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EXPORTING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
SUMMER 2012 PARTNERS
and adapt technologies to their own conditions."
Dr Horne says this kind of research could
not be conducted without the CCRG changes.
"The capacity building and institutional change
effected by this sort of reform is fundamental,"
"Collaborative competition will see the
priorities of individual provinces addressed
and we are hopeful it will result in agricultural
technologies, management systems and
knowledge that can be more successfully rolled
out because they have been proven on-farm
over several years---not just one."
The CCRG model has since been rolled out
nationwide, covering BPTPs in all 33 provinces
and the majority of their research budgets.
One of the key challenges under the new
competitive research environment is addressing
the fallout for scientists who are unsuccessful in
their funding application.
"There are about 3,000 researchers in
provincial institutes throughout Indonesia and
not all would receive funding under a CCRG
system," Dr Horne says. "We were concerned
that rapid and whole-scale rollout could cause
such problems, so we plan to continue support
for the further refinement of the system."
While the program is now using Indonesian
research funding, ACIAR's involvement will
continue over several years. "The ACIAR model
is about long-term partnership. Individual
researchers come and go but institutional
partnerships remain the foundation of our
collaboration," he says.
COMPETITIVE RESEARCH ADDRESSES
STRATEGIC PRIORITIES IN CAMBODIA
In Cambodia, competitive research is centred
on increasing the productivity of rice-based
farming systems, agricultural diversification
into non-rice field and horticultural crops and
ruminant livestock, and developing capacity for
more efficient use of soil and water resources.
ACIAR's principal regional coordinator for
Mekong countries Dr Gamini Keerthisinghe says
projects are predominantly helping smallholder
farmers "move from subsistence to market
The Cambodian Agricultural Research Fund
(CARF), established in 2002 and co-funded
by ACIAR and AusAID, continues to provide
Cambodian scientists with opportunities to
identify research priorities, design demand-
driven agricultural research projects, compete
for agricultural research funds and lead selected
CARF projects will be integrated into larger
programs under the Cambodia Agricultural
Value Chain (CAVAC) initiative, a five-year
undertaking launched in 2009 to accelerate
growth of agricultural production and
ACIAR is managing CAVAC's research and
extension component, which allocates funding
to national and regional institutions using the
Dr Keerthisinghe, says successful applicants
are addressing priorities including food security
and adaptation to climate change and variability.
"The Cambodian agriculture production
environment is, in general, harsher than the
fertile lowlands of the other countries in the
region," he says.
PARTNERSHIPS DELIVER MUTUAL BENEFITS
Agricultural research offers significant potential
for food productivity improvements and
economic growth across Indonesia---where
49% of the population lives on less than
US$2 per day and most are dependent on
agriculture---and Cambodia, where about 80%
of the population and most of the country's
poor rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
There are also significant mutual benefits from
this research for Australia.
Research in Indonesia, for example, is
addressing biosecurity concerns for both
countries in horticulture and livestock systems.
A project in the provinces of NTB and NTT is
conducting research on agronomic practices
and rhizobiology that can potentially benefit
peanut, mungbean and soybean crops in both
Dr Keerthisinghe says research partnerships
established between Cambodia and Australia
are improving rice germplasm, establishment
and productivity in both countries. They are also
strengthening tomato, chilli, sweet pepper and
leafy vegetable industries through adoption of
better production and postharvest practices.
ACIAR partnerships are helping to establish
effective disease surveillance, control policies
and systems to improve pest and disease
management in both countries.
EDUCATION STRENGTHENS INTERNATIONAL
While the collaborative research program
emphasises partnerships, ACIAR also supports
the longer-term delivery of research outcomes
through individual capacity building and
In-country training and international
postgraduate studies supported by ACIAR have
helped to equip Indonesian and Cambodian
scientists for senior roles and to shape change
in their respective countries.
ACIAR's John Dillon Memorial Fellowship
provides career development opportunities
for up to six young scientists and economists
each year, who develop leadership skills in
agricultural research management, policy and
extension technologies through exposure to
best-practice Australian organisations.
Dr Horne says many of the Fellows have
gone on to occupy influential government
positions in partner countries, fostering strong
"Our partnerships are key to promoting
positive views of Australia overseas," he says.
"As we work with partner countries over a long
period of time, networks develop that have
many unintended benefits and consequences."
THIRD-COUNTRY CONTRACTS BROKER
For the first time, ACIAR has contracted a foreign
university to manage a project in another region
as part of a third-country deal expected to
advance relations in South-East Asia.
Under an agreement between ACIAR and
Mataram University in NTB province, Indonesian
researchers are conducting a two-year program
to improve management and productivity of
Bali cattle in East Timor.
"We wanted to build a livestock research
program in East Timor and the East Timorese
were keen to develop linkages with Indonesia,
so we recognised this was an opportunity
to support the desire of both countries to
strengthen their ties," Dr Horne says. "With
Australia as third-party broker, the project will
create a stronger trilateral relationship."
The two-year initiative effectively allows
ACIAR's partner research agencies to become
project managers for the benefit of other
countries. If successful, Dr Horne says there are
several opportunities for cross-border research
collaboration using the same model. n
CONTACT: Dr Peter Horne, +61 2 6217 0522,
email@example.com; Dr Gamini
Keerthisinghe, +61 2 6217 0558,
"Our partnerships are key to
promoting positive views of
Australia overseas. As we
work with partner countries
over a long period of time,
networks develop that have
many unintended benefits and
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