CGIAR digital strategy
Agricultural research for development is changing due to the rapid evolution and diffusion of digital technologies worldwide. The digital revolution is central to how CGIAR operates, conducts research, and delivers results. This digital revolution is creating opportunities to use the best emergent tools available for research (such as big data analytics and artificial intelligence) and to support digitally empowered end users in the co-design, access and use of digital agrifood innovation.
In support of the development of the CGIAR 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy, which was approved in 2020, the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture conducted a wide-ranging strategic analysis. This work consisted of understanding how trends in the access to and use of digital technologies may affect global food security, the roles public-interest actors should play in leveraging and shaping these trends, and the unified capabilities CGIAR must cultivate to fully leverage digital technology. This investigation drew on the following:
160 people surveyed across CGIAR and in the wider agricultural research for development community on the key enablers and capabilities of digital organizations.
80 semi-structured interviews with respondents across the agrifood community on digital trends and the organizational capabilities needed to navigate them. The respondents included individuals in agribusiness, food companies, development funding and finance organizations, large information technology (IT) firms, consultancies, life sciences organizations, and agricultural technology start-ups.
10 internal workshops on digital trends and capabilities. Focus groups representing cross-cutting technical (such as crop modeling) or functional (such as communications) disciplines across CGIAR were convened to identify the priority initiatives, investments, and organizational capabilities required to fully leverage digital technologies.
A literature review. Findings were complemented by a review of sector-specific development strategies, research publications, and futures analyses to identify key digital trends affecting agricultural research for development.
This analysis pointed to four key digital trends shaping the future of digital agriculture and to clear roles that public-interest actors, such as CGIAR, can claim in leveraging and guiding these trends:
1. Establishing responsible, open data sharing, and exchanges that are findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR).
2. Ethically using artificial intelligence.
3. Bundling research analytics with large-scale digital services.
4. Building trusted information assets to help guide the needed collective actions to transform food, land, and water systems.
The digital revolution is central to how CGIAR operates, conducts research, and delivers results.
Enhancing CGIAR’s digital foundations
Research also revealed critical ways in which One CGIAR can strengthen our digital foundations, including: building a more unified strategy and governance for data and digital tools; harmonizing infrastructure investments; leveraging both internal and external digital services and partnerships; and continuing to optimize and reuse CGIAR data and intellectual assets.