The question of how agricultural research can best be used for developmental purposes is a topic of some debate in developmental circles. The idea that this is simply a question of better transfer of ideas from research to farmers has been largely discredited. Agricultural innovation is a process that takes a multitude of different forms, and, within this process, agricultural research and expertise are mobilised at different points in time for different purposes. This paper uses two key analytical principles in order to find how research is actually put into use. The first, which concerns the configurations of organisations and their relationships associated with innovation, reveals the additional set of resources and expertise that research needs to be married up to and sheds light on the sorts of arrangements that allow this marriage to take place. The second — which concerns understanding innovation as a path-dependent, contextually shaped trajectory unfolding over time — reveals the changing role of research during the course of events associated with the development and diffusion of products, services and institutional innovations. Using these analytical principles, this paper examines the efforts of the DFID-funded Research Into Use (RIU) programme that sought to explore the agricultural research-into-use question empirically. The paper then uses this analysis to derive implications for public policy and its ongoing efforts to add value to research investments.
RIU Discussion Paper 14. 43 pp.