Methods Support for Agroecological Research

Lead Organization:

IDEMS International Community Interest Company

Partner Organizations:

Stats4SD, Agroecology Support (AES), and Soils Cross-Cutting projects; CASAS Global; GHAIDEMS (Ghana); INNODEMS (Kenya); and Promoting Academic Capacities for Sustainable Agricultural Resources Use in West Africa (Pro-RUWA)






David Stern, PhD, has been part of the research methods support and leadership team since 2014, taking particular responsibility for the West Africa region. Through this project, IDEMS will be able to move into a larger role supporting the CoP, FRNs, and the program as a whole. Lucie Hazelgrove Planel, PhD, will join David co-leading IDEMS’ extended role, including collaboration with the new CASAS Global cross-cutting project and further West African capacity building. RMS work remains under the leadership of Stats4SD.

A team has started to develop in the region with the support of Ghanaian partner GHAIDEMS. Six internships were offered in Niger with the intention of increasing a local support presence in the region. 

In West Africa, IDEMS has been contracted by Kassel University as part of Pro-RUWA to develop postgraduate research methods courses for partner universities in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Benin. The courses will be developed as open educational resources. WAf CoP grantees are interested in similar courses.

Initial interactions have highlighted the potential for IDEMS to support the redevelopment of CASAS Global models into a Python-based open source solution. The insect modeling work ties in with IDEMS’ support for the Sahel-IPM project as well as the Agroecology Hub in Kenya, which IDEMS leads.

Grant Aims:

The overall goal is to make a step change in the local capacity and availability of RMS tools for the WAf CoP to support improved farmer-centric research in the program and beyond. 


Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Provide direct project support by encouraging projects to reach out to team and responding to their requests for regional level support, research methods training, and resources. 
  • Support CRFS to extend its impact and influence through increasing awareness of CRFS approaches, institutionalizing CRFS RMS approaches, and facilitating spread of CRFS RMS approaches beyond existing networks.
  • Build capacity in research methods skills in the region to enhance research through RMS internships, CASAS-related internships, and region support positions.
  • Collaborate with CASAS Global to support redevelopment of models in Python to expand model’s reach and use (Impact Activation Postdoctoral Fellowship).

Outputs and Outcomes:


  • CRFS grantees receive support through course of research activities
  • WAf regional team receives support as it leads CoP
  • Researchers, students, and collaborators receive methodological training and have access to adapted resources
  • Change-makers external to CRFS hear about its work and productive approaches
  • International institutions integrate options by context (OxC) and FRN ideas into curricula
  • IDEMS builds open tools and resources that enable CRFS approaches to be shared with global partners
  • Mali-based young professionals gain practical experience in RMS and are introduced to CRFS
  • Young professionals gain practical experience in Python programming and modeling 
  • Junior RMS professionals in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali supported to interact with CRFS and develop new and existing skills
  • Open-access CASAS Global’s modeling programs


  • Improved quality and research outcomes for CoP projects
  • WAf CoP works as productive research community with improved alignment with CRFS strategies
  • Agroecological research community develop skills in effective research methods, resulting in improved research outcomes at all levels
  • External organizations take into consideration different ways of working and take suggestions for how to create change
  • Students exposed to CRFS research methods approaches, allowing them to respond to complexity of agroecological research
  • Wider audiences exposed to CRFS approaches through tools and resources that help them respond to their agroecological research or other needs
  • Interns develop new skills in a range of research methods approaches and use them in future careers 
  • CRFS projects receive more in-person RMS 
  • Interns develop their Python programming skills and use them in future careers
  • Regional RMS professionals play greater role in supporting research projects; CRFS projects receive more in-person RMS; research outcomes improve

Open-access programs available for others to use and adapt system and methods as appropriate to model local crop and pest systems