- The four research proposals to be financed by CATIE's Competitive Research Fund were announced.
October 17, 2022. Understanding that investment in scientific research is fundamental to achieve economic and social advances to address global challenges, CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) created its Competitive Research Fund for Inclusive Green Development in May 2022 and recently, on October 14, unveiled the four research proposals to be funded.
The selection of the winning proposals was made by 15 external reviewers. Fourteen expressions of interest and a total of seven full proposals were received and sent to external reviewers, experts in the thematic areas of the proposals. The four proposals selected were:
- First place: Biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being in the Trifinio region: the role of secondary forests.
Principal Investigator: Adina Chain
Researchers: Alejandra Martínez, Luis Diego Delgado, Vladimir Varela and Rolando Cerda
Forests, Biodiversity and Productive Landscapes Unit
- Second place: Economic valuation of native pollinators of pitahaya (Hylocereusspp. Cactaceae) in Costa Rica for the adaptation of dry tropical food systems to global challenges (PoliPitahaya)
Principal Investigator: Sergio Vilchez
Researcher: Pavel Bautista Solís, Mesoamerican Center for Sustainable Development of the Dry Tropics of the National University (CEMEDE-UNA)
- Third place: Determination of the productive and socioeconomic impact of the spread and arrival of moniliasis to producing countries in the Caribbean and proposal of prevention, diagnosis and control strategies.
Principal Investigators: Mariela Leandro and Felipe Peguero
Agroforestry and Coffee and Cocoa Genetic Improvement Unit
- Fourth place: Generational integration in the sustainable agri-food value chain of coffee as a strategy for the reduction of youth migration in rural areas of Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras.
Principal Investigator: Adriana Escobedo
Researchers: Evelyn Chaves Jean, Claudia Bouroncle, William Solano, Laurene Feintrenie and Julio López
Environmental Economics and Sustainable Agribusiness Unit
The total amount awarded is USD 94,000, the allocation to each proposal was defined according to the rating obtained and its respective budgetary need.
"In the past, at CATIE we have conducted research using funds from international cooperation and other donors; however, these cooperation funds have been increasingly allocated to development projects, which have reduced funding for research purposes. Understanding the importance for CATIE to continue doing research and generating knowledge, we agreed to invest resources from our core budget for this purpose. There were many challenges in securing this investment, including COVID, but I am very pleased that we finally succeeded. I hope that this fund will allow us to make more scientific publications, generate more knowledge, further integrate our students, promote horizontal cooperation between the different research units of CATIE and develop alliances with local, regional and global partners," said Muhammad Ibrahim, Director General of CATIE.
In addition, Ibrahim thanked each of the participants for the time they took to submit their proposals. "We know that there are more proposals, which for budget reasons were left out, but we want to motivate them to keep going and know that our commitment will be to continue supporting the process and working to see how we can get more co-financing resources," said Ibrahim.
Leida Mercado, director of CATIE's Division of Research for Inclusive Green Development (DIDVI), was pleased with the process and with the winning proposals and said that the next steps will be to prepare a work plan for each proposal, since the first disbursement will be made on the basis of that work plan and so on, according to the results achieved.
Mariela Leandro, researcher of one of the selected proposals, commented that receiving the funds opens many doors. "In our case, this is a proposal with which we are also managing funds with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) for which we have to demonstrate cash matching funds, which is a great challenge. This funding from the Competitive Research Fund represents a great opportunity for us to continue growing and for the project to have more impact," added Leandro.
The principal investigator of the first winning proposal, Adina Chain, said that they also see the funding as seed funding for other proposals. "We have submitted a proposal to the Darwin Funds, from the United Kingdom, which is linked to the ideas of this winning proposal, so if we pass the first stage, we will have progress to show on the issue of secondary forests and pollinators," said Chain.
Adriana Escobedo, principal investigator of another of the selected proposals, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity and emphasized that the specific topic of her proposal, which deals with understanding the enabling conditions for young people to stay in rural areas by linking them to sustainable agri-food value chains and not having to migrate, is an aspect of interest that stands out in many of the calls they have received, which is why they consider this proposal as a basis for leveraging resources.
The objective of the Competitive Research Fund is to promote the development of research at CATIE, which contributes to position the institution, not only in the scientific field, but also in international cooperation, generating knowledge and identifying strategic areas of work in order to meet the strategic objectives of the institution.
To be selected, the four proposals had to meet eight criteria: fall within CATIE's own lines of work; meet criteria of scientific rigor; explicitly incorporate aspects of inclusion and gender equality; produce at least one article publishable in an indexed journal; incorporate more than one discipline or CATIE's lines of work; focus on addressing key social challenges; capacity of the proposed research team; and co-funding or other collaborative contributions
CATIE researchers attached to the DIDVI, as well as teams made up of researchers from the Center and external institutions, could apply for this fund.
Inclusive Green Development Research
Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication