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Knowledge generation and transfer mechanisms are being transformed in important and controversial ways. Investment in research and development has increased in response to recognition that scientific productivity is tightly connected to economic dynamism. Patent protection has been expanded in order to stimulate higher levels of private investment. Intellectual property rights held by public organizations and researchers are now increasingly transferred to private organizations to accelerate the diffusion and enhance the value of knowledge produced by public agencies and universities. Additionally, new institutions such as university offices of technology transfer, venture capital markets, and a variety of consortia in knowledge-intensive industries are being established throughout the United States and in other parts of the world. These changes have led to a repositioning of the state in systems of innovation and an increase in the proprietary character of technical information.
The purpose of this book is to review and analyze i) contemporary transitions in agricultural knowledge generation and extension arrangements from an empirical perspective, and ii) emerging and contradictory perspectives as to how knowledge systems can be assessed effectively. The authors aim to provide the reader with a better understanding of the implications of new biotechnologies and new intellectual property rights regimes on public-private relations in science, the extent to which benefits from scientific knowledge are being appropriated by private sector actors, the diversity and possible outcomes of privatization initiatives in extension, and prospects for public goods production and ecological sustainability given contemporary trends. The book presents contrasting views on the degree of complementarity and substitution between private and public sector investments in research and extension. Recognizing that the labels `public' and `private' are incomplete and at times misleading descriptions of the structure and function of coordinating bodies in social systems, the analyses highlight ways in which public and private spaces and modes of functioning combine. In addition to illustrating a broad range of analytic methodologies useful for studying organizational questions in knowledge systems, the authors identify the implications of a range of past and potential institutional innovations.



Context and Analytic Principles


1. Beyond the Endless Frontier

From the Land Grant to the Entrepreneurial University
The U.S. Research University, combining education, research training and original investigation, is a worldwide exemplar. Nevertheless, unexpected resource constraints have created a crisis of confidence even more fundamental than the one engendered by student protesters in the 1960’s who, for all their attacks on academic tradition, viewed the university as the key to social change. The growth in government research support that took place from the onset of the World War II appeared to be coming to an end in the 1980s (Ziman 1994). While those subject to cuts are unhappy, their experience may also reflect a shift in societal interest from sciences, relevant to a past era, to sciences more relevant to the future. Physicists and chemists, who reached their height of influence during the two World Wars, have seen other disciplines, such as the medically related biological sciences and the information sciences, come to the fore. Thus, the shift in support among the sciences may be part of a broader reordering of disciplinary priorities with significant implications for academic structures. The increasing relevance of some basic science disciplines, such as biology, to technology development and the creation of new disciplines such as computer science that combine industrial and theoretical interests pave the way for the transformation of the relation of the university to industry and the larger society.
Henry Etzkowitz

2. Generation and Commercialization of Knowledge

Trends, Implications, and Models for Public and Private Agricultural Research and Education
The world economy is currently undergoing major restructuring and reorganization. An important contextual factor in these changes is the development and diffusion of new knowledge and technologies, particularly, in the areas of molecular genetics and biotechnologies, and computer science and information technologies. Social and economic changes and impacts stimulated by enhanced capacities in science and technology, are emerging in every area of human life including health, transportation, communication, and agriculture. In agriculture, university, government, and corporate leaders are all optimistic that these enhanced capacities will continue the evolution of the agriculture and food system locally and globally. However, apprehension and concern exist about the environmental, economic, social and value implications of this new knowledge and its application. This paper focuses on: 1) current trends and contextual factors for science-based knowledge generation and commercialization, and the restructuring of the agriculture and food system; 2) developments in public and private agricultural research and education; and 3) models for organizing this enterprise to realize the full potential of new knowledge and technology.
William Lacy

3. Public Research/Private Alignments

As some private firms have restructured themselves as life science companies, their culture and values have become a bit more like those of a research university. Similarly, as research universities have responded to the Bayh-Doyle Act of 1982, expanding their technology transfer activities, they too have become a bit more like private companies. The fundamental science conducted at research universities stretches over very long run planning horizons. Now that a number of companies have moved forcefully into long term research and development in the field of life science, their planning horizons have become more aligned with those of research universities. With few exceptions, this alignment is enhanced by research universities having little if any expertise in capturing the market value of their discoveries. Hence, at some stage in the research and development process, research universities must turn to private companies who have greater expertise in the commercialization process. Still another layer of incentive alignment arises because of the complementarities in intellectual capital; the similarities but yet the distinct and differentiated culture and values that exist at research universities versus private companies provide the opportunity for pursuing synergies in the discovery process, especially in functional genomics. Moreover, the incentives that both organizations are prone to offer to their creative researches are another source of alignment.
Gordon Rausser

