Facilitating change for climate-smart agriculture through science-policy engagement

Dhanush Dinesh*, Robert B. Zougmore, Joost Vervoort, Edmond Totin, Phillip K. Thornton, Dawit Solomon, Paresh B. Shirsath, Valerien O. Pede, Isabel Lopez Noriega, Peter Läderach, Jana Körner, Dries Hegger, Evan H. Girvetz, Anette E. Friis, Peter P.J. Driessen, Bruce M. Campbell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change impacts on agriculture have become evident, and threaten the achievement of global food security. On the other hand, the agricultural sector itself is a cause of climate change, and if actions are not taken, the sector might impede the achievement of global climate goals. Science-policy engagement efforts are crucial to ensure that scientific findings from agricultural research for development inform actions of governments, private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international development partners, accelerating progress toward global goals. However, knowledge gaps on what works limit progress. In this paper, we analyzed 34 case studies of science-policy engagement efforts, drawn from six years of agricultural research for development efforts around climate-smart agriculture by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Based on lessons derived from these case studies, we critically assessed and refined the program theory of the CCAFS program, leading to a revised and improved program theory for science-policy engagement for agriculture research for development under climate change. This program theory offers a pragmatic pathway to enhance credibility, salience and legitimacy of research, which relies on engagement (participatory and demand-driven research processes), evidence (building scientific credibility while adopting an opportunistic and flexible approach) and outreach (effective communication and capacity building).

Original languageEnglish
Article number2616
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2018


  • Adaptation
  • Agricultural research for development
  • Agriculture
  • Climate change
  • Climate-smart agriculture
  • Food security
  • Mitigation
  • Science-policy engagement
  • Science-policy interface


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