The Strategic Potential of Applied Research: Developing International Public Goods from Development-oriented Projects uri icon


  • International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs), like the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), are expected to conduct research that produces International Public Goods (IPGs) having wide applicability and accessibility across many countries. However, unless agricultural IPG technologies are developed in consultation with other stakeholders and adapted to suit varying local conditions, the research outputs will either not be adopted or remain underutilized. With the broader mandate of the CGIAR, increasing focus on poverty alleviation and insufficient capacity of national agricultural research systems (NARS) in most developing countries, international institutions engage in research for development to address the range of issues facing the poor in different localities. Increased attention has been placed on issues like participatory downstream research, which has been criticized for placing emphasis on local development agendas at the expense of IPG delivery. This paper addresses the need to embrace a culture of carrying out local level technology development, adaptation and adoption studies within an IPG framework. Using a review of literature as background and impact pathways analysis, it complements discussions on the concept of IPGs and spillovers. A synthesis of past ICRISAT studies reveals that lessons can be drawn to guide the framing of testable hypotheses for development-oriented work that will lead to development of IPGs. Downstream projects will thus serve as laboratories for development of solutions to increase the relevance of research and the effectiveness of diffusion strategies for ultimate achievement of impact and agricultural development

publication date

  • 2010