Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, February 25, 2011

Building true partnership between Science and Society: Lessons from DURAS

The DURAS Programme has pioneered new ways of integrating innovation from science with that from communities themselves. 

At the heart of DURAS has been its innovative competitive grants system, which followed an original selection and evaluation process that placed a premium on multi-stakeholder partnerships. The principles developed through DURAS ensured that research priorities were identified in a participatory fashion and that less vocal stakeholders, most notably civil society groups, were mobilized to participate meaningfully in agricultural research for development (AR4D) processes. Alongside research practice, the programme also promoted the wider sharing and exchange of agricultural knowledge through interactive regional agricultural information systems. 

Twelve projects were funded in Africa and Asia over a period of three years, each involving an array of disciplines and partners. These programmes allowed research institutions and civil society organizations to work as true partners, each bringing their own knowledge, understanding and ideas to the interface between science and society and breaking through institutionalized barriers, to bring new engagement and mutual understanding. 

In tribute to the diversity and richness of partnerships involved in the 12 projects funded under its Competitive Grants component, the DURAS Project Coordination Unit has worked with Agropolis International to prepare a special issue of Dossier d’Agropolis, which is now available here in English (French version here)or by hard copy upon request to the GFAR Secretariat 

Each article in this publication was written by the project participants. It is an attempt to capture, in a few pages, the complex, yet mutually enriching experience of partners across a wide range of development contexts. It also presents some key results and lessons learned along the way that will have value to many others working to create more integrated AR4D systems. 

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