Building synergies in development research: is it time for the Mosaic Approach?

Development research has responded to a number of charges over the past few decades. For example, when traditional research was accused of being 'top-down', the response was participatory research, linking the 'receptors' to the generators of research. As participatory processes were recognised as producing limited outcomes, the demand-led agenda was born. In response to the alleged failure of research to deliver its products, the 'joined-up' model, which links research with the private sector, has become popular. However, using examples from animal-health research, this article demonstrates that all the aforementioned approaches are seriously limited in their attempts to generate outputs to address the multi-faceted problems facing the poor. The article outlines a new approach to research: the Mosaic Model. By combining different knowledge forms, and focusing on existing gaps, the model aims to bridge basic and applied findings to enhance the efficiency and value of research, past, present, and future.