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Institution: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
E-mail: c/- firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Hall trained as both a biological and social scientist, gaining his PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies at the University of Sussex, UK. His professional interest is concerned with understanding the evolving nature of agricultural R&D systems and in particularly the influence of institutional arrangements on the innovation process. He has also worked on research strategy development in the post-harvest sector. He has worked in South and Southeast Asia and in East and West Africa. He is a Principle Scientist at the Natural Resources Institute, UK, and has been stationed at ICRISAT in India for the last 2 years.
Title: "Why research partnerships really matter: Innovation theory, institutional arrangements, and implication for developing new technology for the poor."
In recent years substantial efforts have been made to focus agricultural research on the needs and agendas of the poor. Emphasis has given to participatory research methods and research priority setting. However, less attention has been given to the institutional structures which shape the research process and its outputs. The concept of research partnerships offers the potential to redress this omission by focusing attention on the institutional alliances necessary for the creation of new knowledge. This paper explores the conceptual basis of existing and emerging institutional patterns of agricultural research. Examples are drawn from a series of recent studies of private enterprise activity in the small holder horticultural sector in India. Findings suggest that frequently innovation is taking place at the interface of research and production "institutions" and questions the primacy of the centralised scientific research institute as an engine of technical innovation. Institutional developments observed are consistent with lessons concerning the innovation process in other sectors. These developments reflect the changing role of the "State", the emergence of new economic opportunities and consequently the strategies followed by different actors and institutions to gain access to new knowledge. The theory of "national systems of innovation" (Lundval, 1993), which conceptualises these different actors as nodes in an integrated innovation system, may provide a useful framework for understanding and planing new institutional models. Only by developing a clear understanding of the institutional structures and systems which are emerging, and the strategic role of national and international agricultural research institutions within these systems, can the innovation potential of partnerships be focused on the poor.