2017
Seeking New SPIA Chair
20 March 2017

The ISPC is seeking a qualified candidate to serve as Chair of its Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA). SPIA has a mandate to provide CGIAR members with timely, objective and credible information on the impacts at CGIAR System level of past donor investments, to provide support to and complement the CGIAR Centers in their ex post impact assessment activities, and to support the overall impact orientation of CGIAR research. View the advert here.

2016
New CGIAR Portfolio Approved
6 October 2016

At the end of September 2016, the CGIAR System Council approved a new portfolio of 11 CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) and three research Platforms, effective January 2017. 

The approval of a more coherent and integrated portfolio of second-generation CRPs was the culmination of a 1.5-year process, in which CGIAR’s Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) reviewed the CRP and platform pre-proposals, full proposals, and final revised proposals, assessing them for relevance and pro-poor impacts. The assessments, a summary table, and a cover letter are available here

ISPC Chair Maggie Gill presented an overview of the process and the assessments at the second CGIAR System Council Meeting in Mexico City on September 25, for discussion and ultimate approval by the Council. 

Science Forum 2016: 12-14 April, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
27 April 2016

Approximately 200 people gathered in Addis Ababa to participate in the 2016 Science Forum (SF16) on “Agricultural research for rural prosperity: Rethinking the pathways.” Day 1 took stock of learning, zooming in on research pathways around poverty alleviation, climate change and gender. Breakout groups looked at pathways for specific commodities. A knowledge marketplace at the ILRI campus (host to a dozen research groups and partners) gave participants opportunities to see and hear about different pathways, on the ground. Day 2 looked at different regional experiences, discussing the changing drivers and partnerships and what they mean for agricultural research. Dedicated sessions provided “deep dives” into climate change and understanding impact delivery from agricultural research. Day three brought the insights together with panels identifying take-away messages and directions for research and the challenge of getting evidence into policy use. Visit the SF16 website for news, interviews, presentations and background papers.

Workshop report - Growth corridors in African agriculture
7 February 2016

An ISPC workshop on “Corridors, Clusters, and Spatial Development Initiatives in African Agriculture” was held on 30 November 2015 as a side event of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture in Africa in close collaboration with NEPAD-CAADP and the European Centre for Development Policy Management. The workshop brought together some of the key institutions and researchers that are active on this topic, with the objectives of understanding the current state of thinking in research and policy circles, and to help define how best the ISPC might contribute through its strategic study on corridors and spatial development initiatives in African Agriculture. The workshop report is available here and the final ISPC-commissioned paper is under publication (soon available online).

New Executive Director, ISPC Secretariat
5 February 2016

The ISPC is delighted to announce the appointment of Leslie Lipper as the new Executive Director of the Secretariat. Leslie has been a senior environmental economist in the Agriculture and Development Economics Division at FAO for the past 10 years, leading a program of applied research and policy analysis related to sustainable agricultural development. Focus areas have included analytical work on seed systems, crop genetic diversity and sustainable intensification, payments for environmental services in agricultural landscapes and climate change, agriculture and food security. For the past five years Leslie has led the  Economics and Policy Innovations for Climate smart agriculture (EPIC) programme at FAO, which develops concepts, methods and country support work on climate smart agriculture. She has published extensively, and is a lead author on the FAO 2016 State of Food and Agriculture report on climate change, agriculture and food security, as well as two recent FAO reports on the topic: Climate Smart Agriculture: policies, practices and financing for food security, adaptation and mitigation (2010) and Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries: Options for Capturing Synergies (2009). Leslie holds a doctorate in Agricultural and Resource Economics (University of California at Berkeley), an M.S in International Agricultural Development (University of California at Davis) and a B.A. International Relations (UC Davis).

2015
Science Forum 2016: 12-14 April 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
26 November 2015

For 2016, in response to the new CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework having 3 SLOs, and with suggestions from the Consortium and Centers, the ISPC has selected the topic: “Agricultural research for rural prosperity: rethinking the pathways” to focus on the SLO which has not yet been addressed in a Science Forum (SF) – the contribution of agriculture to reducing poverty. The main objective of SF16 is to rethink the pathways for agricultural research to stimulate inclusive development of rural economies in an era of climate change. The Forum will marshal evidence and build on lessons learned to date, to suggest an updated list of priority research areas and approaches which involve more strategic and inclusive engagement with partners.

SF16 will be co-hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and held from 12-14 April 2016 in Addis Ababa. See the SF16 website for more details about the program and participation.

