Knowledge for a sustainable world

Development Programme:
Capacity Strengthening for Agricultural Development and Food Security

Selected current projects:

Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems.

The project aims at making agricultural innovation systems more efficient and sustainable in meeting the demands of farmers, agri-business and consumers, taking into account the different dimensions of capacity development (individuals, organizations, enabling environment) as well as functional and technical capacities. The project is funded by the European Commission and is jointly implemented by Agrinatura, a consortium of 30 European Universities and Research Institutes in 16 countries, and FAO. CDAIS is being piloted in 8 countries, including Bangladesh and Rwanda for which NRI is coordinating inputs from Agrinatura.

Climate Impact Research Capacity Leadership Enhancement

The programme is developing the skills and research output of early career African researchers in the field of climate change and its impacts, through a unique programme of exchanges between African institutions. It is also working with institutions to develop a coordinated and strategic approach to supporting early career researchers. NRI identifies and provides, from its own staff and from partners in UK and around the world, international specialists to work with CIRCLE Fellows, their mentors and supervisors. The programme is funded by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and managed by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the African Academy of Sciences.

Bihar Agriculture Growth and Reform Initiative

The programme seeks to significantly enhance the performance of the agriculture sector in Bihar by improving access to markets for selected agriculture and horticulture products, access to finance, knowledge and technology, and institutional capacity for market regulation. In the inception phase NRI coordinated a capacity needs assessment for research organizations and has conducted training workshops for staff at Bihar Agricultural University to strengthen the capacity of the University to engage in multi-stakeholder research and development. This is a technical assistance programme funded by FCDO and managed by PwC India.

Social and environmental trade-offs in African agriculture

The project aims to understand the challenges, trade-offs and synergies inherent in increasing agricultural production in Africa while safeguarding vital ecosystem services and promoting social equality.  Researchers in the UK and Africa are being supported to investigate sustainable development challenges using interdisciplinary approaches to ensure greater impact.  NRI staff are contributing to building the capacity of teams and individuals to co-develop cutting edge and applicable research as well as to identify and address capacity gaps in institutions and organisational systems. This will ensure that research is relevant and builds on existing knowledge, and that researchers are well connected, motivated and rewarded.  The project is led by the International Institute for Environment and Development and funded though the UK Global Challenges Research Fund.

Strengthening Quality Assurance Systems for the World Food Programme’s Food Assistance Supply Chain

NRI is providing support to The World Food Programme (WFP) to help it strengthen its food safety and quality management of complex supply chains.  WFP operates in extremely challenging environments and must enable access by vulnerable groups to safe food of the right type at the right time.  This requires close and long-standing partnerships with national agencies.  NRI is helping to strengthen the capacities of these partners by reviewing current systems, products and procedures across the whole supply chain and by conducting training in a range of countries in Africa.   Lessons learned from the reviews and capacity strengthening activities are being incorporated into a quality assurance manual for WFP food safety and quality management systems.



Recently completed projects:

Understanding knowledge systems and what works to promote science technology and innovation in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda (2018-2020)

The project aims to develop an understanding of knowledge systems and what works to promote Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in three African countries: Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Although the need to invest in STI capability in low and middle-income countries is widely accepted, there is limited evidence on the most effective ways to do this.  Following an initial scoping study a conceptual framework to analyse knowledge systems in each county is being developed. This will be followed by robust mapping of the three country knowledge systems and an analysis of the evidence of what works and what does not. The findings will be used to inform recommended interventions to promote transformative knowledge systems. The project, which is funded by FCDO, is led by NRI in partnership with the University of Sussex, the African Centre for Technology Studies and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Blog posts about the project: 

Final KSI  report

KSI Project brief

Kenya brief

Rwanda brief

Tanzania brief

The GDN paper presented in December 2019

Platform for African-European Partnerships for Agricultural Research for Development (2011-2018).

The PAEPARD project facilitated collaboration between African and European ARD actors, including civil society organisations and the private sector. Capacities of the different actors to engage in demand-led multi-stakeholder research were strengthened. The project developed a mechanism which gave research users a central role in the research process. PAEPARD was led by the Forum for Agricultural Research for Africa in association with Agrinatura and is funded by the European Commission.

Catalyzing the Adoption and Use of Scalable Technologies in Africa (2014-2017).

The project worked to stimulate agricultural innovation processes in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Togo by creating a more effective and efficient knowledge exchange among the value chain actors. NRI designed e-learning courses on the Moodle platform for technical training of scientists, technicians, field staff, extension agents and young professionals. The project was led by the Africa Rice Center and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany.

Enhancing Capacity for Agricultural Research and Training in Gulu University (2012-2016).

The project increased individual and organisational capacity for teaching, research and outreach for the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at Gulu University. NRI assisted the Faculty to develop training programmes in postharvest management, value addition and food processing. The project was led by the International Centre for Research-Oriented Agriculture in the Netherlands and funded through the NICHE programme of the Netherlands government.