The food systems framework helps link data to new pathways for impact. In 2018 the team surveyed some 60 people representing different roles in the food system in East Africa about their data needs and practices, and this helped us to curate the global Convention for Big Data in Agriculture to support them. We plan to replicate this approach in the framing and curation of the next Convention in India.

New digital business models are emerging everywhere.

Financial technologies, pay-as-you-go, and connected ‘Internet of Things’ networks are all demonstrating ways of doing business that could be leveraged for linking research to impact. Look to other actors in the food system for new models – they might be robots.

Data ontologies unlock new capabilities.

Linking data to impact requires fluid, dynamic ability to converge and query across data types, domains, locations, and timescales related to questions we have today and questions we may have in the future. Ontologies are the most fundamental–and most under-appreciated–aspect of building this research data revolution, and CGIAR has special capabilities in this area.