Systems research in the CGIAR as an arena of struggle: Competing discourses on the embedding of research in development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) was founded in 1971, and currently operates under the banner of the ‘CGIAR Consortium’ with a membership of 15 Research Centres. Over its lifetime, the CGIAR has been subject to numerous organisational reforms in light of prevailing concerns such as reduced spending by governmental bodies, the wish to improve the efficiency of ‘the System’, and the ambition to be more effective in securing development impact (Anderson 1998; Kassam et al. 2004; McCalla 2014). Moreover, while some centres were established with an explicit systems focus, at various stages in the history of the CGIAR there have been calls for complementing crop- and technology-focussed research with more holistic and systems-oriented perspectives (Biggs et al. 2016). This chapter analyses the most recent experiences with systems research in the context of the latest reform of the CGIAR (see Kamanda 2015), which included the formation of 16 CGIAR Research Programmes (CRPs) that were meant to foster collaboration, reduce competition between the individual Centres, and above all increase development impact. At the same time, the reform is presented as a strategy to strengthen collaboration with partners, and make the Consortium more demand driven, development relevant and accountable. Thus, it resonates with a number of trends in the realm of development-oriented agricultural research that were described in Contested Agronomy (Sumberg and Thompson 2012).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgronomy for Development : The Politics of Knowledge in Agricultural Research
EditorsJames Sumberg
ISBN (Electronic)9781315284057
ISBN (Print)9781138240315, 9781138240278
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NamePathways to Sustainability


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