SEARCA, through the Research and Thought Leadership Department (RTLD), conducts relevant deep research in agricultural and rural development to produce knowledge and contribute to policies and programs that create transformational innovations at the local, national, and regional levels. RTLD initiates thought leadership and collaborates with relevant organizations and institutions in implementing on-the-ground interventions that improve the lives of farmers and rural communities. Through the SEARCA support programs and the knowledge platform, it will continually engage Southeast Asian (SEA) researchers and scholars to cater to emerging trends and issues to help provide suitable technical services to SEA countries and the ASEAN. Aligning these services with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SEARCA aims to create big ripples of impact that will reach the farmers more effectively.
For SEARCA's Eleventh Five-Year Plan (11th FYP), RTLD will be implementing programs and activities under three functional areas, namely Research for Development (R4D), Policy and Program Advisory (PPA), and Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources (AFNR) Knowledge Platform.
RTLD contributes to the production of various forms of knowledge resources generated from its research and related activities. These knowledge products are made available to various stakeholders online and/or in print. Moreover, RTLD continues to spearhead the implementation of research and travel grants as well as the Fellows programs. In its 11th FYP, the Center through RTLD, will also be offering individual and collaborative research grants under a mentorship program, and a research internship program. Likewise, SEARCA launches the young achievers' award in agricultural and rural development (ARD) in Southeast Asia as part of its strategic intent to strengthen transformational leadership for ARD as well as promote youth engagement in agriculture. The Award aims to recognize the role of young individuals in accelerating transformation through agricultural innovation that contributes to the achievement of SDGs.
SEARCA's steadfast commitment to strategically deliver transformative outcomes and impacts to key partners and stakeholders, particularly farmers and farming families, the Research and Thought Leadership Department (RTLD) will produce meaningful research in agricultural and rural development that will create innovations leading to transformational change. These research for development (R4D) will include:
SEARCA continues to conduct research studies in collaboration with partner institutions that are evidence-based, comparative, scoping, and integrative, including among others the following:
Moreover, the Center has successfully implemented the following research projects and studies that staged significant outcomes and impacts in the region:
Central to SEARCA's resolve to be strategically visible and more relevant for all stakeholders and strategic agricultural and rural ecologies, the RTLD will provide policy and program advisory services, thought leadership, and policy research/analysis services for all Southeast Asian countries at the local, national, and regional levels. These services, aimed at providing evidence-based information and recommendations for the development of policies and regulatory frameworks in support of agricultural and rural development (ARD) in the region, will be implemented through activities such as:
As SEARCA commits to accelerate transformation that elevates the quality of life of agricultural families, the Center currently embarks on analysis of public policy researches in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to develop background papers and use them for the development of a modular program that will contribute to the implementation of the main objective of the Global Action Plan of the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028, and to serve as a tool for countries to develop public policies for the support of family farming.
In addition to this, SEARCA implements a collaborative policy research study that aims to provide evidence-based policy formulation and planning as well as cross-country analysis of different stages of rural development and transformation in China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Dubbed as Rural Regional Transformation: Pathways, Policy Sequencing, and Development Outcomes in China, the Philippines, and Vietnam (RRT), the study is designed to develop a better understanding of different aspects of rural transformation including the following: pathways of rural transformation; sets of policies that can contribute to the success of rural transformation; policies and their sub-national and regional level impacts to growth, equity, and poverty at various stages of rural development; and risks associated to different pathways and policy sequencing.
With SEARCA recognizing the importance of having an accurate, highly credible, sound, timely, and reliable source of information that will fuel future research activities and various knowledge-sharing initiatives to accelerate agricultural transformation through agricultural innovation, the RTLD leads in setting up the AFNR Knowledge Platform. This platform aims to create an enabling environment that will accelerate agricultural innovations by creating opportunities for knowledge sharing and learning with various stakeholders. Specifically, it aims to:
SEARCA, in partnership with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), implements a project to demonstrate the potential of data and modeling platforms to build capacity for agriculture researchers in using data from different sources and to access modeling and data analytic tools. This project will then focus on the development of a tool called AgPractices&Domains Platform that aims to target integrated pest and disease management options in rice based cropping systems considering abiotic stresses and biotic stresses.
Meanwhile, for the past few decades, SEARCA has established science-based information and knowledge portals on agricultural and rural development with particular thematic focus on food and nutrition security, agricultural biotechnology, and climate change adaptation for agriculture and natural resource management in Southeast Asia. These knowledge portals provided access to scholarly resources and publications, R&D findings, best practices, insightful lessons, and success stories from SEARCA and other relevant institutions' initiatives in the region.
In line with the Center's strategic intent of accelerating transformation through agricultural innovation, SEARCA, through RTLD, provides opportunities for scholars and development practitioners to the advocacy and promotion of ARD through research and related initiatives. The grants and fellows program are among SEARCA's interventions to provide strategic capacity building and institutional development services for Southeast Asia and beyond. These opportunities include:
In SEARCA's pursuit to honor excellence, leadership, and service in advancing agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia, the young achiever award in ARD will be given by SEARCA, in collaboration with key partners, to exemplary young individuals in the region. The objective of the award is for re-engaging the youth and recognizing young individuals who have advanced ARD in the region through their leadership, innovation, and achievement. These young individuals have demonstrated workmanship and commitment in accelerating transformation through agricultural innovation that contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
From 2008 to 2015, SEARCA has awarded the Dioscoro L. Umali Achievement Award in Agricultural Development to recognize exemplary contributions in the field of agriculture and rural development. It is a collaboration among SEARCA, the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST, Philippines), and Dioscoro L. Umali Foundation, Inc. (DLUF). The achievement award covers a full range of fields including plant and animal sciences, land and water management, environment and natural resource management, technology development, social organization, food security, poverty reduction, economics and business, and policy and governance, among others.
Research studies and findings are translated into knowledge products that are made available to various stakeholders. Moreover, RTLD contributes to the production of various forms of knowledge resources that include:
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