IAMCR and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are offering four awards of 2,500 USD to authors of papers that advance our understanding of applications of Rural Communication Services (RCS), particularly in the areas of agriculture, family farming, natural resource management, climate change adaptation, food security, and disaster risk reduction and management.
The Rural Communication Working Group (RUC) of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) aims to provide a platform for academic scholars and professionals working in the field of rural communication. The focus is on communication in rural areas and the intersection between communication and rurality, exploring the breadth of formal and informal communication processes. This encompasses technologies ranging from rural radio to social media and change interventions ranging from farmer field schools to digital learning strategies. Special attention is given to rural innovations and interventions, social change, and development that responds in a participatory, sustained, and inclusive manner to the communication needs of rural populations.
Within the framework of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF), the FAO, in partnership with a series of universities, research centres, development institutions, and community media networks, is promoting a global initiative, the Collaborative Change Communication for Development (CCComDev) that aims at sharing knowledge and increasing learning opportunities and collaboration in the area of communication for rural development. CCComDev is creating a global community of practice to share experiences and foster cooperation between universities and development programmes focusing on Rural Communication Services (RCS). The focus is on strengthening partnerships among various rural actors, including farmer organizations, community media, rural institutions, universities, research organizations, and development and communication practitioners.
FAO and IAMCR, in cooperation with CCComDev, have agreed to collaborate to support the activities of the RUC through a series of initiatives such as: use CCComDev’s website to support IAMCR-RUC activities; undertake a mapping of relevant research activities related to RCS; mapping of relevant training/learning initiatives and methodologies and tools in RCS; and supporting applied research on RCS through special awards. Special attention is given to improving the understanding and the application of RCS to family farming and sustainable development.
Rural Communication Services (RCS) include a wide range of demand-led communication processes, activities, media applications, and institutional arrangements to respond in a sustained and inclusive manner to the communication needs of family farmers and the rural population at large. Recognized as a key factor in strengthening family farmers’ organizations and capacity for knowledge generation, the concept of RCS has evolved to become an integrated communication approach serving rural development processes.
Rural Communication Services (RCS) Research Award
Within the context of the IAMCR 2023 conference, with the theme of “Inhabiting the planet: Challenges for media, communication and beyond”, RUC has issued a call for papers that critically explore the conference themes in relation to rural communication and rural environments. (See the RUC CfP for 2023).
As part of the overall CfP, and in cooperation with FAO, four awards of 2,500 USD are being offered to authors of papers that advance our understanding of applications of Rural Communication Services, particularly in the areas of agriculture, family farming, natural resource management, climate change adaptation, food security, and disaster risk reduction and management. Special attention will be given to papers that consider elements such as: participatory design of communication services in rural areas; appropriation of media by family farmers; institutionalization of communication services for rural communities; and evidence-based approaches for inclusive rural communication services.
To be eligible for the award, you must be a Ph.D. student or early-career researcher/scholar and reside in a low- or middle-income country in Asia, Africa or the Latin America/Caribbean region (see the lists of low and middle-income countries). The 2,500 USD is to be used to defray costs of presenting the work at a special panel at IAMCR’s 2023 conference.
Interested authors must submit abstracts of their papers by the 9 February 2023 deadline, indicating that they wish to be considered for the FAO/IAMCR Award in step 5 of the submission process, “Topics”. Authors of selected abstracts will be informed by 17 March and required to submit final papers by 8 May. The FAO/IAMCR Award selection committee will evaluate the eligible papers and announce the winners no later than 5 June.
RCS Research Award Criteria
To be eligible for the award, you must be:
- A Ph.D. student or early-career researcher/scholar;
- Reside in a low or middle-income country in Asia, Africa, or the Latin America/Caribbean region (see the list of eligible countries) and;
- Be a current (2023) member of IAMCR (you can join anytime at https://iamcr.org/join/individual).
Submitted research must demonstrate how it will contribute to our understanding of rural communication, RCS, and the application of these in Africa, Asia, or Latin America. It must also follow the IAMCR RUC’s guidelines for abstract submission. Please check the Group’s call for proposals page (https://iamcr.org/lyon2023/cfp-ruc).
The award uses a two-steps application procedure:
- Step one is to submit an abstract in response to the Rural Communication Working Group's IAMCR 2023 call for proposals (deadline 9 February). Abstracts must be submitted through the IAMCR 2023 abstract submission page at https://iamcr2023.exordo.com/. When you submit that you want considered for the award, you must indicate this in the submission form by choosing the TOPIC “A submission to be considered for the FAO/IAMCR award”.
- Submitted abstracts will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of communication for development experts. If your abstract is accepted step 2 is to submit the final paper by 8 May. The final papers will be reviewed by the selection committee, who will select the winners and notify them at the beginning of June.
Submissions may be in English, French, or Spanish.
A good level of spoken English is required as this will be the language used for the conference.
Evaluation Criteria for Submitted Proposals:
- Significance of the study/Potential contribution to rural communication/RCS (30%)
- Novelty of topic (25%)
- Appropriateness of research methods and tools (30%)
- Researcher’s qualifications (15%)
Members of the Selection Committee:
- Elske van de Fliert (Chair), The University of Queensland, Australia | Global Research Initiative – Rural Communication (GRI-RC)
- Mario Acunzo, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Italy | CCComDev
- Rico Lie, Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands | IAMCR RUC, Global Research Initiative – Rural Communication (GRI-RC)
- Maria Stella C. Tirol, University of the Philippines Los Baños, the Philippines | CCComDev, Global Research Initiative – Rural Communication (GRI-RC)
Conflict of Interest Statement:
If a committee member has a conflict of interest, for example, a member of their staff or team has applied, the committee member may provide information as needed to inform the decision but must recuse themselves in the final decision-making process.