Science Forum 2018

Win more, lose less:Capturing synergies between
SDGs through agricultural research

Video credit: Peter Lowe/GENNOVATE

Maggie Gill (ISPC Chair), Jennifer Thomson (ISPC & SF18 Steering Committee Chair) and Holger Meinke (ISPC & SF18 Steering Committee Member) talk about why SF18 is special, what the CGIAR will gain and how they hope the Forum will provide a challenging environment that will stimulate discussion and get people to think beyond their comfort zone.

About Science Forum 2018

Science Forum 2018 (SF18), Win more, lose less: Capturing synergies between SDGs through agricultural research, will be held from 10-12 October 2018 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. SF18 is organized by the CGIAR’S Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) and co-hosted by the South African Agricultural Research Council.

The objective of SF18 is to identify substantial interactions between the Sustainable Development Goals (both positive and negative), the role of agricultural research in augmenting synergies and managing trade-offs, and the ensuing implications for the science-policy interface. Results will contribute to the discussion of developing research themes and frameworks in CGIAR.


The Speakers

Jacob Mwitwa

Associate Professor Copperbelt University, Zambia

Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi

Honorary Research Fellow, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Timothy Robinson

Livestock Policy Officer Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Leslie Lipper

Executive Director Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) Secretariat

Holger Meinke

ISPC Member; Head, School of Land and Food University of Tasmania, Australia

Mario Herrero

Chief Research Scientist and Office of the Chief Executive Science Leader Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Ruth DeFries

Professor of Ecology and Sustainable Development Columbia University, New York

Sara Savastano

Director of Research and Impact Assessment Division International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Andrew Campbell

Chief Executive Officer Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Melinda Smale

Professor of International Development Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University

Lindiwe Majele Sibanda

Co-Chair Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA)

Sonja Vermeulen

Global Food Lead Scientist World Wildlife Fund (WWF)


Science Forum 2018 is organized by the CGIAR’S Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) and co-hosted by the South African Agricultural Research Council.

The ISPC is a part of the CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food secure future dedicated to achieving a world free of poverty, hunger and environmental degradation. One of the main functions of the ISPC is to provide a credible challenge function to both the funders and the implementers of CGIAR research on the overall direction and composition of the research portfolio. An essential element of this function is taking a close look at the research programs’ theories of change and their underlying assumptions, for example how the research activities of the CGIAR are expected to generate impacts. One mechanism that the ISPC utilizes to realize the challenge function is the organization of a biennial Science Forum (SF) to catalyze discussion on emerging issues of strategic importance to CGIAR, bringing in external perspectives to engage in dialogue and discussion with CGIAR stakeholders.

Four SFs have been organized to date, the last three have focused on analyzing the assumptions about how agricultural research in general, and CGIAR research specifically, can deliver impacts on each of the three CGIAR System Level Outcomes (SLOs). The 2016 SF focused on reassessing the pathways for agricultural research to contribute to reducing poverty (SLO1); whereas the 2013 SF examined the pathways from agricultural research to improved nutrition (SLO2); and, in 2011, the Forum discussed issues related to the agriculture-environment nexus (SLO3).

Steering Committee

  • Jennifer Thomson

    Jennifer Thomson

    Chair, Council Member, ISPC and Emeritus Professor Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town – South Africa
  • Izabella Koziell

    Izabella Koziell

    Program Director CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems - Sri Lanka
  • Leslie Lipper

    Executive Director ISPC Secretariat
  • Holger Meinke

    ISPC Council Member and Head School of Land and Food; Director, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture – Australia
  • Bongani Ndimba

    Senior Research Manager ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij – South Africa
  • Virgilio Viana

    General Director Sustainable Amazon Foundation – Brazil
  • Eric Witte

    Senior International Affairs Specialist USAID – USA
  • André Zandstra

    Head, Funder & External Engagement CGIAR SMO – France
  • Preet Lidder

    ISPC Technical Lead and Ex-Officio Member - Agricultural Research Officer ISPC Secretariat