In this perspective, we offer insights into the evolution of CGIAR’s research and innovation portfolio from 2019 to 2023, underpinning the transformative journey towards One CGIAR. With this contribution, we aim to strengthen the social and environmental sustainability components of allied, future Research for Development (R4D) portfolios. We explore three interlinked operational frameworks—Quality of Research for Development (QoR4D), Comparative Advantage (CA) Analysis, and Inclusive Innovation—and present practical tools and lessons for enhancing the quality and impact of R4D initiatives. This work is based on insights gained by the Independent Science for Development Council (ISDC) during the review of proposals for the current One CGIAR research portfolio. QoR4D’s four dimensions (relevance, scientific credibility, legitimacy, and effectiveness) guide research strategy, portfolio development, evaluation and performance standards, fostering intentional design and transparent assessment. CA Analysis leverages organizational strengths, facilitating purposeful partnerships, and strategic resource allocation. Inclusive Innovation emphasizes stakeholder inclusivity, amplifying legitimacy, relevance, and effectiveness. Insights are drawn from the application of these frameworks, highlighting the importance of collaboration, the need for a mindset shift and institutional reform, specialization, and impact maximization. By adopting these lessons, CGIAR and allied organizations can collectively address global food system challenges more effectively, driving sustainable agricultural innovation and societal transformation. This article aims to contribute to advancing sustainable agriculture and underscores the significance of systemic collaborations in creating more resilient and equitable food systems.


Meinke, H., Ash, A., Barrett, C.B. et al. Evolution of the One CGIAR’s research and innovation portfolio to 2030: approaches, tools, and insights after the reform. npj Sustain. Agric. 1, 6 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s44264-023-00005-x


Holger Meinke, Andrew Ash, Christopher B. Barrett, Allison Grove Smith, Joshua S. Graff Zivin, Fetien Abera, Magali Garcia, David R. Just, Nompumelelo H. Obokoh, Suneetha Kadiyala, Christine Negra, Lesley Torrance, Amy R. Beaudreault and Pierre Boulanger