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19.07.2017 12:22 Age: 3 yrs
Category: General HORTINLEA

Closing the knowledge gap between research, policy and practice

How can HORTINLEA research results be clustered and used sustainably? Participants of a roundtable discussed these questions for a new SLE-study. ©Sönke Marahrens

©Sönke Marahrens

©Sönke Marahrens

What are the results achieved thus far in the HORTINLEA project? How can the various results from the HORTINLEA project and its sub-projects (SPs) be disseminated and used after ending in July 2018? How can the knowledge gap between existing knowledge, policy, research and practice regarding African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) be closed? These and other questions were discussed during the High-Level Roundtable on 4th July 2017 at the Centre for Rural Development (SLE) in Berlin, organised by a team of young professionals from SLE who are preparing a study on this topic. Representatives of the HORTINLEA board and several SPs discussed the study concept and influencing factors such as preliminary HORTINLEA results.

SLE-study on circular knowledge exchange

In the beginning, the SLE research team presented its study concept. The study “Circular knowledge exchange for food and nutrition security - Establishing a sustainable knowledge and innovation network for African indigenous vegetables in Kenya” aims at closing the existing knowledge gap between research, policy and practice with regard to AIVs. In order to achieve this aim, inclusive and sustainable knowledge exchange and dissemination mechanisms will be developed. Secondly, the SLE research team will create a concept for an AIV innovation network, the Knowledge and Innovation Network (KIN). It enables actors to exchange knowledge on AIVs in Kenya, even after the end of the HORTINLEA project in 2018.

Additionally, the team will facilitate and observe the testing of selected HORTINLEA innovations among others at technological, process and organisational levels under real-life conditions. The results will be translated into a concept for training manuals on the use of HORTINLEA innovations for multiplicators, farmers and others. Moreover, policy briefs will be developed in order to close the knowledge gap between research and policy. They address different target groups on the policy level and inform and sensitise them on selected issues regarding AIVs.

From specific results to sustainable change

Afterwards, the roundtable participants discussed HORTINLEA research results from the SPs. The presentation by the SLE research team brought together research questions and findings in condensed form for twelve of the sub-projects. “The presented summary and re-presentation of ongoing activities and already generated results in such a concise form really helped seeing the whole picture and the road ahead”, one participant noted. The following discussion contributed to further knowledge exchange and integration.

Following the presentation of the HORTINLEA research results, two interactive group activities were then carried out. At first, the group clustered the individual SP research results in different themes for the aspired policy briefs. The results were initially clustered into roughly three different categories: environment, economy and social. However, it became clear that many of the SPs lie between two or more categories, and it was necessary to delve deeper into the results. The HORTINLEA coordinators present then documented and clustered several research results, providing a solid basis for the SLE team to work with. When discussing the results, ideas for further overarching topics were mentioned, such as social innovations, health and nutrition as well as technological innovations. This step proved quite useful and will be carried out again at upcoming events, especially those in Kenya.

The second group activity dealt with the topic of sustainability. Both the three-dimensional concept (economic, ecological, social) as well as the sustainability/duration of the future KIN are big challenges for the research team. After examining how sustainability is already integrated in the larger HORTINLEA project, the participants discussed how to better integrate sustainability into the implementation process of the SLE study, with a focus on the KIN. The High-Level Roundtable was a successful kick-off event with HORTINLEA representatives for the SLE study. It provided the research team with valuable information and suggestions for the research ahead. Thus, the first steps for closing the knowledge gap between research, policy and practice were made.


© Sönke Marahrens, Colleen O'Connor, Marlen Bachmann