BAR, SEARCA to benchmark agri R4D

The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) will conduct a benchmarking study in agriculture research for development (R4D).

Titled "Benchmarking of the Agricultural Research for Development (R4D) Management System with Selected Asian Countries," SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio said the project aims to assess and analyze the R4D coordination and management activities of institutions that fund agriculture and fisheries to enhance DA-BAR's implementation process of the agricultural R4D management system.

Gregorio said the project will involve different participatory learning approaches in gathering the best practices of select Asian countries and identifying how these practices can be integrated into BAR's R4D grant system.

In the recently held inception meeting, Ma. Christina Corales, program specialist and officer in charge of SEARCA Emerging Innovation for Growth Department (EIGD), said the agency is interested in how different government agencies select, fund and implement R4D activities.

"SEARCA looks forward to working on this joint project with DA-BAR, particularly in piloting this benchmarking study to learn the best practices which can further refine and enhance the bureau's research for the development grant management system," Corales added.

Kris Thea Marie Hernandez, DA-BAR Impact Evaluation and Policy Section head, said they recognize SEARCA's value proposition in the agricultural R4D project.

"This is very laudable, and we recognize Seacra's wide network and potential to establish connections that can be beneficial to both DA-BAR and the funding agencies to be benchmarked," Hernandez said.

During the meeting, joining virtually was Cynthia de Guia, BAR Planning and Monitoring Unit head, who saw as a positive development the designation of Merlyne Paunlagui and Dulce Elazegui as study leaders.

Paunlaqui and Elazegui were part of the completed BAR-funded project titled "Enhancing Innovation in Agricultural Research and Development" that is a similar initiative.

According to SEARCA, also part of their team are program specialist Imelda Batangantang, and project associates Stella Faye Estrella and Lonnaflor Germo, all from EIGD.

SEARCA said their team will start the data collection activities next month that will cover selected Asian institutions, which are expected to share good practices, innovations and relevant policies to help improve DA-BAR's R4D coordination and management, including operationalizing programs related to technology business incubation.

Also during the meeting, Raymond Patrick Cabrera, BAR Research Program Development Division acting head, said the collaboration with SEARCA was very fitting for the project, given the years both institutions have partnered for various initiatives.