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Institutional Learning and Change (ILAC) at ICRISAT: A Case Study of the Tata-ICRISAT Project

Institutional innovations are critical for the effective performance of agricultural research centers in natural
resource management projects that often include multiple and diverse stakeholders with contrasting objectives
and activities. This report shows how institutional histories of projects can be used as tools to help reveal
institutional innovations thereby promoting Institutional Learning And Change (ILAC). This report extends
earlier work on using institutional histories over a thirty-year period to understand research practice at an
international agricultural research center, by focusing on applying institutional insights to a current project
of the agroecosystems group of ICRISAT with an Indian ‘unconventional’ donor. It draws out lessons for
scaling-up of activities in multi-partner initiatives. The report also explores the use of actor-oriented tools
for project management and recommends its use to enable collective reflection on partnerships in review
and planning meetings of projects. The learning from the historical study and the application of institutional
histories in an ongoing project together reveal interesting insights on international agricultural research
centers and their efforts towards a transition into learning organizations.

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