There has been a tremendous development of agricultural research in developing countries over the past few decades, during which time investment in agricultural research from both national resources and international assistance has increased markedly. However, agricultural research institutions are generally managed by veteran agricultural research workers promoted for seniority rather than for management training and skills. Further, there are few courses available on the management of agricultural research, and solutions and models used in the developed world may not be appropriate for developing countries.
FAO has actively participated in strengthening the national agricultural research systems of developing countries, and has stressed the importance of effective organization and management for efficient research systems. The need for training in this area is great, and resources - particularly trained human resources - are limited. FAO has therefore developed a training programme on agricultural research management to support the training of trainers, with the expectation of a multiplier effect, and to facilitate a common perception of the structure and terminology of management, thus enhancing communication and understanding among agricultural research managers in discussing management problems, solutions and opportunities.
This training manual has been prepared as a basic reference resource for national trainers, to help them structure and conduct their own courses on management at the institute level. A separate manual will cover project and programme management. This manual is based on the four structural functions of management: planning, organizing, monitoring and controlling, and evaluating, each of which is covered in individual modules. Within each module, the manual addresses pervasive management functions, including motivating, leading, directing, priority setting, communicating and delegating, which are at all times a concern to all managers. Topics such as leadership, motivation, human resources management, policies and procedures are treated separately in individual sessions.
This manual as been designed for participatory learning through case studies, group exercises, presentations by the participants and participatory lectures. Throughout the manual, particular effort has been made to use the cases studied to capture the unique and rich experience of developing country research managers in tackling policy, programme and the day-to-day problems of managing research institutions and systems.
This publication is intended primarily for managers of agricultural research institutes in developing countries and for higher education institutions interested in launching in-service training courses on research management. However, it is hoped that agricultural research managers everywhere will also find it useful. The manual provides a course structure with contents that can be built upon and enriched. Users are therefore encouraged to send suggestions for its improvement.
Louise O. Fresco
Research, Extension and Training Division