Msc thesis opportunity with AgriProFocus

Are you interested in investigating how multi-stakeholder platforms stimulate entrepreneurship and how they contribute in building entrepreneurial networks? If so, here is the opportunity!!

AgriProFocus is a partnership with Dutch roots that promotes farmer entrepreneurship in developing countries. The AgriProFocus network members are organizations and companies that gather, train, connect and provide inputs and credit to farmer entrepreneurs and producer organizations. By promoting entrepreneurship and connecting producers with national and international markets, AgriProFocus members aim to both open up market potential for business in developing countries, as well as meet with the challenge of sustainably feeding 9 billion people by 2050. See here  for more info.

The Management Studies Group (MST) at Wageningen University participates to the AgriProFocus network both in the Netherlands and in many developing countries. The MST is a center of excellence that investigates worldwide how the organization and management of multi-stakeholder platforms influence their impact on participants and on society. From an academic standpoint, AgriProFocus is a particularly interesting case of multi-stakeholder platform given its structure that combines networks and hierarchy at multiple levels, from global to local, to achieve impact and influence on participants’ and farmers’ capabilities (see recent MSc thesis by WUR-graduate Mr. Noor Ali:link1  and link2).

MSc Thesis Opportunity 1 with AgriProFocus and MST

Key Question:

How does AgriProFocus stimulate entrepreneurial capabilities and behavior of the various actors in emerging economies? 

Background. Participants to AgriProFocus local events and online platforms include a variety of actors including: producer organizations, companies, NGOs, agribusiness services/consultants/information providers, input suppliers, knowledge institutions, government officers and farmers themselves. These actors may be key information intermediaries between the network’s activities and services and farmers’ communities, thus they may play a key role on farmers’ entrepreneurship and food security. While the number of involved and participating actors with the AgriProFocus network overall increases, open questions are: what do they exactly learn from the network? How they use the acquired information and knowledge in their business and in their relations with others (including farmer entrepreneurs and their communities)?

Call for MSc students.  We are seeking students with a background and vivid interest in management, marketing and economics (thus from MME MSc program or similar) with a vivid interest in entrepreneurship and innovation in developing countries.  The student will use theories on organization and entrepreneurship to refine and tackle this relevant question. Depending on the specific theories and methods, which will be chosen together with the student, academic co-supervision may include faculty from Agricultural Economics and Policy Group (AEP) or others.

Research implementation. As all the major MSc theses, the research will take approximately 6 months. In agreement with AgriProFocus, there are possibilities to leverage AgriProFocus resources and international networks for collecting data. The data collection may involve paid international travel based on specific agreements between AgriProFocus, MST and the student. In particular, data may be available for triangulation from one or more of these sources:

1) Questionnaires to participants during and/or after local AgriProFocus -supported events (for example finance, agribusiness and marketplace events).

2)  Online surveys to all AgriProFocus members.

3) Interviews with AgriProFocus event participants and their stakeholders.

MSc Thesis Opportunity 2 with AgriProFocus & MST

Key Question:

How does AgriProFocus contribute to building entrepreneurial networks in developing countries?

Background. Participants to AgriProFocus local events and online platforms include a variety of actors including: producer organizations, companies, NGOs, agribusiness services/consultants/information providers, input suppliers, knowledge institutions, government officers and farmers themselves. Much of the learning by these actors, and between them and – particularly – farmers they work with, occurs among them – in their own circles so to speak – as a result of the network’s activities and services, rather through direct knowledge transfer from AgriProFocus to participants. Thus, AgriProFocus facilitates knowledge to develop. So an open question is: how does the network of AgriProFocus participants evolve over time, and which resources do these actors exchange through the network? What are the key resources and “rules of the game” that AgriProFocus provides to facilitate the network?

Call for MSc students.  We are seeking students with a background and vivid interest in management, marketing and economics (thus from MME MSc program or similar) with a vivid interest in entrepreneurship and innovation in developing countries.  The student will use theories on organization, innovation and entrepreneurship to refine and tackle this relevant question. Methods will possibly include web crawling techniques and value network analysis (link), which MST has already experimented in Malawi (link). Depending on the theories and methods, which will be chosen together with the student, academic co-supervision may include faculty from Knowledge, Technology and Information Group (KTI), Rural Sociology Group (RSO), or others.

Research implementation. As all the major MSc theses, the research will take approximately 6 months. In agreement with AgriProFocus, there are possibilities to leverage AgriProFocus resources and international networks for collecting data. The data collection may involve paid international travel based on specific agreements between AgriProFocus , MST and the student. In particular, data may be available for triangulation from one or more of these sources:

  1. Questionnaires to participants during and/or after local AgriProFocus -supported events (for example finance, agribusiness and marketplace events).
  2. Online surveys to all AgriProFocus members.
  3. Interviews with AgriProFocus event participants and their stakeholders.

Interested? Please contact Dr. Domenico Dentoni (Management Studes Group) at domenico.dentoni@wur.nl

About GCFSI

This is the official account of Global Center for Food Systems Innovation at Wageningen University. The Students' Blog, www.gcfsiwur.wordpress.com, is attached to this account.

Posted on April 14, 2015, in Thesis opportunities and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: