Summary: As part of the collaboration between CIFOR/FTA and RRU, we have reviewed literature on knowledge mobilization, knowledge brokering, transdisciplinarity and sustainability science, we have developed conceptual and theoretical frameworks for solutions-oriented research, we have adapted theory-based evaluation methods to a research-for-development context, and we have conducted a series of case studies to analyze the outcomes of completed research projects. We have learned that CIFOR/FTA research has multiple potential pathways to impact. High quality science remains essential, but there is need and opportunity to increase the effectiveness of our research through a range of partnerships, engagement and the co-production of knowledge. Different audiences/stakeholders can have very different perceptions of research generally and of a specific piece of research, and different actors in a change process need different kinds of research products and services. This underlines the need for more explicit and deliberate planning and implementation to focus on the most strategic pathways and to build in appropriate mechanisms to realize those pathways. Engagement is important, as is recognized in CIFOR’s 3 pillars. However, there is plenty of scope to improve in this area. There is also increasing attention to the “co-production of knowledge” and a few good examples of successful approaches and outcomes. These approaches have real costs in time, money, intellectual energy, and also risk and tradeoffs, for example between activism and scientific credibility. The session will review lessons learned from the literature and from CIFOR/FTA outcome evaluation case studies and it will raise issues and questions for discussion during the session (and after) to help guide program and project planning, design and implementation.


Key issues the session will address:

- Evolving concepts and approaches for solutions-oriented research

- The CGIAR Quality-of-Research for Development (QoR4D) Framework

- Theoretical and practical lessons on knowledge mobilization, brokering and translation (K*)

- Harvesting lessons from the experience of session participants



Presenter: Brian Belcher

Moderator: Bethany Davies


Session format:

Seminar-style presentation followed by breakout groups discussing:

1. What lessons can you share about successful (or unsuccessful) approaches to “knowledge co-production?”

2. What does “engagement” mean in an international-public-goods/policy-oriented-research context? What should individual researchers, projects and CIFOR as an organization do differently to improve engagement?

3. What are the most strategically important impact pathways for CIFOR/FTA? What can be done to realize those pathways more effectively?


Participants: Research staff, communications staff


Recommended reading:


Additional reading:


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