The RIU programme began in July 2006 as a follow-up to DFID's £220 million investment in the Renewable Natural Resources Research Strategy (RNRRS)
The RNRRS ran from 1995 to 2006, its aim being to "remove researchable constraints to the sustainable development and/or management of natural resources"
The strategy was managed through ten research programmes:
These ten research programmes were designed to generate new knowledge and promote its uptake and application. They addressed the needs of people operating in a range of environments who depend upon crops, livestock, fish or forests for their livelihoods.
Over 1600 individual research projects were undertaken under RNRRS; the 280 projects considered by the ten programme managers to have the highest potential for impact are included in the RIU's Natural Resources Knowledge (NRK)
The results achieved by the programmes and projects implemented under RNRRS showed that while there is potential for agricultural and natural resources research to reduce poverty, promote economic growth and mitigate environmental problems - and thus contribute to the Millennium Development Goals
- much of that potential remains unrealized, in part because of the difficulties of scaling up the results of research. RIU was therefore originally conceived as an activity that would link together the many agents involved in innovation - policymakers, researchers, suppliers and end-users - and enable a system which uses research to benefit the poor, leveraging greater impact from the RNRRS investment and exploring how the lessons learnt could be applied more broadly.
RIU's African and Asian programmes are currently exploring the potential of around 10% of the RNRRS portfolio of research outputs and others will be explored in RIU Best Bets