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Working with diversity in international partnerships -- The GCP experience -- J-M Ribaut


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Working with diversity in international partnerships -- The GCP experience -- J-M Ribaut

  1. 1. Working with Diversity in International Partnerships: The GCP Experience Jean-Marcel Ribaut Limagrain Annual Meeting Faro, January 23, 2013
  2. 2. Our Discussion Today: The CGIAR GCP: Overall presentation The GCP partnership Examples and clear added value Challenges and opportunities Conclusion and perspectives IBP portal (if time allows….)
  3. 3. The CGIAR
  4. 4. Formerly the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research A strategic partnership dedicated to advancing science to address the central development challenges of our time:  Reducing rural poverty  Improving food security  Improving nutrition and health  Sustainably managing natural resources • • • • • • • Founders: Rockefeller and Ford Foundations (1960s) Today its research is carried out by 15 International Agricultural Research Centers Close collaboration with hundreds of partners worldwide. Recently concluded major reform (Consortium and Fund Offices) 16 CGIAR Research Programmes (CRPs) Budget: about 1 billion per year (mainly public funds) Key achievement: Norman Borlaug: The green revolution
  5. 5. CGIAR Centres and Locations
  6. 6. The Generation Challenge Programme (GCP)
  7. 7. GCP in Brief Launched in August 2003 10-year framework (2004–2008; 2009–2013) About US$15–17m annual budget CGIAR donors (DFID, EC, SDC, USAID, WB) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Target areas: Harsh drought-prone environments Africa (SSA), S & SE Asia, LA Nine CGIAR mandate crops in Phase II Cereals: maize, rice, sorghum, wheat, Legumes: beans, chickpeas, cowpeas, groundnuts Roots and tubers: cassava A CGIAR Challenge Programme hosted at CIMMYT Main objective: To use genetic diversity and advanced plant science to improve crops for greater food security in the developing world GCP: A broker in plant science bridging the gap between upstream and applied science
  8. 8. The Two Phases of the Programme Phase 1 (2004–2008): A combination of commissioned and competitive projects „Opportunistic‟ and high project turnover Establishing the GCP community Identifying the winners and opportunities for Phase II Phase 2 (2009–2014): Mid-term activities Focused and targeted research Major effort in service development Clear impact indicators by 2013 to evaluate success A needs and bottom-up approach: Research and services 2014: the year of transition and closure
  9. 9. A Molecular Breeding Platform to Support Breeding in the South Overall objective ♦ To provide access to modern breeding technologies, breeding material and related information in a centralised and functional manner to improve plant breeding efficiency in developing countries. Short-term objective ♦ To establish a minimum set of tools, data management infrastructure and services to demonstrate that molecular breeding can be efficiently applied to six crops spread across 14 user cases Multilateral funding for an overall budget of US$ 20m over 5 years (launched mid-2009) Mainly Gates, DFID, EC
  10. 10. Selected Major Outputs so Far 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 Aluminium tolerance, P uptake efficiency, Salt tolerance Improved germplasm New bioinformatic tools for data management and MB Enhanced capacities for MB in NARS programmes Human capacities / Local infrastructure / Analytical power Ex-ante analyses on MB impact in developing countries Product catalogue available at:
  11. 11. The GCP Partnership
  12. 12. GCP Network Instituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare Florence Italy BIOTEC Wageningen University Bangkok Netherlands Thailand ICARDA ETH Aleppo Zurich Syria Switzerland John Innes Centre Norwich UK IPGRI Rome Italy Agropolis Montpellier France Cornell University USA INRA Rabat Morocco CINVESTAV Irapuato Mexico CIMMYT Mexico City Mexico Partners NIAS Tsukuba Japan WARDA Bouaké Cote d’Ivore CIAT Cali Colombia 9 CGIAR 6 ARIs Consortium 7 NARS IRRI Los Baños Philippines EMBRAPA Brasilia Brazil CIP Lima Peru ACGT Pretoria South Africa ICAR New Delhi India IITA Ibadan Nigeria CAAS Beijing China ICRISAT Patancheru India
  13. 13. The GCP Network: 180+ Institutions Germplasm Breeding Private sector Technology CGIAR Private sector Products/Impact Farmer’s field ARIs NARS Germplasm Environments NGOs Needs
  14. 14. Building Partnership: The Dynamics Competitive grants Capture emerging opportunities, best ideas and new partners. US$ 200/500K, 2/3 years (renewable) Commissioned projects Consolidate our research agenda Medium- to long-term projects Project composition ARI, CG and NARS involved together projects (a must for competitive ones) At least 10% CB 10% data management (late in the game) GCP fund allocation per kind of project over time Competitive Commissioned 10 years Services
  15. 15. True Partnership Indicators Money allocation to partners Significant in-kind contribution from partners Project teams find money outside GCP Partners continue to work together after GCP project ends Free exchange of information Partners not necessarily attracted (purely) by money, but to be part of a network Critical but indispensable intangibles – trust and goodwill Evolution of roles and responsibilities A switch: Leaders become mentors Knowledge applied & transferred: Trainees become doers & leaders Today, more than half of our PIs are from developing countries and more than half the grants go directly to National Programmes It takes time and resources to nurture and implement true partnership!
