Program implementation and coordination

Work and business plan 

GRiSP will be implemented through a 5-year rolling work and business plan addressing the six research and development themes described herein. Annual updates will be made for milestones and resource allocation. Annual financing plans will be developed by the PPMT with support from the PD/PMU and submitted to the OC for approval. GRiSP work plans will integrate milestones from major bilateral grants in a transparent manner to ensure a coherent research agenda financed through CGIAR Fund windows 1–3 as well as bilateral grants. Every 5 years, a full work and business plan review will be conducted in conjunction with the recurring strategic assessment of research priorities for international rice research (see chapter on strategic planning and impact assessment). Outcomes of the strategic assessment will provide the basis for developing a new 5-year work plan, and for major revisions in resource allocations. In the initial transitions of GRiSP (2011-12), more significant adjustments of the work plan may already be made on an annual basis, pending the outcomes of the first strategic assessment in 2010-11.
        The research in each of the six GRiSP themes will be implemented through a limited number of R&D product lines (families of demand-driven R&D products; between 3 and 6 product lines per theme). Product lines are functional aggregations of products, not managerial subunits. Detailed planning of activities and measurable milestones and resource allocations will be done at the product level, integrating the different funding sources (CGIAR Fund, other sources at the center level, co-investments by partners and other CRPs). Each product line will have a set of activities contributing to a maximum of five distinct R&D products, each with an annual investment value of $0.5 million to, in some cases, more than $3 million per year. Products can be global or regional. Each product line has a detailed logframe specifying products, the key activities, concrete measurable milestones, and outcomes over 5 years along a general 10-year roadmap. Milestones are always defined for rolling 5-year periods. Short-term outcomes refer to 5 years whereas long-term outcomes refer to 10 years. Clear responsibilities will be assigned to each milestone. 

Theme leaders

Each GRiSP theme will have a global theme leader (TL), who is also responsible for one of the three regions. Initially, the six TLs will be appointed by the lead center, IRRI, because it accounts for the largest research input and funding attribution in GRiSP. In addition to providing the overall theme leadership, the six TLs will therefore also lead the activities in Asia. AfricaRice and CIAT will appoint regional theme leaders to coordinate the theme-related research in their respective target region. The global TL will interact with these regional TLs to facilitate collaboration and synergies among the three regions for a specific theme and across themes in GRiSP. Similarly, leaders of the six themes within a region will interact on a regular basis to facilitate collaboration and synergies among themes at the regional, subregional, national, or local level. Theme leaders will interact closely with product development leaders and partners to plan, execute, and monitor the research on the different product lines.
        All participating CGIAR centers will change their current research management structures to fully align with the new GRiSP themes and products. This will take place in late 2010 as part of the implementation plan. Hence, GRiSP theme leaders will also be the leaders of the respective research units or programs in their institutions. In the case of AfricaRice, the current research program structure is already largely aligned with the GRiSP themes. IRRI will shift from its current research matrix to a new structure based on GRiSP themes to ensure greater management efficiency. 

Product development teams and leaders

The product level is where activities for product development take place, executed by global or regional research teams composed of the primary research centers in GRiSP and their direct research partners. Product development teams also interact with numerous boundary partners interested in further adaptation or uptake of research outputs. The product level is also where resources will be connected in terms of the different funding sources for it (Windows 1–3, bilateral grants, co-investments by strategic GRiSP partners). 
        Each product in GRiSP will have a product development leader (PDL), that is, a scientist from IRRI, AfricaRice, CIAT, or another strategic partner with a comparative leadership advantage for this product. The PDLs will be appointed by the PPMT in consultation with the TLs. Typically, scientists who are already coordinators of major bilateral grants will also assume this new role of PDLs in GRiSP, ensuring coherence, low transaction costs, and synergies between different grants and other sources. In many cases, a PDL will lead several products. 
        Product development leaders will facilitate the development of annual work plans, spelling out major activities, responsibilities, budgets, and funding gaps for product development. Product development may be at the global or regional level, depending on the nature of the product. Within each product, leadership for specific milestones will be assigned to the institution with the major accountability for it. Each institution involved in a particular R&D product may assign an institutional lead scientist for that product, as part of the overall product development team and with responsibilities for specific milestones. Planning and reporting on progress will be done at the product level and aggregated up to the product line and GRiSP theme by the TL, allowing for a transparent investment and monitoring mechanism. 
        The six themes (and products in them) will be well connected with each other and also with other CRPs of the Consortium through joint research projects that focus on cross-cutting, rice ecosystem–specific, or regional management solutions. Funding for these problem-oriented, interdisciplinary projects will initially come from bilateral grants and gradually evolve toward more funding from the overall GRiSP level. The TLs and PDLs will develop an efficient communication strategy among the scientists and key partners involved. 
        In summary, the centers will align their management structures under GRiSP. A theme leader will primarily interact with (i) the PPMT, (ii) the two other regional focal points for that theme, (iii) TLs of other themes, and (iv) about 10 PDLs. The PDLs are the key action points for implementing GRiSP, with transparent, decentralized accountability for critical resources at that level. They represent primarily active scientists who already have much experience in leading research at that level. We will also seek appropriate gender equality at this research management level.

