[ASC-media] How to Manage Agricultural Research

Cathy Reade creade at squirrel.com.au
Mon Nov 14 13:59:51 EST 2005


14 November 2005


Australia has a proud history and reputation in agricultural research and
its management. A new book will help impart some of the reasons why
agricultural research in Australia ‘works’ but includes input from all over
the world.

“Research Management in Agriculture: A Manual for the Twenty First Century”,
with Ian Metcalfe, Bruce Holloway, Jim McWilliam & Neil Inall (editors) is
being launched today (14 November) at the University of New England (UNE).

The book is a collaborative effort between the ATSE Crawford Fund and the
UNE, with an interesting history and international input.

“We wanted to help improve the management of agricultural research in
developing countries, where every dollar counts and the impact is so
desperately needed to alleviate poverty and hunger. So we developed and ran
three very successful and sought-after Master Classes in Research Management
in Agriculture with participants from Africa, Indonesia, Philippines, China,
PNG, Cambodia, Vietnam, Colombia, Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and
Zimbabwe,” said Professor Bruce Holloway, one of the editors of the book who
was the Crawford Fund coordinator of the Master Classes in Research

“Participants were all senior management personnel from key agricultural
agencies in their home countries who provided significant input to the
Classes and humbling lessons for us all.”

“But we needed a resource so the experience and knowledge provided and
refined for each Master Class could go further afield, nationally and
internationally. So the modules of the Master Classes became the chapters of
the book,” explained Bruce.

“What we also learned is that despite the different governments, research
conditions and national priorities faced by agricultural research managers,
they all face the same set of difficulties and demands.”

“They are collectively facing a tougher, more competitive funding
environment, as well as the need for greater accountability in terms of the
adoption and the impact of research outputs. And in developing countries
these pressures can be exacerbated by very low funding, limited facilities
and sometimes government policy and bureaucracy.”

“So the book has a practical set of principles and guidelines to improve the
way in which agricultural research is being organised, conducted and
financed. It will be equally helpful to managers in developing and developed
countries,” said Bruce.

“And we also expect that some of the Master Class participants will become
the research leaders of tomorrow”.

Bruce noted that if there is one key lesson he hopes the book will impart,
it is that collaboration and communication are key features of efficient
agricultural research management.

“Successful research outcomes are only achieved through inclusive
involvement of clients and stakeholders at all stages of the research,
beginning with priority setting and planning, then right through to the
application of research outputs and outcomes for the end users - more often
than not, the farmers.”

For further information and interviews, contact:
Cathy Reade, Coordinator, Public Awareness Campaign, ATSE Crawford Fund 0413
575 934
Bruce Holloway,  Book Editor and Master Class in RM Coordinator, 0419377987

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