No. 1448 7 January 2011

Pursuing ICRISAT’s new strategy: New O&M setup

MG members File photo of Management Group at Patancheru.

The year 2011 marks a milestone in ICRISAT’s journey towards a prosperous, food secure and resilient dryland tropics as we pursue our new Strategic Plan to 2020. As indicated in ICRISAT’s Business Plan and enunciated by a memo from Director General William Dar, a new management and organization (O&M) structure has taken effect from 1 January 2011. This change was made to implement the Strategic Plan, which is anchored on Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) and aligned with the new CGIAR.

Under the new O&M setup, the Director General will continue to serve as the Institute’s top executive and main representative to stakeholders globally, to report to the Governing Board (GB) and to link and interact with the new CGIAR Consortium CEO and Consortium Board on relevant major aspects of ICRISAT’s activities. The Director General will chair the Management Group (MG), our senior management team. The MG membership includes the Deputy Director General for Research (DDG-R), Directors for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), West and Central Africa (WCA), Communication, Finance, Human Resources and Operations, and Resource Planning and Marketing.

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Under the Director General’s supervision, the oversight, integration and coordination of our R4D portfolio will rest with the DDG-Research, who will chair the Research Committee (RC). The RC will play an advisory role to the MG on R4D policies and priorities. It will also promote a systems perspective to our agenda by defining top-level outcomes from which priority systems within the IMOD framework are derived. The RC membership includes the Directors of ESA and WCA, the four Research Program Directors, RPM Director, Global Leader-Knowledge Sharing and Innovation and the Head of the Impact Assessment Office.

The research-for-development agenda will be achieved through the following Research Programs to be led by a Research Program Director as follows:

Director, Resilient Dryland Systems – Peter Craufurd,

Director, Markets, Institutions and Policies –MCS Bantilan,

Director, Grain Legumes –CLL Gowda,

Director, Dryland Cereals – Oscar Riera-Lizarazu.

The new Research Programs on Grain Legumes (dealing with chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut) and Dryland Cereals (dealing with sorghum and pearl millet) will integrate cutting-edge tools in biotechnology for enhancing the efficiency of crop improvement research.

An Assistant Director each for ESA and WCA will be designated, and Country Representatives in the regions will assist and represent their ESA/WCA Directors as necessary. Regional Coordinating Committees in ESA and WCA, chaired by the Director of each region and composed of Assistant Directors/Country Representatives and Research Program representatives will provide support to the Directors on research program and regional issues.

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SIMLESA Tanzania Review and Planning meeting held in Arusha

SIMLESA Participants of the SIMLESA meeting in Tanzania.

The annual review and planning meeting of the collaborative SIMLESA project funded by the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and led by CIMMYT, was held in Arusha, Tanzania on 15 and 16 December 2010. The meeting was opened by the Director of the Department of Research and Development, Dr Fidelis Myaka, and ICRISAT was represented at the meeting by Drs Said Silim and Ganga Rao. Other participants included scientists from CIMMYT and the Tanzanian NARS.

On 15 December, national program partners presented progress made under various objectives, which covered markets and value chains; crop management including conservation agriculture; and maize-legume breeding. In addition, the work plan for year 2 was discussed and participants identified both medium and long duration pigeonpea varieties for evaluation under maize-pigeonpea intercropping systems. Ways of ensuring sustainable seed delivery systems for pigeonpea were discussed and agreed on.

Said Silim shared his long term experiences on pigeonpea breeding, on-farm activities in Tanzania and farmers’ preferences with respect to maize-pigeonpea intercropping and suitable varieties for target regions.

On 16 December, CGIAR partners presented, discussed and agreed on the work plan for Year 2. ICRISAT’s presentation was given by Ganga Rao. Resource allocations were also agreed upon.

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ABI conducts capacity building program for NAIP BPDs

ABI Participants of the capacity building program at TNAU, Coimbatore.

Agri-Business Incubator (ABI-ICRISAT) conducted a capacity building program on Evaluation, Valuation and Business plan development of technologies from 20 to 24 December at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore. The training program was attended by 40 participants from 10 Business Planning and Development (BPD) units - Business Managers, Project Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs. Dr Sanjeev Saxena, Principal Scientist, (Policy & IPR), Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) was also present for the entire session.

Dr Siva Subramaniam, Director, Agri-Business Development, TNAU, welcomed the participants and wished them a successful training. On the first day, S Aravazhi gave a presentation on “Need for evaluation, valuation and business plan development of technology-listing”. The session was very interactive. Various models for technology valuation were explained. During the course of the training program, he also presented on commercial valuation of technologies, business plan of technologies and an exercise on smart report preparation.

ABI SM Karuppanchetty makes a presentation at the workshop.