Stimulating new research and partnerships

GRiSP will use two mechanisms to explore new frontiers in research and catalyze new partnerships in research or delivery. In addition to resource allocations to themes and their products in the 5-year work plan, a flexible research fund for New Frontiers Research will be created and managed by the PPMT as part of the overall GRiSP budget. This mechanism will be used, in a nonbureaucratic manner, to issue seed grants for “blue sky” research in promising, cutting-edge research areas, which may later evolve to become full new R&D products in GRiSP. The PPMT, as part of the annual work and business planning process, may commission such specific research to strategic partners on a competitive and noncompetitive basis.
Moreover, under the centrally managed Global Program Support budget of GRiSP, a partnership development fund will be created to (i) initialize collaboration between GRiSP scientists and new research partners (e.g., travel grants, staff exchange, small research support grants) and (ii) provide small initial support to grass-roots-level extension work of NGOs, farmers’ organizations, and other groups that wish to collaborate with GRiSP, particularly in Theme 6. The PPMT will be responsible for developing simple, transparent mechanisms for approving such grants, which will then be facilitated by the PMU. Funds for these activities will have to be provided by the new CGIAR Fund and in addition to current levels of unrestricted and restricted funding to the CGIAR centers in GRiSP. This is vital for enabling a wider range of new partnerships right from the beginning of GRiSP. Although the funds initially available for this may be only modest, we hope to gradually grow the volume of these two mechanisms to about 10% of the annual GRiSP budget in order to have a vital, sustainable mechanism for innovation and partnership development. 

Gender strategy

The DGs of IRRI, AfricaRice, and CIAT will each assign a senior gender equality specialist for implementing the gender strategy in GRiSP, which will aim to enhance the efficiency and impact of GRiSP by considering gender issues in implementing the six global R&D themes. This gender leadership team will guide scientists in incorporating the gender dimension in their research. The team will also provide expertise in ensuring that surveys and studies are appropriately designed with a gender perspective. It will also disseminate findings, strengthen networking/collaboration with gender researchers in partner organizations within the sector, and identify tools, methods, and resources for capacity development. 
The gender focal points will participate in GRiSP gender activities and provide the necessary specific feedback on gender-sensitive issues addressed by GRiSP. The gender impact will be a collective responsibility of GRiSP and the gender focal points will help the system achieve this. GRiSP’s gender specialists will collaborate with participatory research and gender specialists in other CRPs. Strategic research on thematic gender issues in the region and worldwide will be conducted in collaboration with IFPRI. In Africa, links will be established with the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) program. In Latin America, links will be established with the Program on Participatory Research and Gender Analysis (PRGA).
Gender activities not embedded in the GRiSP themes will require human and financial resources. Financial resources will be provided to the gender leadership team for organizing meetings and participating in gender-related programs in other forums, and in system-wide or intercenter activities, hiring additional gender experts, supporting new projects, and developing training modules and materials that highlight best practices of addressing gender issues in rice research for development, and conducting training of GRiSP researchers on gender issues. To meet these needs, GRiSP, as part of the global program coordination budget, will create a central fund for umbrella gender activities, to be managed by the PD under the direction of the PPMT.

Capacity-building strategy

Most science and extension capacity-building activities will be embedded under the GRiSP research themes and funded there, and also through bilateral grants. The shortage of rice research capacity in Africa will be addressed through the establishment of research task forces, pooling scarce resources and building new capacity. GRiSP theme 6 focuses on rice extension capacity development on all three continents, with special emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. To address global science capacity needs through new initiatives (see the section on capacity development under Program Design), GRiSP, as part of the global program coordination budget, will create a central fund for umbrella science capacity-building support, to be managed by the PD under the direction of the PPMT.