4. Challenges for Public Agricultural Research and Extension in a World of Proprietary Science and Technology

Recent developments in both biotechnology and intellectual property rights in the legal system have made things very interesting for scientists, businessmen and consumers, in both developed and less developed countries. They have also served up some fairly thorny problems for the operation of non-profits and public research institutions in this new environment.
Brian Wright

5. Finance, Organization, and Impacts of U.S. Agricultural Research: Future Prospects

The objective of this paper is to review key conceptual issues in the finance, management, and economic impact analysis of agricultural research of the U.S. and other western developed countries, to critique evidence on the impacts of R&D, to summarize new developments and emerging trends in agricultural science policy, and to speculate about the likely effect of these trends during the 21st century on impacts of R&D. The conceptual review will emphasize refinements in the theory of public goods associated with a class of impure public goods. Some overall conclusions will be presented for U.S. agricultural research policy of the 21st century.
Wallace Huffman

6. Agricultural Knowledge Systems: Issues of Accountability

Formal knowledge creation is a critical part of food systems. It occurs in various social spaces: the state (public sector), the market (for-profit private sector), and civil society (formal and informal groups of citizens). These sectors can overlap in a variety of ways. Further, they differ in terms of accountability. They have different stakeholders, different expectations, and different sanctions where those expectations are not met. In this chapter, I discuss the accountability of each of these “intellectual spaces”. First, I present the general situation for each of the three separate spaces, which impacts the degree to which accountability can be achieved and the mechanisms chosen to meet those goals within the knowledge systems. Then I present expectations for knowledge systems that emerge from the different spaces in terms of societal resource stocks and flows: human, social, natural and financial. Finally, I discuss the relations among the sectors in terms of accountability, focussing on what civil society might expect from the market and the state in terms of knowledge systems. The focus is on publicly supported agricultural knowledge systems.
Cornelia Butler Flora

7. Institutional Innovation in Natural Resource Management

A Conceptualization and Some Australian Examples
Coordinating individual behavior for the common good in resource management situations with common property characteristics has many dimensions involving knowledge and information. The approaches used to coordinate individual behavior in such resource management situations include use of regulation and incentives, education and extension, reliance on informal social arrangements and enforcement of rules, and appeals to moral or ethical ideals. Economists commonly have favored the first set of these approaches: the use of regulation or incentives. However many economic transactions involve more complex relationships, reflecting the inadequacy of information and risks associated with the transaction. Typically, these consequences give rise to transaction costs (Coase 1937). Transaction costs include search and information costs; drafting, bargaining and decision costs; costs of safeguarding an agreement; monitoring and enforcement costs; and adaptation and haggling costs. When transaction costs are high, economic transactions are often facilitated by less formal, or other institutionalized, social arrangements.
John Cary

Empirical Studies


8. Land-Grant/Industry Relationships and the Institutional Relations of Technological Innovation in Agriculture

Longitudinal Evidence From National Surveys of Agricultural Scientists
There is scarcely an agricultural research administrator or policymaker who is unaware of the scholarly tradition of induced innovation, at least insofar as its “returns to research” branch is concerned. The stylized take-home message from studies in the returns to research tradition has been that public investments in agricultural research and development (R&D) have consistently tended to result in internal rates of return of 30 percent or more, and frequently much greater than this (see, for example, Ruttan 1980; Huffman and Evenson 1993). Agricultural research administrators and policymakers have naturally welcomed being able to appeal to legislators and constituents by saying that because the returns to public R&D have been so consistently high, far greater sums could be invested with the near certainty that these funds would generate very high internal rates of return to public investments.
Frederick H. Buttel

9. Structure of Public-Private Knowledge Networks in Plant Biotechnology: An EU-US Comparison

Plant biotechnology innovation in the US and the European Union (EU) has been characterized by significant differences in the rates of commercialization (Joly and Lemarie 1998; Zechendorf 1998). Substantial differences also exist in the way the public and private sectors in these two regions collaborate for the development of new knowledge in the area of plant biotechnology. In this paper we examine the structures of the US and EU private-public knowledge networks and their impact on knowledge generation in plant biotechnology.
Irini Theodorakopoulou, Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes

10. Offices of Technology Transfer: Privatizing University Innovations for Agriculture

Today most universities with active research programs have an office of technology transfer (OTT) that establishes patents and sells patent use licenses to commercial enterprises. OTTs are relatively new phenomena. A recent survey by the authors found that, from a sample of 34 U.S. universities, 28 established OTTs during the 1980s and 90s. Prior to the advent of OTTs, sponsored projects offices transferred a few university patents to the private sector.
Douglas Parker, David Zilberman, Federico Castillo

