“The ASTI Network” model: Increasing Ownership of Data Collection, Analyses, and Outreach at National and Regional Levels
Over time, ASTI has evolved from an ad hoc data-collection initiative to become a globally recognized and trusted source of policy-relevant data and analytics on agricultural research investments, spending, and capacity in low- and middle-income countries. In efforts to secure its long-term sustainability and relevance, ASTI is embarking on a new operating model that decentralizes data collection and management, targets demand-driven analyses, and draws on a multistakeholder platform of collaborators.
Decisionmakers depend on policy-relevant data and analyses to make well-informed investment decisions and to formulate high-impact policies that support the attainment of agricultural, economic, welfare, and sustainability goals. ASTI plays a critical role in this regard, and has evolved over time to focus not only on collecting, processing, and disseminating data, but also on facilitating the provision of demand-driven analytics and context-specific outreach.
In efforts to secure it long-term sustainability and relevance, ASTI is embarking on a new network model to increase national and regional ownership and use of its data, to ensure the provision of policy-relevant analyses that respond to stakeholders’ needs, to provide effective outreach and uptake of ASTI’s resources, and to strengthen national and regional capacity in the areas of data collection, analysis, and outreach.
The ASTI Network will comprise the following:
- Regional networks of in-country partners that are responsible for the data collection, analyses, and outreach in their regions
- Technical and policy partners that facilitate the integration of ASTI’s outputs in relevant policy and decisionmaking forums
- An ASTI Secretariat that provides technical assistance and quality assurance, coordinates the global research agenda, and strengthens national and regional capacity in close collaboration with network partners
The transition to the new operating model will occur incrementally over time based on unfolding global, regional, and national contexts; the commitment of new and existing network partners; and the availability of necessary financial resources.
In tandem with the transition, it will be imperative that ASTI’s core legacy as the trusted repository of internationally comparable, long-term R&D data be preserved.
THE APAARI–IFPRI PARTNERSHIP
In 2017, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) established ASTI Indo-Pacific for the purpose of strengthening ASTI’s data collection, analyses, and outreach in the Indo-Pacific region.
The partnership exemplifies ASTI’s planned future direction of gradually devolving ownership of it data collection and management functions to the national and regional levels, while concurrently expanding its network of national, regional, and international partners to ensure the relevance, uptake, and impact of its analytical and outreach functions.
Data collection is ongoing in Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. In addition, ASTI Indo-Pacific is building capacity within national agricultural research institutes for policy-relevant analyses of agricultural research systems, as well as dissemination and advocacy activities to ensure that key messages reach their intended national and regional audiences. An analytical research agenda is currently being developed in collaboration with experts from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Based in Bangkok, APAARI is the ideal partner to manage ASTI’s day-to-day operations in the region. In addition, the joint management by APAARI and IFPRI—each with its own network—encourages linkages with donors and regional stakeholders and opens doors for research collaboration and support.