Frontiers | A Vision for 21st Century Agricultural Research | From Rich Jorgensen

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from Richard A. Jorgensen, Guanajuato, México
Let’s admit an unfor­tu­nate truth: agri­cul­tural research in most of the world is based on old mod­els that no longer serve us well in the twenty-first cen­tury as arable land dimin­ishes, pop­u­la­tions increase, and cli­mate is chan­ging. A dra­mat­ic­ally new vis­ion is needed in order to remake agri­cul­tural research, per­haps rad­ic­ally, to address the chal­lenges of the world we find ourselves in today. Here is an attempt to begin to develop such a vision.

(1) We must learn to value found­a­tional (basic) and applied research equally.
(2) We need much stronger Foundational Research than cur­rently exists
(3) Applied Science must be reor­gan­ized around major concepts

(4) To repeat and extend the first point above (because it is so import­ant), suc­cess requires that we foster devel­op­ment of new cul­tures and new com­munit­ies that are coin­cid­ent with needs, not tra­di­tion. The needs for new com­munit­ies are many and varied.

To achieve this vis­ion will require us to let go of habits and pre­con­ceived notions in order to work toward under­stand­ing the diverse cul­tures and com­munit­ies that com­prise research, exten­sion, and industry and to find new ways of bring­ing them together pro­duct­ively and cre­at­ively in order to cre­ate syn­er­gies and achieve effi­cien­cies. The spe­cific ways for achiev­ing this vis­ion will be many and var­ied, and will require the cre­at­ive efforts of sci­ent­ists, engin­eers, fun­ders, industry par­ti­cipants, and poli­cy­makers everywhere.

Where should we start? Three prin­cipal areas need to be dra­mat­ic­ally reor­gan­ized: the ways that we fund research, the ways that organ­ize our research insti­tu­tions, and the ways that we define suc­cess and eval­u­ate pro­gress toward the goals above.

Funding pri­or­it­ies need to be dra­mat­ic­ally refo­cused.“
See on www​.fron​ti​ersin​.org

Editor Pat Heslop-Harrison. ORCID 0000-0002-3105-2167

Pat Heslop-Harrison is Professor of Molecular Cytogenetics and Cell Biology at the University of Leicester. He is also Chief Editor of Annals of Botany.

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