  16. 16. CoPs: the concept They seek help from each other when stuck They record what they learn together They share approaches that have worked for them None of this is new, but it often happens informally and/or inefficiently How do communities share & create knowledge? They draw lessons together from their experiences They tip and alert each other They explore topics together
  17. 17. Why CoPs in GCP?  Added value: Improves knowledge sharing, and knowledge travels further Helping, and being helped by, peers Mentoring the next generation at global level Access to new tools, technologies, funds Synergy from shared lessons and resources  Establishing partnership Access to a broad panel of scientists Diversify sources of funding Have direct and locally relevant impact (ground level) Develop ownership, while also spreading benefits Proof of concept carried to implementation, with local adaptations along the way Social network
  18. 18. International Partnerships: Examples of clear Added Value
  19. 19. The Power of Grouping Forces From the GCP External Review (2008) The panel noted that GCP community is one of the Programme‟s crucial assets: “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.”
  20. 20. The Power of Pooling Expertise Linking upstream with applied science The sorghum case: From Cornell 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 screeed 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 Moi University in collaboration with EMBRAPA Introgression of favourable alleles – Improved germplasm for Kenya and Niger
  21. 21. The Power of working across Countries The Cassava CoP An active community to empower National Programmes to access and use new germplasm and technologies Component 1: Access to new alleles Germplasm exchange across South America and East Africa (IITA, a key partner here) Component 2: Strengthening the research community in Africa Countries involved: Nigeria (leader), Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda Another 9 countries added in 2012 Component 3: Visibility at international scene Eg, Nigeria‟s National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) now a key partner in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation breeding projects, resulting from GCP project Participate in marker development and sequencing effort Component 4: Government support Attracting federal funds to enhance infrastructure at NRCRI
  22. 22. The Power of Including Service Providers Developing Genomic Resources for CGIAR/GCP Mandate Crops Availability of resources has shown by „+‟ sign as following: „+‟ = basic, „++‟= moderate, „+++‟= good, „++++‟= excellent. „+‟ sign in blue colour and bold face represents contribution of genomic resources from GCP while „+‟ in black color represents developed/available genomic resources in public domain Varshney R et al 2010. Trends in Biotechnology
  23. 23. International Partnerships: Challenges and Opportunities
  24. 24. Be Inclusive, but it’s a trade-off…. Global rationale Accessing the diversity: The reference sets (A GCP initiative) Various collections Data collection, Analysis Step 1: from passport information, sampling global resources to produce a core sample Representative composite sample (10%, up to 3000) Marker development Genotyping, Sampling Step 2: from molecular data sampling the core sample to produce a reference sample for integrated characterisation and evaluation efforts Reference sample Anonymous markers Functional markers Phenotyping Step 3. Association studies  Genotyping genes/alleles tagged for marker-assisted breeding
  25. 25. Development of „core reference set‟ for CGIAR mandate crops
  26. 26. Outputs of that Multi-partner Effort Results Very heterogeneous fingerprinting data (different machines/protocols, etc) Very poor data quality Difficulty to obtain data with suitable documentation Limited access of germplasm from National Programme partners Mitigation steps Need to redevelop some biological material (single seed descent) Quality test for fingerprinting data by neutral lab New genotyping of reference sets by service lab Lessons learnt Involve partners much earlier on in the design of the experiment Do not share genotyping across teams Do not spend too much time trying to correct the data (Sudoku) Subcontract for efficiency: include service providers early on No ideal approach…….
  27. 27. Data Management One of our major challenges but not unique to GCP… Difficult to finish the work (time, resources) Protective and proprietary attitude prevents data sharing: Not enough time Need to publish first Just bad data quality…. Limited adoption of new tools (eg, electronic Field Book), yet we cannot impose in the public sector… Quality and documentation are very variable Quality control implementation must start at the scientist level Retroactive quality control very challenging and expensive Clear DM policy in place (contract, 20% budget retained) Good data management system in place Central data repository concept: a mistake M&E of data publication can be very challenging Change in mind-set: from institutional to corporative
  28. 28. Communication – the usual stuff Most of our communications are virtual. Hugely cost-effective, but also presents some cons:  Different time zones, poor internet connectivity  Different cultures, which also confer different meanings to the same words and concepts  Typically short: but short is not always communicative, can be perceived as terse  Virtual communication (emails, online meetings) are easy to ignore vs in-person or physically co-located environment  Personalities – some are incompatible or uncomfortable with virtual communications Language barrier: Communicating in languages other than English – China; francophone and lusophone Africa
  29. 29. Communication – the less usual New media: Blogs and microblogs – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc  Are they good or bad for science?  Are key people we‟d like to reach engaged?  Will our scientists engage?  Are new rules of engagement needed…    … on personal vs corporate communications? … on how staff share their personal opinions, eg, on GMOs? The new media are social media:    They are interactive They are not a „preaching pulpit‟ from which to talk down to audiences They require even greater segmenting of audiences and messages  What do we want to say, to whom, why, for what effect, when, and how?
