Clarifying the Story

Development Policy25 Jun 2009Jim Woodhill

I’ve had a couple of comments that the big picture about what is going on here is perhaps not clear enough from my blogs, especially if you have not had a look at the COS-SIS web site. So here is a recap.

The Convergences of Science Strengthening Innovation Systems Programme (COS-SIS) is a 6 year initiative (2008 -2013) funded by DGIS. It is an action research programme involving 9 PhD students and a collaboration between Wageningen UR, The Royal Tropical Institute and Universities in Ghana, Benin and Mali. It is the second phase of similar programme that ran from 2001 to 2005.

What is unique about this programme, and this conference, is that it is reaching out beyond the boundaries of the research community to work in partnership with many other stakeholders from government, business, development organizations and farmer organizations. There are 80 people here at this conference representing all these different groups. (I will post this list later when it has been finalized)

The purpose of this conference is to create a shared understanding, with all these different stakeholders, about the purpose of the COS-SIS Programme and to jointly identify opportunities for innovation.

Day one of the conference was a general introduction to the Programme, the idea of innovation systems and relevance of COS-SIS to issues in the Region. On day two a set of presentations were given by about the initial analysis of different domains – oil palm; livestock; food security; cotton; water; and cocoa – in which action research projects will be formulated. Day three offered an opportunity for all participants to raise issues and questions about how the Programme would work and to discuss these. Day four offers more input on value chains, institutional development, technology opportunities, and trade impacts. All this will come together on the last day of the conference in working out in more detail the specific innovation opportunities that will be worked on.

This conference is initiating an emerging network of stakheolders who will engage with the COS-SIS initiative.