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Hidden value of CGIAR training programs for national research capacity: a case study of CIMMYT’s impact on China’s wheat R&D productivity

Author: Huang, J.
Author: Cheng Xiang
Author: Yanqing Wang
Year: 2016
Abstract: Most studies on agricultural R&D expenditure have focused on its impact on agricultural productivity rather than on human research capacity. Impact assessments of CGIAR training have been qualitative and indicative and based mainly on the perceptions of selected trainees. More quantitative analyses are needed to identify CGIAR impacts on national agricultural research systems (NARS) capacity. This study assesses the impact of CGIAR training programs on NARS research capacity using CIMMYT’s wheat training program as a case study. We conducted both descriptive and quantitative econometric analyses on the academic performance of a group of trainees before and after training. We also compared the academic performance of the trainees to that of average scientists at each trainee’s institute. Moreover, based on an opinion survey, we gained insights on how the training may have impacted the trainees’ research capacity. In general, our survey shows that CIMMYT has provided a large and increasing number of training opportunities for Chinese scholars in the past four decades. Visiting scientist fellowships and training courses have been the traditional and major means of providing wheat training. In addition, postgraduate and postdoctoral fellowships have been increasing since the early 1990s. The trainees tend to be younger and also include a growing number of female participants and more participants from universities. Impact assessment was conducted based on five major indicators of research capacity. They include the ability to obtain research funding and five indicators of academic performance, including number of publications in domestic (in Chinese) and international journals, patents obtained, science and technology (S&T) awards, and wheat varieties bred. The results show that CIMMYT training programs have improved the trainees’ academic performance and their ability to obtain research funding. The graduate and postdoctoral training program and the visiting scientist program had significant impact on the trainees’ academic performance, as evidenced by their ability to publish more papers in both Chinese and international journals, their capacity to obtain more patents, and their overall contribution to wheat science and technology measured by the number of S&T awards given by the government. However, no significant impact of the regular training course on the trainees’ academic performance was found in this study. The findings on the impact of training are largely supported by the results of the trainees’ opinion survey. The majority of trainees highly appreciated how CIMMYT’s training influenced their careers. Most of them claimed that the training helped them acquire new scientific knowledge and technology, improve their research and work experiences, access more germplasm resources, and develop a good research network. They believe that the training programs have significantly contributed to China’s wheat technological changes and that CIMMYT could play a more important role by expanding its training program and collaborative work in China in the future. The findings of this study do have several policy implications. First, the most direct implication is that CIMMYT should continue to enhance its training program and prioritize its efforts in the graduate program, postdoctoral fellowships and the visiting scientist program. Second, while the results of this study are for CIMMYT’s wheat training in China only, we recommend that all or most CGIAR centers should seriously consider making their training programs a top priority. Of course, rigorous impact analyses of different types of training programs should be conducted. Third, as a significant beneficiary of CIMMYT’s wheat training program, China may need to revisit its current R&D investment priorities. Investing in the CG’s training program to improve its domestic research capacity could be a good option. Last but not least, despite the significant increase in funding to support CGIAR research programs in recent years, resources allocated to the training programs has not been promising. The significant hidden value and impact of CIMMYT’s training program on the trainees’ academic performance in China should have important implications for major international donors who are interested in increasing the CGIAR’s impacts through its unique role in improving NARS research capacity.
Format: PDF
Language: English
Publisher: CGIAR
Publisher: CIMMYT
Publisher: CCAP
Copyright: CIMMYT manages Intellectual Assets as International Public Goods. The user is free to download, print, store and share this work. In case you want to translate or create any other derivative work and share or distribute such translation/derivative work, please contact indicating the work you want to use and the kind of use you intend; CIMMYT will contact you with the suitable license for that purpose.
Type: Book
Country focus: China
Place of Publication: Mexico
Pages: 36 pages
Program: CGIAR Research Program on Wheat
Country of Focus: China
Agrovoc: SURVEYS
Agrovoc: WHEAT

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