The CRSP Approach to Building Human Resources and Institutional Capacity: Improving on a Successful Model.
Irvin E. Widders and Mywish Maredia. Bean/Cowpea CRSP, 321 Agriculture Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1039
The Collaborative Research Support Programs (CRSP) have utilized an effective approach for preparing professionals in the agricultural and related sciences and building the capacity of institutions in developing countries. By integrating graduate degree training into CRSP research projects, student thesis research addresses developing country problems, students network with an international community of scientists, and professional mentor relationships are fostered with U.S. professors that extend beyond the degree program due to ongoing CRSP support. The costs of CRSP graduate degree programs are kept low due to cost-share by universities in the form of reduced tuition, reduction in indirect cost, and partial financial support for thesis research. The legacy of CRSP training programs is that thousands of professionals who completed graduate programs at U.S. universities are now in positions of leadership in both public and private sector institutions, including universities, NARS, government ministries, IARCs, and private businesses throughout Africa, Latin America and Asia. A new generation of professionals is needed in Sub-Saharan Africa to build the capacity of institutions in cutting-edge and emerging areas of science and to contribute to economic growth and improved welfare of stakeholders of agriculture and natural resource value-chains. In an era of declining CRSP funding and the emergence of new donors, the challenge to U.S. universities is to build on the comparative strengths of the ACRSP model@ and to make human resource development more innovative, cost-effective and demand driven. Innovative elements that might be integrated into future CRSP training programs include sandwich programs, joint degree programs, use of Aadvanced@ Host Country universities, professional and research internships in the U.S., Internet-based course offerings, and faculty exchanges for instruction of specialized courses. By committing to such training goals, U.S. universities benefit through the expanded international engagement of faculty and students in addition to partner HC institutions.