Michelsen, H., L. Zuidema, C. Hoste, and D. Shapiro. 2003. Improving Agricultural Research at Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Study Guide. ISNAR Research Management Guidelines No. 6. The Hague: International Service for National Agricultural Research.
Universities in sub-Saharan Africa have been widely criticized for being too academic and remote from the practical needs of the societies that they are supposed to serve. Yet these universities often include among their faculty a great proportion of their country’s most highly trained researchers, and some of the best research facilities. How can these resources best be mobilized to contribute to national development objectives? The question is especially acute in the agricultural sector, where national agricultural research organizations, which have previously supplied the innovations on which sustainable development depends, have been severely weakened by cuts in public-sector spending. This ISNAR Research Management Guideline provides a wealth of practical help for policymakers and agricultural research leaders who have recognized the need for reform but who may be wondering how best to proceed. It synthesizes the experience of six countries whose agricultural leaders undertook a far-reaching review-and-change process, in collaboration with experts from ISNAR and the University of Hohenheim. Based on case studies and a review of the experiences of other major development organizations, the authors provide a conceptual framework for reform that recognizes the dual research-and-education mandate of universities and the complementary roles of universities and other research organizations. They then offer a practical ""road map"" to guide the review-and-change process, complete with a comprehensive set of decision-support tools and numerous real-world examples.