Innovation and Technology Transfer for Adaptation in the Agricultural Sector
Innovation is at the heart of the process of climate adaptation, but adaptation has rarely been studied from an innovation perspective. This project analyzes how different agricultural adaptation efforts contribute to innovation for adaptation. Through case studies of agricultural adaptation in Ethiopia and Honduras, three major research questions are addressed: 1) the relationships among technology adoption, climate vulnerability, and resilience for smallholder farmers and the factors that influence the technology transfer and adoption process for climate adaptation, 2) the extent and ways agricultural development programs have addressed climate resilience and the tensions or barriers for mainstreaming climate resilience in such programs, and 3) how existing innovation systems theories apply to adaptation, how these insights can be synthesized into an analytical framework for innovation for adaptation, and how the framework can be applied in the analysis of national innovation systems. The dissertation draws on interviews with more than 270 stakeholders in Ethiopia and Honduras, from farmers to government officials, donors, and NGO leaders, to explore technology transfer and adoption, mainstreaming climate resilience, and innovation for adaptation at various scales from the household level to the national level. The United States’ government’s global food security and nutrition initiative, Feed the Future, is used as a case study for the analysis of technology transfer and adoption and mainstreaming resilience.
The dissertation was awarded the 2017 Peter Ackerman Award for an outstanding doctoral dissertation demonstrating scholarly merit, originality, and contribution to the field and to society.