♦ Some unfinished activities to be hosted in the CRP ♦ Promising project to be extended if there is a fit with the overall objectives ♦ CRP Directors involved in the transition process
  41. 41. The IBP will survive the GCP ♦ A proposal currently under development to be submitted to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in a couple of months ♦ Proposed project duration: 5 years (2014-2019), 12M US$ ♦ Overarching objective: To improve the efficiency of plant breeding programmes in developing countries by enabling plant breeders to access modern breeding technologies, breeding materials and related information in a centralised, integrated and practical manner ♦ Integration in a larger initiative? The Integrated Breeding Platform: Moving into Phase II
  42. 42. BMS: THE Core Product of the IBP  10 crop-specific databases with historical data: Bean, cassava, chickpea, cowpea, groundnut, maize, rice, sorghum, soya and wheat  Up next will be: barley, lentil, potato and sweet potato  Empty DB available for all crops  Revised phenotyping DB schema: Chado Natural Diversity Module The Breeding Management System (BMS) Breeding Activities Parental selection Crossing Population development Germplasm Management Open Project Specify objectives Identify team Data resources Define strategy Project Planning Experimental Design Fieldbook production Data collection Data loading Germplasm Evaluation Marker selection Fingerprinting Genotyping Data loading Molecular Analysis Quality Assurance Trait analysis Genetic Analysis QTL Analysis Index Analysis Data Analysis Selected lines Recombines Recombination plans Breeding Decisions Version 2 released in January 31, 2014
  43. 43. Tools&Services Support Services: Genotyping, Sequencing, Omics, QA/QC, Logistics, Field trials, Mechanization, Seed logistic Business plan, Financing Capacity building – Social Networks Analytical tools: Association, allelic mining, statistical, modeling, breeding decision, Mgt. Partners Implemented Breeding QC & Seed Production Seed Delivery Pre-Breeding Breeding Diversity Access • Genebanks CRP • SEEDSEQ • ARCAD Phase 2 • Crop Diversity Trust • NARS GeneBanks • Commodity CRPs • Seed of Discovery • Genetic gains (Gates) • IBP Central Unit • IBP Regional Hubs • Commodity CRPs • BeCA • Multinational • IBP Reg. Hubs • System CRPs • Commodity CRPs • BeCA • AGRA/PASS • Seed QC SMEs • System CRPs • Commodity CRPs • AGRA/PASS • Planet Finance • ICRA • SupAgro, Sup Co A Value Chain Support Service CRP for Increased Seed Delivery Data sharing: Data bases and data management
  44. 44. Conclusions
  45. 45. 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
  46. 46. Conclusions ♦ Difficult to measure impact at this stage but overall it seems that GCP has been a successful venture! ♦ Major achievements have probably been around: ♦ Establishment of true partnership with cultural change on how to run R4D projects ♦ Several flagship projects ♦ Enabling partners in developing countries to access modern biotechnologies ♦ We had also some clear shortcomings ♦ Monitoring and evaluation were the biggest shortfalls in GCP ♦ Several competitive projects were dead ends ♦ The CP research model can’t work in isolation, but is an attractive model to complement core research activities ♦ Lessons learnt from the CPs in general and GCP in particular can positively inform the CRP operational and organizational models ♦ IBP will survive GCP and can form the core part of a possible cross- cutting initiative to support commodity CRPs
  47. 47. The GCP Team
  48. 48. GCP People: The Programme’s Greatest Asset!