General HORTINLEA
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27.07.2017 12:00 Age: 54 days
Category: General HORTINLEA, SP 13, PhD & Master theses

Getting the Word Out in Science - How to Become More Visible as a Young Researcher


PhD student Nancy Laibuni received a prize for her presentation on "Characterizing organisational linkages in the African indigenous vegetable value chains in Kenya". ©Nancy Laibuni

PhD student Nancy Laibuni received a prize for her presentation on "Characterizing organisational linkages in the African indigenous vegetable value chains in Kenya". ©Nancy Laibuni

Getting noticed as a young researcher in science can be difficult, especially for women. To develop skills and a network to participate in academic discourse thus need to be on the mind of every young researcher. A good opportunity to become more visible is submitting papers to and attending conferences. HORTINLEA’s PhD student Nancy Laibuni took part in the 5th International Conference of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE). She won a prize for her poster presentation. This is her experience.

“When I submitted the paper, my motivation was to get peer reviewed and test how robust my paper was”, Nancy explains. The 5th International Conference of AAAE revolved around the theme “Transforming Smallholder Agriculture in Africa: The Role of Policy and Governance” and took place in September 2016. Over 450 delegates from around the world came together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss challenges of the latest political commitment to agricultural development with focus on smallholder farmers. Despite recent endeavours from African governments for smallholders, efforts often turn out to be not effectively implemented or evidence-based. In numerous poster presentations, panel and plenary sessions researchers, experts and practitioners came together for four days to drive sustainable policy prescriptions and implementations.

New ways to map organisational linkages in agriculture

Nancy’s paper was one of 455 submitted to the conference. Her paper on “Characterizing organisational linkages in the African indigenous vegetable value chains in Kenya” was selected to be presented in a poster session. In the exploratory study she looks into new ways to map the linkages between organisations along the African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) value chain. She introduces a graph-theoretic method to identify pathways of organisational interactions. The study shows that processes are top-down, starting with organisation giving grants to research. This sets in motion a process of quite linear interactions with few opportunities to exchange knowledge both ways.

Her recommendations thus include strengthening producers, Extension service and marketing organisations to enable them to adapt inclusive innovations. “This is a big step toward getting published and will hopefully enhance my visibility and open other opportunities for me”, Laibuni recapitulates her experience. To her fellow PhD colleagues she recommends: “Young researchers need to be bold, take the initiative and submit their manuscripts.”

In HORTINLEA young researchers are encouraged to pursue a career in science through mentoring, an annual graduate school and a network including senior researchers and organisations. These activities for capacity development contribute to a sustainable infrastructure for AIVs.

 

© Marlen Bachmann