Partnership in rice research: Rationale, experience, and implications
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Individuals and institutions cooperate with expectations of improved effectiveness and efficiency. In this paper, partnership in rice research is examined. We begin by identifying the underlying rationale for partnership vis-a-vis independent initiatives: that the benefits of working together exceed the corresponding costs. We argue that benefits are derived principally from shared interests and differences, while the major costs of partnership emerge from the need to negotiate roles and responsibilities and to exchange information. We then focus on IRRI's experience — its partners and the various collaborative mechanisms employed. Historically the national agricultural research systems have been IRRI's principal research partners. Of late the number and diversity of partners have grown, bringing significant challenges to IRRI's management approach and structure. Increased cooperation with rice farming communities, consumers, non-government organizations, advanced research institutions, and the private sector is anticipated. The emergence of research consortia as a partnership mechanism introduces the problem of “indirect management”, in which there is a separation of responsibility and accountability — both for IRRI and its partners. Several techniques to address this problem are suggested.
KeywordsPrivate Sector Exchange Information Management Approach Advanced Research Rice Farming
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