Mr Karthikeyan, a consultant from Crafitti, presented “Prioritizing Ideas at ICRISAT with the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP)”. He facilitated technology selection for each of the BPDs using a structured decision making process, the Analytical Hierarchy Process, which was preliminarily done using a set of generic criteria.

The training program was an opportunity for two of the successful entrepreneurs from BPD, TNAU – Mr Rajkumar and Mrs Poongothai – to share the success stories of their innovations, “Automated Irrigation System” and “Homemade Snack Foods from minor millets”, and their “agripreneurial” journey with BPD, TNAU.

Surya Mani Tripathy, a resource person from ICRISAT, presented on Intellectual Property (IP) Valuation of the technology. He spoke about the commercial exploitation of technology and how intellectual property strategies are formulated from a broad perspective to support business and R&D strategies, and the steps in IP management. The session was taken forward with the concept of IP Valuation and Technology transfer. He also conducted a session on “Effective Negotiation Skills”. The participants were given a case study and were asked to give a live performance on negotiation.

Mr Gurukripa, a consultant, pre¬sented “Preparation of bankable project report (financial)”.
He brought out insights from the entrepreneur’s perspective on how to gear up for bringing innovation into the market. In this context, he explained various business models, accumulation of capital for investment and how to strike a balance between value and risk.

As a concluding exercise the BPD units were asked to shortlist their ICAR-Zonal Technology Management (ZTM) BPD technologies based on the standardized tool developed. This exercise gave an idea of how to shortlist the technologies. Each ZTM-BPD unit’s output was presented to the participants and the resource persons Dr Saxena and Dr Kalpana Sastry, Head, ARSMP Division, NAARM, ICAR.

The organizers also launched the website of the Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubators (NIABI) during the training program and Mr Raghavendra Prasad, CEO of Wifin technologies,
an incubatee of ABI-ICRISAT, presented on the online operations and website user interface.

On the concluding day, Dr Siva Subramaniam gave the vote of thanks. The session was graced by Dr Subbian, Registrar, TNAU and Dr Agrawal, National Coordinator-NAIP, who gave away certificates of participa¬tion. Dr Saxena and SM Karuppanchetty also made presentations during the session. The training program concluded with a Review and Monitoring session for all the BPDs.

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Hari Upadhyaya appointed to Crop Science Society of America Fellows Committee

Hari Upadhyaya

Hari D Upadhyaya, Assistant Research Program Director-Grain Legumes, has been appointed to the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) Fellows Committee for two years starting 1 January. Dr Upadhyaya, a Fellow of the CSSA (2009) and American Society of Agronomy (2008) has been appointed to this important committee in recognition of his outstanding scientific achievements, international recognition and commitment to agricultural research. Director General William Dar and Research Program Director – Grain Legumes, Dr CLL Gowda, congratulated Hari Upadhyaya on this splendid achievement, which is yet another laurel to his credit.


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David Harris

Dr David Harris, a British national, joined ICRISAT-Nairobi as Principal Scientist – Agroecosystems/Climate Change, in Research Program – Resilient Dryland Systems, on 3 January.

Dave has a PhD in Physiological Plant Ecology (1982) from the University of East Anglia, UK.

Prior to joining ICRISAT, he was Deputy Director of Centre for Advanced Research in International Agricultural Development (CARIAD), Bangor University, UK. He had collaborated on two DFID RiUP-funded East Africa ‘Best Bets’ projects – “Biological control of Striga“ and “Improving crop yield by nutrient seed priming”, in Kenya, and also provided coordination and technical backstopping for DFID RiUP-funded ‘Best Bets’ project – “Participatory Crop Improvement in South Asia” in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. He was involved in organization and training of, and support for, Community Seed Producer groups in Nepal and India including his innovation in forming private sector companies to sustain seed supply and production of new farmer-friendly varieties through Client Oriented Breeding. Earlier, in 2006, he was involved with a World Bank Institute initiative on agricultural adaptation to climate change in West Africa and was a consultant for the project selection process of the IDRC Climate Change Programme.

We welcome Dr Harris and his family to Team ICRISAT and wish him all success.

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Farewell to Dr John P Dimes

John P Dimes

After over 13 years of service with ICRISAT, Dr John P Dimes, Principal Scientist-Farming Systems Modeling, Bulawayo, concluded his assignment on 31 December 2010.

Dr Dimes was Special Project Scientist (CARMASAT) at Patancheru until the end of May 1999. Subsequently he moved to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in June 1999 to accept the position of Scientist – Farming Systems Modeling, Natural Resources Management Program (NRMP) in IRS cadre.

Team ICRISAT wishes him and his family all success in their new endeavors.

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