Capacity Strengthening Approach
Institutional Capacity Strengthening – Four Principles of Action
PRCI bases its approach to institutional capacity strengthening on four principles of action. These principles reflect our consortium’s vision of the best way to improve the credibility of country and regional research institutions and of their policy research results and thereby ensure that local policy makers take up and apply the results of the Lab’s global research.
First, PRCI will work with its partners to co-create its strategies for capacity development and research. It will build on and strengthen existing relationships, institutions, networks and processes, which is fundamental to ensuring the sustainability of these investments. The Lab has also established consultative procedures and decision-making processes that put local and regional organizations in the lead – within a collaborating global team of experts – in defining the food security policy and research priorities in their countries and regions and the capacities they need to adequately address these priorities. These mechanisms will be used to encourage learning across organizations and continents, recognizing that diverse organizations sharing common challenges have much to learn from each other.
Second, PRCI will integrate. It will use mentorship to integrate research and capacity development as joint products, and it will integrate global, regional, and local perspectives into a unified research program. Mentorship will be practiced in all PRCI’s research, through the STAAARS+ program, a customized version of Cornell University’s STAARS Fellowship program (Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces) designed specifically for PRCI, and in all research that takes place outside of STAAARS+. The program will pair researchers from local organizations with ones from U.S. consortium partners to carry out joint research. National stakeholder consultations will be used to gather local perspectives on priority research topics, which will contribute a locally grounded global research agenda that addresses local needs while placing them within the dynamics of global change. Together, these activities will ensure high quality and relevance of research.
Third, PRCI will customize its capacity development. Through a competitive selection process followed by facilitated self-assessment that leads to direct provision of funds, PRCI will empower local research centers to define and pursue their own capacity development and policy research priorities.
Finally, PRCI will excel. Our consortium will do so by applying the best current thinking and practice on institutional capacity development and on methods and approaches to applied policy research in transforming agrifood systems of developing countries, including challenges of resilience to climate and other shocks.
Guided by these four principles, our consortium expects to generate meaningful and sustained impact on the policy research and engagement capacity of research organizations and policy systems in the regions where the program works.