Research for development
Our mission is to enhance food security and improve livelihoods in Africa through research-for-development (R4D). IITA's R4D model proves effective in setting a research course that addresses major development problems in Africa rather than simply contributing to scientific knowledge, say external reviews. IITA and partners have delivered the bulk (70%) of the international research impact in SSA in the last three decades. The R4D model is unique in that (1) it focuses on long-term development needs to guide our research design and choice of partners; and (2) it incorporates two critical elements absent in traditional models: a mid-process initial research-outcome and an explicit EXIT-strategy for IITA.
We group all our R4D projects and activities under the following programs (links also on the left):
Agriculture and Health, Agro-biodiversity, Banana and Plantain Systems, Cereals and Legumes Systems, Horticulture and Tree Systems, Root and Tubers Systems, Opportunities and Threats, and System-wide Program on Integrated Pest Management (SP-IPM)
IITA's Research-for-Development Model
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R4D model in words
- Development needs: Identifies societal, producer and consumer needs that require addressing. Guarantees research relevance.
- Research: Specifies research problems that can be addressed by IITA with advanced research institutes and national partners. The design demands envisioning the potential impact.
- Research impact: Defines scalable research outcomes and any advocacy activities required. A successful outcome entices partners to adoption.
- EXIT: Once the outcome is embraced by national/regional partners IITA exits implementation and changes role to monitoring the IITA research outcomes in the subsequent stages of development outputs and outcomes.
- Success/Development impact: Ex-post evaluations are carried and compared to baseline information to measure the impact on the ultimate beneficiaries.
- Further work: Development impact creates new challenges which are referred back to development needs.
In response to specific development needs, we work with research and development partners to deliver research outputs that are achieving an initial outcome. We then use this research outcome to excite and attract more partners who will ultimately have to take charge of the upscaling and out-scaling of the technologies by broadening participation and increasing the chances of success and ultimate development impact. Therefore, we gradually phase out and devolve our functions to these partners until we exit entirely from the program. It is this latter constituency of development agents, not us, which delivers the final and larger desired outcome that addresses the initially-identified development needs.
- Global: Cowpea, Soybean, Banana, Plantain, and Yam
- Sub-Saharan Africa: Cassava and Maize
Innovative Partnerships (new partners and new ways)
Supporting agricultural innovation systems requires new roles for, and closer cooperation and the development of effective partnerships between, research, development and extension actors, farmer organizations, NGOs, the private sector, and governments. IITA is committed to working with whomever it takes to get the job done. In particular, IITA is committed to forging closer links with ARIs, NARES, and the private sectors that are eager to contribute to high quality R4D, commercialisation and market development activities in TA. IITA is committed to strengthen relation with decision-makers and to engage them in the process of developing achievable development objectives and implementation strategies for TA.