The 15 Centers supported by the CGIAR and their many national partners are together creating a wealth of knowledge that can help rural communities in developing countries build sustainable livelihoods. Yet, formidable obstacles to uptake and use of generated knowledge as well as impact of CGIAR agricultural research remain. One of the missing elements which has reduced the effectiveness of our research and development (R&D) efforts, is appropriate and effective knowledge sharing, both within Centers and between them and their partners.

There is a longstanding tradition that separates researchers from those that take up their results. The traditional linear, transfer of technology approach has worked at different times for different purpose but does not offer the best solution for agricultural research to contribute to development outcomes. While this approach may have had some success in the past, the ever-changing nature of agricultural products, research development, actors and needs, this approach is no longer appropriate for all the whole of the agricultural research and development arena.

The CGIAR Centers and their partners need to shift to a more demand-driven, interactive approach, in which such methods are developed collaboratively through a shared process of learning and innovation. A key requirement for achieving this shift is that knowledge sharing should no longer be a mere afterthought in research. Instead, it must become an integral part of the whole research process, involving all stakeholders.