Project Highlight


From Data, Information and Collaboration to Food

Can opening access to CGIAR research have a positive influence on the lives of the poor in developing countries? Can improved access to and use of data, information and research outputs increase the value of these outputs? Is broader collaboration among all stakeholders from the design to the end product necessary to make a difference? The CGIAR's ICT-KM Program believes the answer to these three questions is yes and is trying to address them.

Beginning in 2003, the CGIAR ICT-KM Program's Investment Plan addressed connectivity, content and work culture needs within the 15 CGIAR Centers. The idea was to start by getting the internal house in order before looking at ICT and KM issues involving the broader agricultural research community.

In 2005, the Program organized an extensive two-week online consultation including over 200 participants from both within the CGIAR and national partner organizations to discuss the broader picture. This consultation provided the inputs to a new proposal/strategy entitled: "ICT-KM 2 - Global Public Goods (GPGs): From Data and Information to Food". To be launched in 2008, this new strategy proposed:

  • A preparatory, intensive study of the needs of priority users;
  • Integrated access to global public goods stewarded by the CGIAR (technical standards/portal work);
  • Networking and capacity building to ensure the best possible linkages between CGIAR;
  • NARS and other partners for public goods generation and sharing;
  • Value-added information products and services; and
  • Monitoring and evaluation.

The overall objective of the strategy is to make it easier for CGIAR staff, partners and potential partners to access, use and add value through collaboration to the research and scientific outputs of the CGIAR - and so to have a positive influence on the lives of the poor.

A recurring theme of the on-line consultation was the need to better identify the primary users of information Global Public Goods (iGPGs), both current and potential, and their priority uses. Improving access to what data/information/knowledge for which users would make the biggest difference? What needs to be done to remove obstacles and empower users to add value? Increased understanding in this area will allow refinement of both the overall strategy and its constituent activities.

From August to December 2007, a user needs study and consultation process involving e-conferences, workshops, interviews and online tools will be employed to finalize inputs to a CGIAR ICT-KM strategy that will inform the development of an investment plan in 2008.

More specifically, the ICT-KM Program will be running a three-week online discussion from September 12 to October 3 to seek inputs on users needs and feedback on the proposed strategy. And, as part of a week-long series of meetings in Rome, entitled A global Perspective on E-Agriculture, the Program is organizing a half-day workshop to further work on the users study and the strategy.

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