  30. 30. Stewardship Every GCP project must be conducted with a very clear vision of what the products are, and who are the potential users: delivery plans In the public sector, delivery chains typically build on complex international partnerships Exploration of diversity Genomic resources development Marker development (biotic/abiotic stresses) Seed multiplication Breeding Seed distribution Germplasm collections Resource-poor farmers Generation Challenge Programme NARS, Foundations, Private sector, NGOs You do not control all the steps in the delivery chain! Liability Misuse of the products down the road (GMOs) No respect for IP rights Weak, unreliable or unstable partners down the chain High risk of you having reduced, or zero, impact in farmers‟ fields Everyone shares success, but you will be alone in the dock, to answer for failures
  31. 31. The Public Sector Partnership in public sector not always bright!!! Claims vs the reality: Very significant effort to build, promote and implement partnership Extensive partnership in most public efforts (websites, proposals, etc) But different realities, with some time limited responsibility and even more limited resource-sharing Difficult to manage: Expertise and strengths/niche not always well defined Expectations and rules can be weak („friendship‟ agreements) IP rights might be difficult to implement (germplasm exchange with NARS) The human component: Over-commitment at all levels (champions in the NARS) In general, scientists are quite individualistic (motivated by the mission and task, but not necessarily by the Institution) The issues Competition for funds and visibility Lack of clarity and coordination from funding agencies; capricious and conflicting agendas
  32. 32. The Potential of PPP Limited number of partners Generally no more than 2–3 partners Focused project, with added value clearly identified beforehand Rules of the game, including IP, well defined from day one Difficult to establish, but easy to implement thereafter, once defined and agreed upon by all parties More opportunities Access to new markets: Increased private-sector interest in developing countries Private sector becomes more and more open (knowledge and processes [savoir-faire] more important the the technology or the tool per se) Corporate social responsibility & smart public relations: projects a good public image Increase probability of accessing public funds, and public goodwill Proof of concept for technology transfer and adoption Key in product delivery and stewardship (eg, local SME)
  33. 33. PPP in GCP: Examples Improve sorghum productivity in semi-arid environments of Mali through integrated MARS Led by breeders from the Malian National Programme (Niaba Teme) Mentor and supervisor from CIRAD (Jean-François Rami) Technical support from Syngenta (Denis Lespinasse) Scientific and Management Advisory Committee of the IBP       Science and partnership: Tabare Abadie, Senior Research Manager, Pioneer Hi-Bred CB and support services: Fred Bliss, former Senior Director of R&D, Seminis Breeding services: Pascal Flament, Head, Genotyping and Biostatistics, Limagrain Molecular breeding: Michel Ragot, Head, Vegetable Molecular Breeding, Syngenta Bioinformatics and data management: Steve Goff, iPlant Project Director Network and partnership: Morakot Tanticharoen (former Director of National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Thailand)  Identify the gaps and weaknesses  What works, but also what doesn‟t work  Reality check: What is too ambitious
  34. 34. Conclusions and Perspectives
  35. 35. Conclusions and Perspectives (1) The importance of people: it‟s a well-oiled cliché but– people are the most important aspect in partnerships People are first, and Institutions are second Building on existing partnerships, maximising personal relations A ‘spiritual’ dimension too: The intangible and immeasurable but very important side to partnerships Some of our researchers and reviewers have called it the „GCP Spirit‟ It is also about mind-set, ready to: Change the way you do business Share results/methods in an open way Dedicate time to things that might not benefit your work directly Adopt a corporative spirit Enforcement and implementation Big difference between the private and the public sector
  36. 36. Conclusions and Perspectives (2) Be strategic in partnership development Much more than simply numbers, no universal „template‟: Different kinds of partnerships for different needs Different kinds of partnership for the same need 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 way to do business One of the most rewarding components of the work Creates a special group dynamic Critical to bring new ideas The best way to promote your work others speak well of you cultivates public trust, resultant positive public image without any PR effort
  37. 37. Be prepared  In research Hofstadter’s law applies quite often: “it always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law” Under international partnership the Hofstadter’s law is generally magnified, to the power of 2, or even more…. (“it always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter„s Law”)2
  38. 38. GCP People: The Programme’s Greatest Asset!
  39. 39. IBP Home Page 5 minutes live demo

Editor's Notes

  • Consortium of 15 International Agricultural Research Centers that operate in over 150 locations world wide. Expenditures: Subsaharan 47%, Asia 34%,Lamerica 12% CWANA (Central and West Asia and North Africa) 8%,Formed in 2010 as part of reform of the CGIAR, 2011 celebrating 40 years, some centers 50.Consortium Office established in Montpellier, France in March 2011.Primary organization with a global public mandate and funding for scientific research to find solutions eradicating poverty and hunger at global scale.
  • Slide than can replace slide from 15 to 19