11. Origins of Public-Private Knowledge Flows and Current State-of-the-Art

Can Agriculture Learn from Industry?
This paper will present the results of a British study which investigated how, to what extent and why companies in three emerging technologies use knowledge from public sector research during their innovation activities. The study will be set in the context of the historical background to public-private knowledge flows in industry and details of current British policy to harness public sector research to wealth creation. The methodology for the study will be fully described before presenting some of the main results. A review of the history of publicly-funded agricultural research in Britain will then provide an opportunity to consider how far lessons about university/industry interactions can be extrapolated to agricultural research. This material will provide a framework for discussing the opportunities and barriers to public/private knowledge flows in agriculture in the 21st century.
Jacqueline Senker, Wendy Faulkner

12. Institutional Relations in Agricultural Information Systems

Markets and government action are increasingly regarded as complements. While market-based policy instruments remain ascendant, calls for wholesale public sector disengagement via deregulation and privatization appear to have lost much of their political momentum and technical appeal. There is a growing acknowledgment that economic development and regulation are effectively pursued through synthesis of diverse institutional mechanisms. The popularity within a variety of social science traditions of states and markets as reciprocally embedded attests to academics’ assent to this view. In reviewing our passage through an era of aggressive expansion and deepening of market-logic (fueled in no small part by the end of the Cold War and opportunities for decentralization through information technology), and our arrival at a time where state intervention is broadly regarded as legitimate, Evans (1995) notes that analysts and policy makers must now move beyond the question of how much state intervention to confront the more useful question of what types of public sector participation will serve to meet our objectives.
Steven Wolf, David Zilberman, Steve Wu, David Just

13. Innovative Models of Technology Generation and Transfer: Lessons Learned from the South

Historical and current experience worldwide has shown that conventional models of technology generation and transfer have frequently been ineffective to ensure implementation of sustainable methods and processes for agricultural and rural development, particularly in the South (i.e., developing countries). Effective alternatives have been developed in recent years, offering useful lessons for both present and future applications, in both the South and North; yet, relatively few groups have adopted such approaches. Nevertheless, in areas where producers are using such alternatives, much progress has been achieved towards achieving sustainable food security, increasing productivity, preventing resource degradation, and spreading benefits equitably in society (SANE 1998; Thrupp 1996; Altieri 1987; UNDP 1995; Pretty 1995; Gliessman 1997).
Lori Ann Thrupp, Miguel Altieri

14. Whither Agricultural Extension Worldwide? Reforms and Prospects

Where is agricultural extension headed? Over the past two decades of the 20th century, societies moved toward an accelerated agricultural modernization and a macroeconomic reduction of public services. Agricultural extension, like other historically considered public goods, underwent and is still undergoing systemic reform. Its systems have been decentralized in various ways — (a) structurally through shifting partial or full authority for extension to lower levels of government or to private entities, (b) financially through cost-sharing and cost-recovery schemes, and (c) managerially through the democratization of the decision-making process to include grassroots stakeholders and in other cases rescinding government involvement entirely. In developing countries, pluralism has become governments’ goal, to include other, usually private, organizations in both the funding and delivery of extension services.
William Rivera

15. Agricultural Extension: Generic Challenges and the Ingredients for Solutions

Poverty, hunger, economic growth, food production, and natural resource degradation are all great challenges in today’s world. As the global population climbs to an expected 8,000 million by 2025, today at least 800 million people suffer from chronic hunger. Pervasive poverty will remain largely rural, even as urban populations triple in the same time period. Ensuring a thriving agricultural economy is critical for reducing poverty, enabling food security, and managing natural resources in a sustainable fashion. Agriculture provides a livelihood for more than 60 percent of developing country populations, and in many countries, farm families make up 80 percent or more of the population (World Bank 1990).
Gershon Feder, Anthony Willett, Willem Zijp



16. Conclusion: Institutional Dimensions of Knowledge System Design and Analysis

This volume indicates that knowledge generation and technical change processes in agriculture, and perhaps throughout the economy, are evolving in important ways. Beyond specifying the rationale for and mechanics of these developments, the book raises our appreciation of the political and economic stakes involved. The position of the university in socio-technical systems is a leading theme. The university is an exemplar of a public resource in the broadest sense. Debate as to what functions it performs and which groups it services represents a point of entry to a set of overarching questions: what is the role of collective institutions in society, on what basis are claims to public resources deemed to be legitimate, and what mechanisms are available to the state to shape socioeconomic and technical development.
Steven Wolf, David Zilberman


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