SIL Network Goes Digital


8th March, 2022






Total Org.


Public Org.


Private Org.

Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL)

The Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) is a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project led by the University of Illinois.

The mission of SIL is to provide researchers, extensionists, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, and funders operating across the entire value chain, the critical information and technology needed for the successful advancement of soybean development in Africa.

  • 1st wave

  • 2nd wave

Electronic data collection

SIL partners are swapping their pencil and paper for an easy-to-use data collection tool they can launch on their tablets or mobile devices. This year, close to 500,000 data points are expected to be collected, stored, and analyzed digitally among the SIL networks.

This enormous feat will be accomplished by a dedicated network of soybean professionals spanning 53 organizations. By the end of 2022, practitioners managing 225 trials across 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean will collect high-quality electronic data in real-time for their operations on varietal and agronomic performance, commercial input effectiveness, and disease and pest resistance.

QuickTrials end of 2022

The initial cohort of QuickTrials users spans 9 countries. Electronic data collection for this group is occurring in real-time.

Collections and access

Electronic data collection means quicker, more accurate, and more reliable performance data. This translates to timely and accurate recommendations for the soybean seed industry. SIL partners use QuickTrials, which allows for real-time data sharing between collaborators, and is familiar among industry partners already. QuickTrials allows users to collect data in the field without internet access then upload data to the shared cloud so partners can view and access.


An initial cohort of QuickTrials users have already begun collecting data this growing season using the app, including partners in Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Bangladesh, Madagascar, and Zambia, with Malawi and South Africa collecting soon. Of the partners pictured below, over half are from the private sector, and for almost all partners this was their first experience with electronic data collection and real-time interaction with collaborators located in another hemisphere.

“ Data collection is a very laborious activity, which scares most of our team’s researchers. But, with the QuickTrials app, we have a handy tool that helps us collect data that is trustworthy.

Charles Mazereku

Department of Agricultural Research, Botswana

“ Electronic data collection using QuickTrials is the next wave for the SIL network. QuickTrials speeds up data collection, improves data quality, and offers real-time communication among SIL networks. Seamless data entry and storage allows for more efficient quality control and analysis, enabling us to deliver results to our clients faster.”

Dr. Erica Leles, Data Manager,

Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL)

“ QuickTrials is a user-friendly app that helps us a lot in data collection. Electronic data collection is the future because we can’t move forward with paper and pen, coming back to the office to transcribe a lot of data.”

Dr. Wanga Athon

Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Namibia

Across the SIL network, practitioner partners collect close to 500,000 data points annually across the trial stages, from basic information to emergence, flowering, maturity, harvest, and post-harvest details.

493,742 electronic data points collected annually

  • Basic

  • Emergence

  • Flowering

  • Maturity

  • Harvest

  • Post-harvest

To download this case study as a PDF please click here

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