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Agriculture network approves $1 billion research programmes - July 22, 2011

One of the world’s major agricultural research networks, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), has announced progress in a multi-year effort to bump up its funding and overhaul its organization and aims.

CGIAR, which involves 15 global research centres and supports some 8,000 scientists and staff, said yesterday that its donors had given approval for six more research programmes worth around $957 million over three years, adding to the five already approved late last year and in April. (Another four are waiting for approval - full list here).

The point of having these 15 programmes is to cut out problems of research overlap between centres, create a clear mission and refocus research on the questions and problems donors want tackled. Unsurprisingly, there’s been a lot of argument to get to this stage (see ‘Future funding for agricultural research uncertain’) after the general outline for reform was voted through in December 2009.

Three of the new programmes (in wheat; meat, milk & fish; and roots, tubers & bananas) join a list of seven that generally aim to make crops more productive and sustainable. The others relate to policies institutions and markets; agriculture for improved nutrition and health; and aquatic agriculture systems.

Around half the funding, or $477.5 million, will come from the newly-created CGIAR Fund, a central pot set up to get donors to make general, unrestricted pledges. (The other half comes from funding that is still aimed at particular programmes or individual research centres, or from private industry partnerships).

With donors taking the plunge, CGIAR is hopeful that its combined annual budget, around $670 million last year, will hit the $1 billion mark in a few years time.

Posted by Richard Van Noorden on July 22, 2011
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