News: Research Leadership MC in Penang, November 2016

We reported earlier in the year on the new Crawford Fund Master Class in Research Leadership and Management—a great addition to our set of Master Classes—and this training is currently underway at the WorldFish Center in Penang.

The Crawford Fund’s Director of Master Classes and Training, Colin Chartres, developed the new Master Class with Shaun Coffey and is assisting in the training. He states that “the Master Class will not only provide some sound instruction in program leadership and management, but also offer a good regional networking opportunity.”

Its aim is to improve the management of agricultural research systems, which support the needs of least developed countries. Led by Shaun Coffey, the Master Class will help individuals navigate a path from more scientific and technical roles into leadership positions.

It is expected that a strong Alumni network will result as the 28 MC participants continue to develop and share their knowledge with colleagues and newly made connections.


The participants, who are engaged in food and agricultural R&D, have come from all major regions of the world. They are exploring how they can become better managers, and are reflecting on career development in addressing issues such as poverty reduction, malnutrition and food security.

Shaun Coffey has described participant discussions so far as robust, constructive and insightful, and the key message has been ‘Poor management of science leads to poor science’.

“Not surprisingly, people management issues dominate discussions, and are subject to several major simulations and activities during the Master Class,” said Shaun

“There are popular perceptions of individual geniuses working alone coming up with dramatic breakthroughs. This is essentially myth.”

“The reality is that for most of research, the process of scientific discovery and the creation of knowledge is incremental, with many individuals working collaboratively, sharing information and building on the creative ideas of each other. Research teams and research organisations are essential to delivery of research impacts”

The Crawford Fund has recognised the need to provide specific training for managers to effectively manage their teams and organisations. The course provides a structured approach to long-standing management challenges such as strategic planning, project management systems, human resource management and management of finances, but with an overlay of making these discussions relevant to the current needs of the international settings in which the participants work.