Is Rice Improvement Still Making a Difference?
20 October 2015

SPIA, through a competitive process in 2011, funded three impact assessments (IAs) to broaden and deepen the evidence base regarding the impact of agricultural research on the overarching goals of the CGIAR. One of these three studies, a collaboration between IRRI and University of Missouri-Columbia, that aimed to try and assess the contribution of recent modern varieties and traits (of rice) to yield with a new level of rigor has just been published. The IA uses time series-cross sectional data on varietal adoption, input use, and outputs, along with innovative econometric methods for three country contexts (Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines), and applies econometric estimates in welfare modeling to explore how benefits generated have been distributed and with what consequences. One of the main findings is that over (2005) PPP$25 billion of benefits are generated over the period in the three focal countries by the diffusion of post 1989 MVs, of which PPP$9 billion are attributable to IRRI genetic contributions, with similar distributional implications to the total effect of newer MVs (results subject to a set of main modeling assumptions). Approximately 45% of benefits are captured by those under the PPP$2.0 per day poverty line, while the aggregate impact on health from reduced caloric insufficiency due to post 1989 MVs is nearly 1.5 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). More about the background to this SPIA project as well as the publication (PDF) is available here http://impact.cgiar.org/impacts/poverty.

Seeking New Executive Director, ISPC Secretariat
5 August 2015

The ISPC is seeking a new Executive Director to lead the Secretariat. The Executive Director will be responsible for planning and organizing the work of the ISPC, the administration of the Secretariat (including budget management), and monitoring the execution of the Council's recommendations after approval by the Fund Council of the CGIAR. Please see the full vacancy announcement No. IRC2961 here.

Science Forum 2013 - Special Section - Food Security
9 June 2015

The Science Forum organized by the ISPC (co-hosted by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – BMZ, Germany) in 2013 took the title: Nutrition and Health Outcomes: Targets for agricultural research. Forum discussions identified the need to conduct research which focuses on better understanding of some of the pathways between agriculture and nutrition as well as how to measure or evaluate progress along them. Another area in need of further exploration was how research could help to ensure poor consumers had access to diverse, nutritious foods. These two broad topics were explored in more detail at a joint Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH)/ISPC follow-up workshop held at IFPRI exactly one year after the Science Forum; key findings from the workshop were published in a brief in January 2015.

NOW - a set of papers from the 2013 Science Forum has been published in a special section of Food Security entitled “Strengthening the links between nutrition and health outcomes and agricultural research”. The 10 papers in the issue illustrate how global food systems are changing and suggest how agricultural research needs to change if it is to make a major contribution to nutrition and health outcomes. The papers, together with an editorial by the ISPC, can be accessed here.

SIAC Midterm Review, February 2015
23 March 2015

Strengthening Impact Assessment in the CGIAR (SIAC) is a 4-year program of work funded by BMGF and CGIAR core resources. This mid-term review meeting, held in February 2015, aimed to (1) give an account of SIAC activities (assess progress-to-date, provide comprehensive, integrated overview of SIAC); (2) solicit advice and feedback on SIAC, taking constraints and new opportunities into account; (3) solicit advice on plans for a final review in late 2016, and (4) identify areas of focus for a potential second phase (from 2017). More details here.

ISPC Strategic Studies: Metrics and Biotechnology Reports
17 February 2015

The ISPC has recently published the final outputs from the strategic studies on ‘Metrics’ and ‘Biotechnology’. We hope that these publications will be valuable contributions to the development of the SRF and the next round of CRPs. The Strategic Study of Biotechnology Research in CGIAR addresses issues ranging from gene discovery to the delivery of GM variety and livestock research products, bioinformatics, IP rights, and capacity issues; in addition to 10 recommendations; it also offers detailed suggestions for implementation. The report of the Strategic Study on Data, metrics and monitoring in CGIAR presents an analysis of the current activities within CGIAR concerning data, metrics and indicators, and offers a series of recommendations to address the key issues and challenges identified.

Seeking New Members of Council
16 February 2015

The ISPC is seeking to appoint three Council Members in July 2015: one with expertise in Crop science, one in Social Science and one in Water research and management. A fourth Council Member will be appointed in March 2016 with expertise in plant genetic resources and their management. View the advert here.

Experimental Evaluations Call
9 January 2015

SIAC's Project Steering Committee (PSC) approved the funding of 3 proposals under the April 2014 experimental evaluations call. 21 expressions of interest (EOIs) were received in June 2014, and 8 proponents were invited to submit full proposals by September. More details on the project page. Full proposals will be shared shortly.

