To prepare its future research strategy, DFID launched a public consultation exercise in 2007. This posting highlights some of the key messages on how DFID can support demand-responsive research.
Forge better links with end-users.
At the micro-level DFID should improve links with development projects which can provide valuable information to contribute to its research strategies.
Incorporating research components into development initiatives (similar to M+E, gender and communications components which are commonly embedded into development programmes) will be the most responsive way to respond to user demand at the grass roots level.
Work with ‘innovation systems’ that bring together all actors in a commodity chain to address a variety of problems. The sum of the network parts is much greater than the individual institutions … Working in such ‘networks’ seems to be a promising way to really articulate demands and connect them with capacities
Ask the “poor” people: Include the communities’ viewpoints and ideas in ALL program design
Fund alliances instead of individual organizations – encourage NGO’s to work together so as to leverage resources
“Basket funding” for our organisations will give us room for creating thinking, institutional building and research training for members of staff.
Initiate and support multi-stakeholder ‘foundations’ or similar bodies particularly existing well-established and functional councils, fora, foundations etc.
Develop a broader programmatic approach to build capacity and strategic focus for pro-development and pro-poor research within existing research institutions and with strong links to private sector i.e. build the linkages for private sector to link with research institutions to conduct research which will impact upon poor through increased sustainable economic growth.
Develop research networks and public-private partnerships. It is essential to promote the steady growth of collaborative international research networks as the principal means for mobilizing scientific talent to tackle common problems.
The multi-agency approach works if a single agency is leading on implementation i.e. funders are pooling their funds into an agreed management group, foundation or govt. department. It doesn’t work when different agencies in the multi-agency funding
arrangement have differing roles to play (which are supposedly complementary).
Research will be best implemented by professional international research institutions that have a presence in target countries and regions, and have a long history of partnering with local institutions.
There are a lot of people’s initiatives that are organized by themselves. They are not taking any help from outside. They are even self-funded. Their resource is self managed, sometimes they are using also their own indigenous knowledge. They are running well and DFID should learn how these people’s initiatives are getting implemented, how they are solving their own problems without any outside help or support, and replicate through other peoples, to other organizations. [Bangladesh]
DFID does need to improve the coordination of its research globally, nationally and within DFID itself. It needs to link research more to its development dominant projects and make use of the resources and facilities available rather than separate research initiatives that may be even implemented without the knowledge of projects and country offices.
DFID should take care not to continue its current trend of passing on higher and higher transaction costs to agencies implementing research by engaging them in lower overall budget, no overhead, highly competitive (by restricting funds from elsewhere), high contributions and too many partners in multi-stakeholder projects.
Research managed out of DFID-UK through small projects (that even country offices are not aware of) are an expensive and isolated form of research.
Download the full report (pdf format). The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa and DNet Bangladesh also provided longer contributions to this phase of the process.
To prepare its future research strategy, DFID launched a public consultation exercise in 2007.
Between August and November 2007, some 600 people responded to an online survey through the DFID web site. A further 12-question survey coordinated by Euforic mobilised a further 100 contributions as well as longer submissions from DNet Bangladesh and the Forum for African Agricultural Research. A series of face to face meetings were also held in Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
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