Following a competitive call for expressions of interest in November 2015, SPIA conducted an expert workshop on how best to approach documentation of adoption of selected Natural Resource Management (NRM) practices linked to CGIAR research outputs (16-17 December, 2015). The NRM practices and countries of interest had been identified as high priority in a previous SPIA exercise of reviewing and rating claims made in annual reports and other relevant literature regarding the scale of uptake of CGIAR-derived NRM research outcomes.
Traditionally, SPIA would have reviewed EOIs and requested full proposals from a sub-set of proponents. However, considering (1) the unique challenges in defining what constitutes adoption of a specific NRM practice, (2) that existing surveys may already have relevant/useful data or upcoming survey rounds (planned) may offer opportunities to collect additional data, and (3) the typology of proponents anticipated to express interest (academic researchers, private sector entities, CGIAR Centers, remote sensing experts etc.) – SPIA took an innovative approach: all EOI proponents were invited to a workshop wherein collaborations were fostered through a combination of presentation-led discussions and group work.
In all, 40 researchers, experts and other collaborators, including 30 invited EOI proponents (shortlisted from 62 EOIs) attended the workshop in Rome. The plenary sessions took stock of the status of previous or ongoing research efforts relevant to tracking adoption of each of the seven NRM technologies listed in the SPIA call document, including the feasibility of employing frontier technologies (such as drone imaging and remote sensing) in addition to or in conjunction with farmer surveys, expert opinion, stakeholder interviews etc. Break-out groups by common research interest over the two days then identified a total of (potentially) nine work packages across the seven NRM technologies, and countries of interest that could be undertaken synergistically and in collaboration by consortia of research groups and institutes.
These nine work packages constitute the base on which full proposals will be submitted by February 2016. And following a competitive external review and selection process, the selected NRM adoption studies will commence in the first quarter of 2016. The SPIA Outcomes Webpage provides further information on the status of the work on this activity of documenting NRM research outcomes.