2014
Joint A4NH/ISPC nutrition workshop
25 September 2014

The joint A4NH/ISPC workshop on nutrition was recently held at IFPRI Headquarters in Washington, DC on 22-23 September 2014. This was a follow-up workshop to the 2013 Science Forum that focused on “Nutrition and Health Outcomes: Targets for Agricultural Research”. The main purpose of this invitation-only workshop was to inform the second round of CRP proposals in terms of delivering improved nutrition outcomes from agricultural research. The workshop had two themes for discussion: "Research to increase access to an affordable, nutritious and safe diet" and “Evaluating the impact of agricultural interventions and investments on nutrition”. View the agenda and presentations from the workshop here.

Call for Expressions of Interest (EOI)
5 September 2014

The Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) is inviting expressions of interest in studies that seek to measure the impacts of widely-adopted CGIAR research-related interventions. Last date: 5pm CET, 13 October 2014. More information in the call document.

IAFP Meeting, July 2014 & DNA fingerprinting Workshop, August 2014
29 August 2014

Presentations from the IAFP Meeting, Minneapolis are now available. More information on the SPIA Events page. In August 2014, Greg Traxler and Mariana Kim (Gates Foundation) organized a workshop on DNA fingerprinting where findings from SPIA-led DIIVA project, and the SIAC 1.1 effort led by MSU were presented. Brief summary of proceedings on the project page.

New publications:DIIVA Synthesis Report & Impact Brief, and Legumes Impact Brief
28 August 2014

Key results on adoption of 20 food crops across 30 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, data for which was collected as a part of the Diffusion and Impact of Improved Varieties in Africa (DIIVA) project, are presented in the Impact Brief No. 42. The Synthesis Report presents information on Objective 1 and Objective 2 of DIIVA. Legumes Impact Brief No. 44 presents data on adoption and impacts of improved legume varieties. 

Conservation Agriculture Study - Special Issue
26 June 2014

A set of papers from the ISPC strategic study on conservation agriculture (CA) has been published in a special issue of Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment entitled “Evaluating conservation agriculture for small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia”. The 13 papers in the issue give insight into the state of the science on CA across a range of disciplines - agronomy, economics, environmental science and social sciences. The papers, together with an editorial by the ISPC can be accessed here.

Vacancy in the ISPC Secretariat
4 June 2014

The ISPC Secretariat is seeking applications from qualified candidates for a Senior Agriculture Officer (Agricultural Research) post. The incumbent will provide scientific and technical analysis in the areas of strategy and trends for agricultural research in developing countries, independent program review, mobilization of science and impact assessment. The deadline for applications is 19 June 2014. The full vacancy announcement is available here.

New CGIAR impact assessment website
22 May 2014

A new CGIAR Impact Assessment site, managed by the ISPC’s Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA), has been launched. The website has a number of new features, including an Impact Blog, a Key References page, and a page entitled "Where is the Evidence?" that maps publications (a work in progress). In addition, the site will provide regular updates on impact assessment activities around the CGIAR and attempt to build a Community of Practice.  In time, SPIA plans to feature a large and quality-rated database of CGIAR impact assessments, allowing readers to see a broad range of impact assessments and to derive useful impact-related information. Click here for more.

New ISPC leadership and members
22 May 2014

The ISPC is pleased to announce the appointment of Maggie Gill as the new ISPC Chair, and welcomes the arrival of two new Council members, Segenet Kelemu and Thomas Tomich. Ken Cassman, former Chair, and Rashid Hassan, former Council member, concluded their terms at the end of 2013. With thanks for their valuable contributions, the ISPC wishes them well in their new endeavors. Magie Gill (UK) has been with the ISPC/Science Council since 2004 and is Chair of Integrated Land Use at the School of Geosciences, College of Physical Sciences, University of Aberdeen.

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Letter from the Chair - July 2016
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NEWS

ISPC MEETINGS

The fifteenth meeting of the ISPC will be held from 04-05 April 2017 in Rome, Italy.

The fourteenth meeting of the ISPC was held from 14-16 September 2016 at ICRISAT Headquarters, Patancheru, India.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

The fifteenth meeting of the ISPC will be held from 04-05 April 2017 in Rome, Italy.

Following SF 2016, the ISPC conducted an evaluation of the Forum to assist in planning and modeling future events more successfully. An online participant survey was carried out and citation analyses were done for the papers published in the special issues after the previous three SFs.