Big data and agricultural research: Results of online survey for CAS Secretariat commissioned independent evaluation
The CGIAR Advisory Services Shared Secretariat (CAS Secretariat), in line with its mandate and 2021 workplan, commissioned an independent evaluation team of subject matter experts to evaluate the work of the Platform between 2017 and mid-2021. While the evaluation is still ongoing, some preliminary survey results are already available to share.
The digital revolution has changed the ways of working, accessing information, and connecting with each other. Over the past three decades, the world saw a tremendous increase in the amount of data that can be recorded, shared, and stored.
How can this revolution be used to create a more efficient global food system, in a world facing climate variability and environmental degradation? Can an increase in the quantity and quality of open big data accelerate and enhance the impact of international agricultural research?
As a response to those questions, CGIAR invests in the curation and maintenance of its data and knowledge products through a five-year (2017-2021) CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.
In its 2016 proposal, CGIAR defined big data as “harmonized, interoperable, and contextually integrated datasets and publications from multiple disciplines relevant for CGIAR’s research and development goals.” The Platform’s main goal is to increase the “impact” of agricultural development by embracing big data approaches to solve development problems faster, better and at a greater scale than before.
Has the Platform delivered on its objectives?
The CAS Secretariat, in line with its mandate and 2021 workplan, commissioned an independent evaluation team of subject matter experts in geospatial data analytics, bioinformatics, development and disaster resilience, and monitoring and evaluation to evaluate the work of the Platform between 2017 and mid-2021. The evaluation started in July 2021. It applies both qualitative and quantitative methods, including an online survey-approach and methods described in the inception report.
While the evaluation is still ongoing, some preliminary survey results are already available to share. As many as 106 respondents were recorded, 58% internal to CGIAR or its research programs and 42% external. Most participants in the survey were employed within a CGIAR Center and/or were members to one or more Communities of Practice.
For more information about the evaluation and survey results, read the full blog published by the CAS Secretariat here.
Feature photo: A farmer tests the SeedAssure application in a field in Kiboko, Kenya. Jerome Bossuet / CIMMYT.
November 23, 2021
Monitoring, evaluation and learning consultant