Research Into Use 

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The Research Into Use (RIU) programme aims to accumulate and evaluate evidence to shape and share lessons on how best to enable innovation in the agricultural sector so as to achieve social and economic gains in diverse developing country settings.

By innovation we mean the application of new knowledge, or of existing knowledge used in new ways and contexts, to do something better. For RIU:

  • Knowledge includes information, technologies, practices and policies
  • Agriculture includes crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, and forestry – from primary production, through processing, storage and input and output markets, to consumption
RIU is primarily a research programme. In undertaking our research, however, we also aim to put existing research products into use at scale.

This is not simply a question of how better use can be made of the large stockpile of agricultural research products that remain on the shelf – although that was one of the original rationales for establishing RIU.

The research focus of RIU is the relationship between agrcultural research and innovation – working towards identifying better processes to get research into use, rather than how to put specific research products into use.

24 December 2009
RIU Best Bets project Well Told Stories featured in Times on-line
See summary of the project21 December 2009
RIU Best Bets, round 1: East, Central and Southern Africaapplicants pass the due diligence stage – clearing the way for contracts to be issued16 December 2009
RIU Best Bets West African call – round 2 launched. Closing date for submission of concept notes 29 January 201015 December 2009
RIU project on sleeping sickness featured on BBC on-line

This approach responds to extensive evidence that suggests that agricultural innovation is very often not the result of simply transferring research products to farmers, entrepreneurs and policy makers. More usually research promotes innovation only when it is embedded in the wide set of relationships and processes which help shape ideas and put them into use. 

The key research objective for RIU is to tease out how a range of different approaches impact on making the best use of agricultural research as a policy instrument for development. This will involve looking at timing, settings, contexts, people, policies and institutions. In seeking answers to this complex question, RIU aims to provide guidance (but not a blueprint) to those seeking to make better use of agricultural research as a tool to bring about social and economic development, thereby helping to shape future practice and policy.

RIU is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). We intend to build on past investments by DFID and others in agricultural research, especially the research outputs of the DFID-funded Renewable Natural Resources Research Strategy (RNRRS) . We are the first programme to be funded under DFID’s 2006 Strategy for Research on Sustainable Agriculture (SRSA)

RIU is also intended to have a good fit with regional initiatives, such as the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Further information about RIU

  • Who will benefit?
  • Components of RIU
  • RIU’s approach
  • Research design
  • RIU’s rationale
  • RIU history
  • RIU’s management and structure