BHEARD: Institutional Capacity Development Updates

Updates on BHEARD's Institutional Capacity Development progress.

“You think that because you understand “one” that you must therefore understand “two” because one and one make two. But you forget that you must also understand “and.” ~Donnella Meadows

As the Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program moves towards the end of its programming (activity will be finished in early 2021), BHEARD has started to direct its focus towards strengthening the abilities of institutions to set and achieve social and economic goals, or institutional capacity development.  Previously, BHEARD funded 143 to receive advanced degrees relating to critical challenges in their countries. However, we recognize it is not enough to equip the brightest minds with the tools and knowledge to affect change. On completion, they still face encounter the same challenges and lack the policies, networks, institutional resources, etc. to address them. Supporting the needs of institutions is a core part of the BHEARD Programs mission acknowledges that change is complex.

BHEARD scholars and staff are excited to break down the systemic and institutional barriers preventing highly qualified scientists from introducing practical technologies for the market. Leading the charge is BHEARD’s Director, Dr. John Medendorp, who recently returned from Gbargna, Liberia where he and Institutional Capacity Development Lead, Cait Goddard, led a three-day Roundtable held at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI). The Roundtable focused on aquaculture, an increasingly critical sector to economic development in Liberia. Based on the expressed needs of key stakeholders in the sector and with the support of BHEARD alumni, BHEARD brought together government agencies and public sector organizations with a goal to clarify and define shared challenges, carving out specific leverage points where collaboration could lead to the greatest positive impact. Participants were further encouraged to consider innovative collaborations through a competitive proposal process. Starting later this year, BHEARD will fund the four best ideas emanating from the Roundtable that require cross-organizational collaboration and address critical challenges preventing research translating to market technologies. 

In Cambodia, BHEARD will soon partner with the Royal University of Agriculture to host a two-day convening that will bring together scientists in the Cambodian agricultural sector. Participants will undergo a design thinking training designed to ensure researchers are consistently connecting their innovative work to existing needs and focusing on applied technologies. BHEARD will also provide funding to researchers who are able to demonstrate their work matches a concrete need expressed by the market. The BHEARD team will work closely with agricultural leaders to identify sustainable ways to support applied research and embed innovative practices in the Universities. 

 - Cait Goddard is the Institutional Capacity Development Lead for the BHEARD Program

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