Insights into African Research Into Use programmes

Project

Research Into Use (RIU) is a programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). It seeks to maximise the effect of research into poverty reduction and economic growth.

Recommendations for practice and policy

KIT analysed five RIU cases in Africa – three RIU Innovation Platforms  initiatives and two Best Bets. The RIU programme used Innovation Platforms and the Best Bet programmes, a competitive funding mechanism to support private sector initiatives as ways to put research into practice, aiming for impact at scale. The analysis focused on how improved innovation capacity can contribute to achieving impact at scale.

A common research framework

KIT developed a common research framework, combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. The framework allowed for the particular attributes of the five different cases and aimed at deconstructing the theories of change and the underlying assumptions. KIT’s mix of expertise on agricultural research and innovation, rural service delivery and value chains allowed for a thorough assessment of RIU’s action-oriented research process, the innovations that resulted from these processes, and the consequent spin-offs.

Results of the study

The study resulted in valuable lessons and a number of important practice- and policy-oriented recommendations on how agricultural research can better contribute to development. A new approach for embedding agricultural research in development has been proposed, in which research is playing a supporting role, identifying plausible options, facilitating local experimentation, and bringing into routine use promising practices. In this way, KIT contributes to more relevant and sustainable agricultural research outputs.