This report presents the results of the consultation conducted in India on DFID's research strategy for the period 2008-2013. The consultation process involved stakeholder interviews, topic-specific workshops (on sustainable agriculture, health and killer diseases, climate change, and governance & social research), a cross sectoral workshop and a senior stakeholder workshop. Participants (close to 150), drawn from the private sector, research institutes, government, civil society and universities, were asked to consider the strengths and weakness of how things work at present, research needs and ideas, and finally improvements for the research process.
The following research goals were identified by the participants in the topic-specific workshops:
- Increasing overall agricultural productivity, sustainability and profitability through land productivity and value adding agro-processing industry
- Developing agriculture as a source of stable income for the rural poor. This research priority involves agricultural livelihoods, market access and protection of livelihoods from natural disasters
- Protecting natural resources (e.g. water and soil) and preserving biodiversity
Health and Killer Diseases
- Improving delivery and management of heath services: infrastructure, staffing and skills; role of the private sector, health care financing
- Improving maternal and child health
- Reducing anaemia and nutrition-related conditions
- Combating emerging disease (e.g. life-style related, cancer, HIV/AIDS)
- Improving water & sanitation conditions
- Understanding of how economic improvements can lead to better health behaviour
- Adapting to climate change and limiting the effects on the poor: understand the effects, limit and manage the effects of climate change
- Improving pollution control and waste management
- Water and sanitation, improving provision of safe drinking water and basic amenities
- Increasing use of renewable energy
Governance & Social Research
- Improving the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of key public institutions
- Improving the effective engagement of citizens in decision making, creating a culture of inclusion and equality within governance institutions
- Improving equality of marginalized groups (including women, children, tribal peoples, migrants, informal workers, refugees, HIV infected people, low castes, religious minorities, widows and single women, and the poorest populations)
- Promoting inclusive growth
In addition to the four priority areas, the participants mentioned education most frequently as an area that is of specific importance for India. Education was discussed as a separate topic in the senior stakeholder session, and a number of research priorities were identified under the headings: Technology development and scientific research, Operational research, and Policy analysis and design.
In bringing together expert stakeholders from each of the four sectors in a single, crosscutting workshop, new and important research questions emerged which span two or more sectors. These fell into the following broad areas:
- Impact of agricultural practices on health
- Impact of agricultural practices on the environment
- Impact of climate change on agricultural practices and productivity
- Impact of subsidies and pricing policies on agricultural livelihoods
- Methods for controlling pollution - incentive structures and regulation
- Accountability and corruption in health services
- Impact of climate change on health
Potential Research Contributions to Inclusive Growth
Participants in each topic-specific workshop were able to articulate a clear connection between improvements to their particular sector and inclusive growth.
Sustainable agriculture was considered to be able to contribute to inclusive growth through the development and use of technologies that can be used on a small scale to improve productivity. Additionally, the participants indicated that there is a potential in reviewing the current market structure and procedures to develop more direct access for the smaller farmers.
In the area of Health and Killer Diseases, participants felt that economic and inclusive growth could be facilitated though growth in the domestic pharmaceutical, pharmaceuticals testing, and biotechnology industries; and through productivity gains resulting from a healthier work force.
In the area of Climate change, participants suggested that improved waste management and control of pollution, climate change adaptation, recycling and use of waste for power generation could contribute to more inclusive growth. Research was seen as a key element in developing mitigation and adaptation strategies that will help India prevent climate change from having an uncontrollable impact on the growth of the economy.
Improved Governance was also expected to contribute to inclusive growth, by controlling corruption and improving effectiveness of government institutions.
The Research Process
Suggestions for improvements in the following 5 areas within the research process are highlighted in the final chapter of this report:
(1) Priority setting and selection
(2) Capacity building to do research
(3) Capacity building to use research
(4) Partnerships in capacity building, and
(5) Dissemination to get research into use.
Annex A lists the participants in the consultation process.