Institutional history of watershed research: The evolution of ICRISAT's work on natural resources in India (2005)

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In recent years international agricultural research centers had to respond to changed mandates with a more explicit focus on poverty reduction and environmental sustainability from an earlier focus on improved agricultural productivity. Natural resource management (NRM) research has been an important area that has witnessed several institutional changes within the CGIAR system for the fulfillments of these goals. Most research centers have sought and promoted innovations through concepts such as participatory research, partnerships and alternatives to the transfer of technology approach. In this report it is argued that while these changes have indeed contributed to a greater poverty focus of the CG centres, there is a greater need to understand the practice of science amongst these centers and the underlying institutional constraints that hinder or enhance learning in the proposed transition of these research centers into learning organisations. In this study the institutional history of a CG centre has been used as a tool to promote institutional learning and change. It demonstrates that research managers in the CG system have not adequately accessed the institutional innovations of its own scientists in facilitating changes under newer mandates. By tracing the various ups and downs of ICRISAT’s thirty-year involvement in NRM research, this report points to the need for greater sensitivity in research design towards institutional constraints that prevent faster learning and the need for evolving mechanisms to enable real time learning in projects.
Language: English
Imprint: Global Theme on Agroecosystems Report no. 12. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics: 2005
Series: Report,