By Suzanne Nielsen

The Scale Up Conference, “Innovations in Agriculture: Scaling Up to Reach Millions”, was held at Purdue University on Sept. 25-27, 2018. The conference brought together 225 individuals representing 100 organizations and 21 countries from around the world. Conference participants are engaged in the development, introduction, diffusion, and adoption of agri- cultural innovations that have the potential to reach millions of people. Attendees represented researchers, entrepreneurs, implementing organizations, small and large businesses, donor organizations, and government funding agencies. Conference attendees came together to discuss best practices for scaling up agricultural technologies that could impact the world. They gained an understanding of successful, sustainable large-scale implementation.

The opening session featured keynote speaker Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, 2017 World Food Prize Laureate, and Purdue alumnus. The conference was organized by Purdue University in partnership with the African Development Bank Group, an organization focused on spurring sustainable economic growth and social progress in its regional member countries. Conference organizers at Purdue University were Suzanne Nielsen (Professor) and Carolyn Woo (Emeritus President & CEO, Catholic Relief Services), both of whom are affiliated with Purdue’s Office of Corporate & Global Partnerships.

Featured speakers included Robert Bertram (Chief Scientist, Bureau for Food Security, USAID), Simeon Ehui (Agriculture Global Practice, World Bank Group), and Enock Chikava (Deputy Director, Agricultural Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).

Experts on scaling who were lead speakers for the major sessions in the conference included Larry Cooley, Richard Kohl, Johannes Linn, and Mark Huisenga. Panel discussion participants included Julie Howard, Simon Winter, and Lennart Woltering, who are active in the Agriculture and Rural Development Working Group within the Community of Practice on Scaling Up Development Outcomes. Conference attendees have been encouraged to remain engaged in conversations about scale up in agriculture through this working group within the Community of Practice.

Purdue University, in partnership with the African Development Bank, will publish in late 2018-early 2019 a “Scale Up Sourcebook”. This short, easy-to-use guidebook on scaling agricultural innovations, will be informed by the content of the Scale Up Conference. Larry Cooley and Julie Howard, as lead editors, will summarize key insights, tools, examples and references on topics covered in the conferences: designing for scale, assessing scalability, financing the scaling process, critical drivers for scaling, and effective use of partnerships to support scaling.

The conference program is available at the conference website, which has been updated to include abstracts from posters and breakout group, along with videos and slides of the presentations made by conference speakers. Also see the CYMMIT blog on this conference.


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