The scaling of innovations (novel technologies, products, services, management practices, organisational models and/or institutional arrangements) is a key requirement for achieving development impact at scale. Impact never arises from an isolated innovation or change, but involves the uptake of multiple interdependent changes across different actors, levels and spheres, including the private sector. Thus, research for development programmes need to engage with multiple scaling processes and partners simultaneously, and consider both the 'up-scaling' of novel technologies, practices and arrangements, as well as the 'down-scaling' of the currently dominant ones.
The CGIAR initiative 'Excellence in Agronomy' uses a unique and novel approach to foster a coherent set of scaling processes. Instead of pushing a particular innovation that is deemed useful by researchers, it starts from a stated demand for agronomic solutions stated by an active scaling partner. Identified demands are further articulated, refined, developed and operationalized as a 'Use Case' that more precisely defines a particular scope for an intervention, including agronomy products, a zone of influence, a relevant network, user-profiles and process agreements. An assumed key advantage of this approach is that it builds on real rather than assumed demands, and starts from initiatives and networks that are already working towards scaling and innovation rather than bringing partners together from scratch.
We are looking for a PhD candidate who is interested to study this new demand-led scaling approach. Relevant lines of investigation may include:
- how demands are articulated by scaling partners and whose demands are eventually being served and whose not?
- whether and how the approach changes and disrupts ingrained modes of working in AR4D and whether it fosters conducive and effective collaboration and partnerships towards scaling and impact?
- how the operationalization and effectiveness of the demand-led approach application differs across contexts and regions?
Organisation of the PhD-research project
- Develop a PhD-research proposal to be accepted by the Wageningen School of Social Sciences
- Develop and conduct a Training and Supervision Plan
- Conduct research on the topic described in collaboration with the monitoring and evaluation unit of Excellence in Agronomy
- Write scientific articles about the findings and submit them to relevant international scientific journals
- Participate in feedback and learning sessions organised by Excellence in Agronomy
- Present findings at seminars and conferences
The position is made possible by the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy initiative, and is hosted by Wageningen University. The PhD-candidate will be a member of the Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS) of Wageningen University. The PhD-candidate will be located in the Netherlands for the first and the final 10 months at the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation group in Wageningen, and be based at IITA in Nairobi for the remaining period. The research will include case-studies in several parts of the world, and hence there is a need for considerable travel and periods abroad.