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Course prepares Turkish researchers to conduct impact assessments

Referring to the first-ever training course in Turkey on assessing the impacts of agricultural research and development, held during 22 November-01 December, Mesut Keser, Deputy Director General of the Turkish General Directorate of Agricultural Research (TAGEM), called the event a success and said that participants are now eager to apply what they learned: “The lecturers’ intelligence, enthusiasm and friendly approach helped a lot, creating an interactive learning setting which (allowed) participants to get the most from the course.”

Organized jointly by CIMMYT, ICARDA, and TAGEM, and hosted at TAGEM facilities in Ankara, the course drew 26 participants—all Turkish nationals, 9 of whom were women—from diverse research institutes and regions of Turkey.

According to CIMMYT impact assessment specialist Roberto La Rovere, who helped organize the course and served as facilitator and lecturer, objectives included increasing awareness, knowledge, and critical thinking on impact assessment; allowing participants a chance to practice; and identifying opportunities for follow-up impact assessments in Turkey, including one focused on wheat research. “We gave participants an overview of concepts, approaches, and best practices,” says La Rovere.

At the end of the workshop, participants were also able to sketch the main elements of a potential expost impact assessment of the joint MARA/CIMMYT/ ICARDA International Winter Wheat Improvement Program (IWWIP) in Turkey. Other CIMMYT staff involved included wheat breeder/ agronomist Alexei Morgounov, who presented the IWWIP program and oversaw logistics; wheat pathologist Julie Nicol; and economist Erika Meng, who assisted with pre-course preparations.

The course helped lay the groundwork for future ICARDA-CIMMYT-TAGEM collaboration, especially in impact assessment. Says La Rovere: “Despite the wide variety of skills, expectations, and knowledge of English, the workshop went well beyond expectations and yielded a network of potential assessors and partners in for impact assessment in Turkey.”