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Capacity Building

CIAT is one hundred percent committed to the success of our partners and the farming communities they serve. We’re also dedicated to supporting each other – it is the CGIAR way of doing business.

From nonprofits to foundations to governments to social enterprises, we build and strengthen the capacity of our partners because we can’t improve lives and have real impact alone.

What we do: Investing in people

The institution contributes to the formation of future generations of scientists who will be key in the development of an eco-efficient agriculture in the tropics. We believe our teams are stronger when they are culturally- and gender-diverse, and when they share knowledge and learn together for continual growth.

But it’s not only researchers that develop innovations. For that reason, farmers, technicians, and other groups who contribute to rural innovation (including private firms and NGOs) all need to build new capacities, so they can co-create and adapt innovations and knowledge more effectively through collaboration and learning.

We also recognize the importance of building our internal capacities to better meet CIAT’s needs and conduct effective research. CIAT aims to create incentives and procedures to foster teamwork, while seeking an improved understanding of what agricultural research for development means in practice, what role formal research plays in innovation, and how transdisciplinary and multi-institutional research teams can best be developed and supported.

In a renewed effort to help meet the need for new and stronger capacities both internally and among our partners, CIAT pursues two main approaches:

  • Exploring diverse options to provide the strategic training needed to implement CIAT’s future research agenda, based on clear theories of change and impact pathways.
  • Fostering organizational transformation in CIAT and among our partners, so that we can engage more effectively in integrated research for development.
Darwin Martinez, Research Fellow, USDA-FAS stands next to a cacao tree on CIAT’s campus in Colombia.
International Workshop on Invasive mealybugs in Southeast Asia, Vietnam
The Climate Food and Farming (CLIFF) Research Network 2015 grant recipients with collaborating scientists and partners from Aarhus University and CCAFS.

The Annual Program Review is an internal workshop to facilitate open dialogues around strategic topics that are central for the implementation of CIAT strategy.

Training of Gulu University Students on participatory tools and techniques used for collecting data in Rapid Rural Appraisal. Acholi, Julu Uganda. June, 2014.

In Vietnam’s climate-smart village of Ma in Yen Bai province, researchers and farmers discuss what tools they find most useful to tackle climate change. The tools will be whittled down and adapted for farmers to tackle the climate changes within their specific landscape.

Julian Witjaksono, Research Fellow, USDA-FAS in a maize field at CIAT headquarters in Colombia.
Jennifer Twyman, Economist at CIAT, presents Leonadi with a certificate of participation for a workshop on climate-smart agriculture practices. Lushoto, Tanzania, June 2014.
Through “Innovation Platforms”, livestock farmers in the district of Lushoto, Tanzania, are finding ways of boosting their production and lowering their environmental impact by planting improved forages.

In Vietnam’s climate-smart village of Ma in Yen Bai province, researchers and farmers discuss what tools they find most useful to tackle climate change.

On the job training in documenting cassava descriptors, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Eight graduate students from Bangladesh, Colombia, Kenya, Uganda, India, and Argentina returned home from a CLIFF workshop with new skills, colleagues, and fresh inspiration to tackle the challenge of climate change.

How we do it: Learning together

In its training efforts, the Center depends on a wide range of university and private-sector partnerships, which make important capacity strengthening opportunities more readily available to developing countries.

CIAT’s Bioscience Platform

Contributes importantly to closing capacity gaps by supporting efforts to develop new technologies aimed at strengthening food security and making agriculture more competitive. The Platform enhances national partners’ ability to access and use new tools from molecular genetics and related fields. This facility offers training in these areas, while also providing support in the handling of intellectual property and other management issues. In addition, the Bioscience Platform improves national researchers’ access to advanced infrastructure and scientific advice for the implementation of research projects.

State-of-the-art laboratories

By providing access to specialized equipment, CIAT enables its partners to engage in rigorous research. Enhanced infrastructure, such as the Future Seeds Initiative, can thus serve as a shared platform for national research programs, universities, and other regional initiatives, adding value to our collaboration through capacity strengthening programs.

The Climate Food and Farming Research Network (CLIFF)

CIAT participates in CLIFF, an international research network that helps to build the capacity of young researchers working on climate change mitigation in smallholder farming. Selected PhD students from developing countries are sponsored for short-term (3-4 month) scientific training and research stays at CGIAR Centers or affiliated research institutions in their home regions.

How to apply to be a Visiting Researcher at CIAT headquarters

If you, or your institution, would like to participate in a training or short-term research opportunity offered by CIAT, please consult our jobs page or contact the researcher you would like to work with directly.

Our impact

Developed, with partners, Learning Alliances in Central America and Africa to identify, share, and adapt good practices in research and development in specific contexts.

Hosted and collaborated with tens of thousands of visiting researchers from universities, private sector, other CGIAR Centers, and local organizations during 50 years of agricultural research.

Co-established the African Network for Soil Biology and Fertility (AfNet) in 1988 to build the capacity of African institutions to conduct interdisciplinary and integrated soil-and-fertility management (ISFM) research at regional and international levels.

Mentored current and future leaders in agricultural science such as Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Gerardine Mukeshimana, who worked with CIAT bean breeder, Steve Beebe, to gain exposure to drought selection techniques, and expand her international network.

CIAT has hosted many grant recipients from the Climate Food and Farming (CLIFF) Research Network including Sandra Durango and Ana Lucía Cadena González de Thiele, both nationals of Colombia, to increase the capacity of developing countries to quantify greenhouse gas emissions and develop low emissions agriculture options.

Updates on capacity building

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