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A framework for optimizing participatory research
K. GARRETT (1). (1) University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, U.S.A.

Participatory research holds the potential for improved system outcomes, such as resistant varieties and other IPM strategies better matched to stakeholder needs.  Including a participatory research component generally requires additional investment, so it is useful to know under what circumstances the investment is rewarded and how participatory research can be optimized.  Impact Network Analysis offers a platform for evaluating optimization strategies for participatory research.  An "impact network" is the linked socioeconomic and biophysical networks through which new technologies can impact system outcomes.  An "Impact Network Analysis" (INA) is an evaluation of how impact networks function in a particular setting, such as participatory research to improve disease management, and where the control points for improvement are.  For example, in the context of seed degeneration due to the accumulation of pathogens in vegetatively-propagated crops, INA can be used to evaluate what system-wide benefit is anticipated if there is a greater degree of participation in research for on-farm integrated seed management.  Key factors include the degree of farm heterogeneity, the effects of which can be better understood through wider participation, and the degree of mismatch between the perceived priorities of farmers and scientists.  Optimization strategies can be devised to efficiently address these factors.

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