Science, Agriculture and Research: A Compromised Participation?

William Buhler, Stephen Morse, Eddie Arthur, Susannah Bolton and Judy Mann 
Earthscan  2002  

Hardback  220pp  ISBN 9781853836961      £90.00

Softcover  220pp  ISBN 9781853836916      £33.00
Biotechnology, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), 'mad cow disease', chemical contamination and other food scares have all put the spotlight on new developments in food production and the way in which agricultural research is conducted. Some argue that the research is in the pockets of the agribusiness multinationals, with scant regard other than for their profits. Others maintain that without new technologies there is little chance of finding ways to feed the world's growing population.

In this clear, concise and illuminating book, agricultural researchers themselves explain what is involved: why they do what they do, what drives the research methods and agenda, who funds it and how the whole system functions. They explore the complexities and trade-offs in a vital field of scientific work which, like many other areas of science, affect all of us and raise important questions of trust, public perception and management. They show what, in an inevitably imperfect process, is necessary to ensure responsible and accountable new technologies and applications.


The Approach Taken

  1. What Drives Agricultural Research?
    The Research Process and Policy - How Does it all Work?
    The Importance of Funding in Research
    Who Are the Funding Agencies, How Do They Work and What is Their Remit?
    Who is Intended to Benefit from the Research?
    The Peer-review Process and Research Funding
    The Funding Agency Panels and Boards and Who Influences Them
    The Importance of Accountability and Value for Money
    The Move to Short-termism

  2. From Jethro Tull to Grain Mountains: The Origins and Development of Agricultural Research Systems
    A Time-frame of Agricultural Developments since 1700
    Problems with Production
    The Agricultural Revolution: A Thirst for Knowledge and its Application
    Science into Practice - Early Models
    Shifting Power: The Democratization of Research
    The Politics of Agriculture - Protection versus Improvement
    The Industrialization of Agriculture and the Research Process
    Control and Accountability

  3. Agriculture and the Empire: Transferring Technocracies
    The Empire and Agricultural Research
    Case Study: Nigeria
    Agricultural Research Systems in Nigeria
    Agricultural Extension
    The CGIAR and Africa's Green Revolution
    Summary and Conclusions

  4. Modern Times: Agribusiness and Biotechnology
    Time-frame: 1947-2000
    Farming Priorities for UK Agricultural Research - Declining Participation
    Rothschild Report
    Determining Funding Objectives
    Guidance from Foresight
    Contributions from the EU
    Political Agenda of EU Integration?
    Applying Applied Science
    Academia and Industry Interactions
    Farmer Participation?
    Future - What Future?

  5. The Rise (and Further Rise?) of Participation
    The Origins of Participation
    Agro-ecosystem Analysis
    Farming Systems Research
    Rapid and Participatory Appraisal
    Current Fronts of Participation
    The Further Rise of Participation?
    Participation, Research and the CGIAR
    The Limits of Participation
    Summary and Conclusions

  6. A Compromised Participation?
    The Agricultural Process and Those Involved
    The Role of Agricultural Research
    Who are the Perceived Beneficiaries?
    Who Funds Agricultural Research?
    Public Perceptions
    Science and Society
    The Political Agenda of Research Funders
    Compromised Participation in Overseas Development
    Compromised Participation in the UK
    Concluding Comments

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