Inspiring exchanges during the r4d Forum Open Call

The r4d forum on 19 September 2017 connected the grantees of the first and second thematically open calls and established an opportunity for them to engage in dialogue regarding their r4d projects amongst each other, with the members of the review panel and with representatives from policy and practice.

On Tuesday, 19 September 2017, around 60 participants attended the r4d forum oc (open call 1 and 2) at the Schoss Bümpliz in Berne. The event was opened by Carmenza Robledo, the r4d-programme synthesis coordinator. She introduced Odile Keller, SDC Head Analysis and Policy, who welcomed the participants and underlined the importance of the research community's involvement with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development External Link Icon. Next, Marie-Louise Newell, Professor at the University of Southampton and president of the Review Panel in charge of the evaluation of the proposals submitted to the thematically open calls addressed the audience. She explained how the projects of the first and second thematically open call relate to the Sustainable Development Goals External Link Icon(although it was only in the frame of the third and last call that the SDGs needed to be explicitly referred to).

The following two hours were dedicated to an exchange at market stands: 18 projects from the first and second thematically open call presented their research by way of posters, electronic devices, maps, games, animations, artefacts and other concrete objects, timetables, videos, etc. The project teams had been asked in advance to not only share their results and success stories but to also reveal their main challenges and to explain how they were overcome. Much of the interaction during the market stand sessions concerned problem-solving strategies and solution-oriented approaches.

At noon, the Schloss Bümpliz served a terrific lunch in a comfortable setting that allowed further exchange.

The afternoon started with a presentation by Frédéric Pichelin, the lead investigator of the completed r4d project " Cocoboards External Link Icon". His talk entitled "From Science to Practice" delineated the project from its very beginning – the coconut husk, which is generally considered a waste product – to the final product – a fibreboard that is used as building material, mainly in housing in the Philippines. He also touched upon the challenges the team faced, the process of scaling up and the current state of the project.

The remainder of the event was spent in the plenary with a presentation and a discussion on the r4d programme synthesis and the synopsis of the participants inputs regarding the opportunities and challenges of conducting research for development in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research partnerships. Despite high demands and expectations with regards to science and development relevance of each project, a programme like the 10-years r4d programme provides opportunities for reflection and learnings beyond individual projects. With the perspective of the start of the synthesis work in the r4d programme and the fruitful exchange during the day, the r4d forum oc was concluded on a very positive note.