The PD and PMU will be responsible for all internal communication in GRiSP. The PMU will manage and maintain a simple GRiSP Web communication platform for researchers involved in GRiSP, focusing on making key information quickly and widely available, maintaining an effective repository of key documents and information, interactive communication tools for product teams, shared calendars, and online monitoring of program progress. The PMU will also (i) develop and implement an effective electronic information distribution system to ensure that all GRiSP scientists and partners have equal access to key information and (ii) organize regular phone/video conferences of the PPMT, among TLs, and for product development teams to enable better teamwork through a high level of direct interaction. Reports will be sent by the regional theme leaders to the PMU, which will compile them for review by the PPMT. Reviewed and approved reports will then be forwarded by the program director to the Consortium Board/CEO and the Fund Council. Technical reports on all aspects of GRiSP activities, regardless of funding source, will be mapped against milestones. The PMU will prepare a brief annual report to supplement the annual reports of the participating centers and partners.
        The DGs of IRRI, AfricaRice, and CIAT will each assign a senior communications specialist for implementing the external communication strategy in GRiSP. Other primary research partners may also appoint communications experts to join this GRiSP communications and media relations team. IRRI as the lead center will lead and coordinate the external communication strategy developed by this team. An annual budget will be provided from the global program coordination budget of GRiSP for supporting external communication activities. 
        GRiSP’s general communication strategy will follow the pathways to research uptake guidelines on maximizing dissemination of communication products, as stated in the international initiative on Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research and Development (CIARD, The vision of CIARD is to “make public domain agricultural research information and knowledge truly accessible to all." Together with the PD and the TLs, the GRiSP communications team will develop and implement an efficient process for the synthesis of key GRiSP outputs in high-quality public information and media materials. The main external communication vehicles for GRiSP will be
    (i)  Knowledge and communication products (text, image, video, and audio outputs) aimed at specific stakeholder groups in the research and development sector, but also for the general public.
    (ii) The well-established and widely circulated Rice Today magazine (quarterly) as a re-focused flagship magazine for GRiSP.
    (iii) A public GRiSP Web site (linked with the sites of the participating centers and those of strategic partners).
    (iv) New social media, particularly using Internet 2 technologies, to connect people and to bring the GRiSP mission, vision, objectives, and progress to the attention of the general public.
    (v)  Specific media releases, white papers, and media events on food security, climate change, and other subjects, targeting      national, regional, and global political bodies.

    The CGIAR centers in GRiSP will release their information products (scientific, popular, and promotional publications; Web pages; photographs, videos, and other multimedia presentations) as much as possible under a suitable open-content license, such as Creative Commons. 

Intellectual property management

GRiSP will produce a large amount of intellectual property (IP)—materials, technologies, and tools ranging from new traits, varieties, and management technologies to information databases and publications. The current IP policies of the centers and donors involved in GRiSP will be applied to managing this IP within the context of international public goods. Our aim is to harmonize the IP policies and IP management procedures within GRiSP over time. Generally, GRiSP’s products will be widely available to all countries and users, that is, intellectual property developed by a center will be made available to any public- and private-sector entity. When appropriate and fully consistent with its mandate, international agreements on genetic resources, and IP policies of its donors and partners, an institution in GRiSP may seek protection of its intellectual property. The following general principles will guide IP management in GRiSP:
  • The primary beneficiaries of GRiSP research and training activities are rice farmers and consumers, especially in the developing countries.  
  • GRiSP centers and their partners are committed to keeping intellectual assets developed by GRiSP, including germplasm, inventions, improvements, data, processes, technologies, software, trademarks, and publications, as freely available as possible to any public- or private-sector entity.
  • To the extent possible and when appropriate, publication or contractual provisions will be used to ensure that such information, innovation, or material remains available for use by the public and private sector.
  • Provided it is fully consistent with their mandate, international agreements on genetic resources, and IP policies of their donors and partners, centers participating in GRiSP may, in exceptional cases, such as when it is necessary to prevent misappropriation or to ensure wider dissemination of their research products, seek protection of their intellectual assets or impose restrictions on their use by others.   
  • Any revenue generated from management of IP, including royalties and licensing fees, will be used to support research and capacity-building programs and those of its national partners. 
  • Centers participating in GRiSP shall ensure proper stewardship of their intellectual property as well as that belonging to other parties for which permission to use has been granted.