Institution: The Australian Centre for Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
The current position of Dr Ken Menz within ACIAR is Head Impact Assessment Unit, and Research Program Manager Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics Program. This involves evaluating the impact of agricultural research projects before and after project implementation and managing a program of internationally collaborative research. Dr Menz started with ACIAR in 1987 but spent 3 years (1994-1997) as a visiting fellow at the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University, Canberra. Here he was the project leader of a internationally collaborative research project with partners in Indonesia and the Philippines entitled: Improving smallholder farming systems in Imperata grassland areas of Southeast Asia: a bioeconomic approach.
Title: "Poverty alleviation through research: The ACIAR experience." Co-authors: Padma Lal, Godfrey Lubulwa.
The Australian Centre for Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is an Australian government instrumentality. It has been in existence since 1982, undertaking collaborative research between Australian and developing country research institutions. The original Act of Parliament leading to the creation of ACIAR, did not make any specific reference to poverty alleviation. However, more recent official documents have done so.
In this paper, the goal of poverty alleviation in ACIAR is described in a historical context. Then the process by which ACIAR attempts to operationalise the poverty alleviation aspects of its research is described.
ACIAR has been assessing the impacts of its research for many years. A summary of empirical results and the lessons learnt from these attempts are presented. The methods of assessing the impact of ACIAR research in general, and on poverty alleviation in particular, are described.
The paper concludes with some case studies of successful ACIAR projects. But how successful have these projects been from the viewpoint of poverty alleviation?