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Webinar on ‘Strengthening AIS: learning from past and present research interventions’ organized by DeSIRA-LIFT Service Area 1

Drawing by Delphine Boghos

On 13 October as part of the FAO Science and Innovation Forum, the  DeSIRA-LIFT facility organized an online side event on ‘Strengthening AIS: learning from past and present research interventions. The aim of the webinar was to review the contributions and challenges of previous experiences built upon research partnerships, such as the CDAIS EU-funded project  and present three new patterns of research partnerships aimed at generating more long-term transformative outcomes in agricultural innovation systems in countries: a farmer-led research partnership, a living lab as a new multi-actor innovation facility,  and partnerships between research and policy makers for policy design.


Three DeSIRA projects were invited to present these new patterns:

  • the FO-RI project, implemented by AGRICORD and its partners, working in 16 countries with farmers’ organizations leading research activities to codevelop agro-ecological innovations; 
  • the Santés & Territoires project, implemented by CIRAD and its partners, conducting research for innovation using living labs in Africa and Asia;
  • the TAP-AIS project, implemented by FAO in 9 countries, with the broader scope of using research and innovation to develop policy frameworks for AIS strengthening.


There were also important interventions from invited panellists (CIRAD, FARA, DG-INTPA and DeSIRA-LIFT), emphasizing key challenges and lessons learnt on making research partnerships work for AIS strengthening:

  • AIS strengthening requires more long-term research partnerships with farmers’ organizations, civil society, private sector and policy makers, beyond traditional project duration, in order to align their innovation agendas and collaborate further;
  • Investing in technological innovation leaving behind social innovation cannot succeed;
  • Engaging farmers early in the research projects as drivers of R&I agendas allow reversing the research processes for transforming agrifood systems, through on-demand research approaches led by civil society and farmers ‘organizations;
  • Agricultural innovation requires to shift learning models from science-based approaches to experience-based approaches where scientists co-learn and co-develop knowledge with their partners and AIS actors while developing innovations;
  • Knowledge sharing on multistakeholder innovation experiences must be accelerated at multiple levels in order to make national and international communities move together at the same pace for boosting agricultural innovation;
  • AIS strengthening requires to develop innovation policies as capacity development policies, targeting three levels of the AIS (innovation niche partnerships, innovation support service providers, and policy actors), hence creating more enabling environments for innovators and enabling new accredited job profiles to facilitate multiactor collaboration and innovation processes.


This was the first webinar organized by the DeSIRA-LIFT Community of Practice, which aims at sharing and learning on challenges and practices in managing for impacts in Research and Innovation projects of the DeSIRA Initiative. In the following month, the DeSIRA-LIFT community of Practice will offer follow-up learning events to the DeSIRA projects around two key challenges: innovating with multi-actor facilities, innovating in insecure contexts.  Keep posted through our website!


Follow #DeSIRALIFT on LinkedIn and visit this website for regular updates.


Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation 

P.O. Box 88, 6700 AB Wageningen
the Netherlands


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