SOUTHERN STRATEGIC RESEARCH PLAN
The Association has developed several new concepts and procedures to enhance
effectiveness and to take up a broader agenda for making better use of the organization
meeting the needs of individual Directors. Fiscal exigencies in many of the member
places an urgent demand on more effective regional cooperation. Directors have
that a better balance is needed between top-down (problem) and scientist generated
(disciplinary) regional research. Clearly, the maximum advantage of the Association can
gained if it is concerned with the total research resources of the region, not just the
Regional Research Funds.
Effective linkages within the region and at the national level are needed to make
use of resources and to influence the agenda to the advantage of the members of the
Association. Especially with severe fiscal constraints, there is need for creating more
resource mobility at the regional level to address common problems and to promote
activity on high priority areas. Better involvement of the best scientists in regional
is needed and should be stimulated. More thoughtful planning in the proactive mode is
critical component in any strategy to address these issues.
A Strategic Plan for the Association, developed and used as a working management tool,
is the ``alpha and the omega'' of a modernized management system for the Southern
Directors. It is the mechanism for developing broad consensus among Directors on what
should be done; it is a communication device to make this consensus known among the
various stakeholders; and is a means of evaluating progress.
For a plan to be an effective management tool, there must be a close linkage between
planners and operators. This linkage is accomplished by the Planning Groups and the
Southern Regional Research Planning Committee. These Planning Groups have pivotal
responsibilities in developing the Strategic Plan and in using the Plan for the array of
various activities that make up the business of the Association. Every member of the
Association is a member of a Planning Group.
Goals of the Planning Process:
Enhancing the planning and operating concepts and procedures for the Association has
- Identifying and developing consensus on issues, opportunities, and problems
with a sense of relative priority,
- Better guidance to scientists and administrators through regional strategic
- Stronger regional input to national planning and resource allocation,
- Improved methods for early quality decisions on proposals,
- More effective evaluation of productivity and balance of regional activities,
- Enhanced resources for initiation of regional activities.
Organization of the Planning Committee:
The Chairs of each Planning Group are members of the Southern Regional Planning
Committee, which is the Executive Committee of the six Planning Groups. The Chair of
the Planning Committee is one of the SAAESD members to the ESCOP-USDA Strategic
The six Planning Groups correspond to the six major areas of the Southern Strategic
This structure links the planning process to the broad elements of the base programs at
the national and state levels.
The six Planning Groups are:
- Environment and Natural Resources
- Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health
- Processes and Products
- Economic and Social Issues
- Animal Systems
- Plant Systems
Virtually all of the linkages to the Planning Committee and its product are
The Committee is involved with ESCOP. Linkages to and from the individual state
members of the Association are expressed via the planning process. Future strategies
for a better linkage with users as well as various political constituencies at the regional
Inputs are received from these interfaces and used to develop the general tenets of the
regional research plan. Needs and opportunities of the region are manifest in inputs to
regional and national planning that come from the Association's plan.
The plan and the operational activities of the Association are brought together by the
involvement of members of the Planning Committee in the review and recommendations
on proposed regional activities and in the evaluation of balance and productivity
from these activities.
The primary product of the Planning Committee is a working "forward-rolling" document
that lays out a strategy for the Association and the interrelationships of its members.
plan will have two major compartments: (1) a plan for the base programs of the
and (2) a description of the issues and opportunities that should be addressed by the
members of the Association. This combination is intended to provide a stability of vision
for the base programs and the kinds of funding that support them along with a dynamic
picture of the current and changing needs of the region for the products of research and
The planning process influences the national planning agenda. In turn, the national plan
serves as a general template for the Strategic Plan, where part of the analysis is an
interpretation of the implications of the national plan on the region.
From the Strategic Plan come the inputs to ESCOP. The plan forms a basis for
the important areas from which examples of accomplishments are be sought to evaluate
demonstrate progress and productivity. The Planning Committee is involved with the
ongoing portfolio analysis of regional activities to assess its relevance, balance and
Applications and Uses:
The products of the Planning Committee will have multiple applications and uses. The
Strategic Plan, and the Committees ongoing use of the Plan in the operational mode, will
be central to the following:
- Analysis of the current regional activity portfolio and the summary of total
research investments drawn from analysis of the CRIS.
- Guidance, review and approval of proposed new activities taken up by the
Association, including projects considered for support with regional research
funds. The plan will impact the thinking of the Southern Regional Research
Committee (SRRC) and its input to the Committee of Nine.
- The evaluation, review and approval of SERAs and other joint activities in the
- The evaluation, review and approval of new or continuing activities proposed
- The ongoing evaluation of the progress of current regional activities at the
state and regional level by administrative advisors and individual directors.
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