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Collaboration A key element of the committee' s vision of the future is greater collaboration to enable the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area to address future research opportunities more effectively. Collaboration will need to be enhanced both within REE and between REE and other research institutions. This chapter considers current collabora- tions and mechanisms to support collaboration, including collaborative research across scientific disciplines, among agencies within REE, with other federal research agencies outside USDA, with nonprofit and international research orga- nizations, and between research and extension. The final section of this chapter considers collaboration between the public and private sectors in agricultural research in some detail because this is a subject of growing importance. MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH The success of the agriculture and food enterprise that followed the estab- lishment of USDA and development of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in production agriculture through the 1980s was the result of targeted investments in meeting needs of individual states and agricultural regions. That led to produc- tion of abundant food, feed, and fiber for America and the world. To realize that success, agricultural scientists generally maintained fairly sharp disciplinary divisions in their educational background, research orientation, criteria for research-problem choice, and publication activities (Busch and Lacy, 1983; Huffman and Evenson, 1993~. Disciplinary problems were likely to receive more support than research on complex applied problems that crossed disciplinary lines. Such problems are more specialized, reductionist in approach, and easier to assess 96
COLLABORATION 97 in terms of disciplinary significance. However, that self-reinforcement also implied that the stock of knowledge produced by each of the disciplines could be disconnected from that of other disciplines. Moreover, by focusing on aspects of the world that are deemed relevant by a particular discipline, scientists appeared to ignore problems that resided outside their competence. Today, the increasing complexity of the issues and challenges facing our food and fiber system, the environment, and families and communities requires disciplinary, multi- disciplinary, and systems-level approaches. The future success of the agriculture enterprise in solving complex applied problems will require collaborative and interactive participation across greater numbers of disciplines. The committee observed that a key conceptual shift in the scientific founda- tion of agriculture has been the recognition that effective solutions to many food, health, environmental, and community-development concerns require both a strong disciplinary perspective and a multidisciplinary and integrated systems perspective. For example, research that is strictly physical and biologic will yield physical and biologic solutions, but most complex agricultural, environmental and community challenges require an equally rigorous understanding of social and economic issues. In many cases, the socioeconomic portion of a problem is as complex and unstudied as the biologic and physical and requires fundamental social-science research. For example, Matson et al. (1997) describe how social, demographic, and economic factors have affected adoption of various farming practices and therefore agriculture's impacts on ecosystem processes, and they call for research integrating social and natural sciences to develop sustainable agriculture. A multiscale, integrated systems approach to research will yield complemen- tary and robust scientific insight and results. It also will produce research that is more anticipatory by providing a deeper understanding of food and agricultural systems. Ultimately, effective approaches will depend on an integration of the biophysical and socioeconomic research, and the integration should occur from the outset. An integrated approach to research will enable scientists and analysts to more rapidly determine which new technologies or changing agricultural prac- tices and policies will cause beneficial and adverse impacts and consequently provide a richer set of options for ensuring a sustainable food system, generating environmental benefits, and enhancing communities. A systems approach to evaluating agricultural technologies, for example, requires more than understanding how effective technologies will be. In the case of new plant-based technologies, such as transgenics, a systems approach would ask such questions as, Will this particular option provide potential environmen- tal, economic, or social benefits, either direct or indirect? For example, how might integration of the technology into existing cropping systems affect, favor- ably or adversely, nontarget organisms, overall biodiversity, water quality, fresh water and marine ecosystems, and community infrastructure? A systems ap-
98 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH preach that incorporates multidisciplinary research must also address economic and social viability of technologies. Agriculture and our food system affect and are profoundly affected by human societies and behaviors. Developing policies that shape agriculture's future and serve the public good will require an understanding of societal changes the quality of life in rural communities, aesthetics and the burgeoning land-trust movement, projected demographic and land-use changes, and the effects of globalization on local and national economies (e.g., Flora, 2001~. REE has engaged in a number of effective multidisciplinary efforts. For example, the 1990 National Water Quality Initiative provided a potential model for coordinating multidisciplinary and multilocal research and extension efforts across federal agencies to meet a national environmental-research need (Amerman et al., 2001; Caswell, 2001; Zucker and Brown, 1998~. This 10-year program was a joint venture of ARS, the Cooperative State Research, Extension, and Educa- tion Service (CSREES), the Economic Research Service (ERS), the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with the Department of the Interior (DOI), the US Geological Survey, the Department of Commerce (DOC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The aim of the program was to reduce agricultural watershed contamination by nitrogen, phosphorus, and pesticides through a combination of research, education, and outreach projects funded competitively by ARS base funds, ERS cooperative agreements, CSREES special grants, and cost-sharing and technical assistance via NRCS. The program was implemented by using five Management Systems Evaluation Areas, 149 inhouse and cooperative projects, and incentive payments for the adoption of improved farm-management systems. From its inception, the initiative used a multidisciplinary and systems-level ap- proach, with representation of all relevant disciplines and coordinated implemen- tation. Initially, a small working group was formed with representatives of each of the USDA agencies. Although disciplinary identity was maintained in the agencies, multiple efforts were coordinated by a steering committee at the secretary's level in USDA; this resulted in integration of the results of local re- search projects and outreach efforts to accomplish a national goal. This model deserves further consideration in REE agencies' strategic planning, implementa- tion, and program execution. Another key example within CSREES of a strong commitment to multi- disciplinary approaches has been the various competitive research-grantpro- grams, such as the National Research Initiative (NRI), the Fund for Rural America (FRA), and the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS). Through those programs, the agency has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to multidisciplinary work, recognizing that many of the important ques- tions facing food, agriculture, the environment, and communities are at the disciplinary boundaries. Under legislative mandate, the NRI requires that a
COLLABORATION 99 portion of awards be multidisciplinary, and the FRA and IFAFS have multistate and multidisciplinary requirements. At the same time, leaders at ARS and ERS indicate that although some inter- action between their staffs occurs, the interaction is not systematically organized to provide the kind of long-term multidisciplinary research needed for the future. They note that the staffs of ERS and ARS operate essentially in different domains. The ARS administrator observed in an interview with the committee that the lack of a mechanism to involve social scientists is "a major deficiency" in the national agricultural research program. In REE research programs the extent of integration, multidisciplinary research, and multidisciplinary complementarily varies widely. Developing a systems approach will require a greater emphasis on multi- disciplinary research planning and execution that combine rigorous techniques in the biologic, social, and physical sciences. Because multidisciplinary work brings together knowledge and methods from different fields, it involves fewer simpli- fying assumptions and can yield more robust solutions to complex problems. This kind of approach is essential for many of the new agricultural methods, processes, and technologies. USDA's research system, particularly ERS and ARS, will need to evaluate the success of multidisciplinary structures such as task forces, centers, institutes, and initiatives in terms of their potential applica- tion in REE. Institutions responsible for and engaged in graduate education need to expand multidisciplinary education to include a broader understanding and appreciation of different scientific perspectives and to provide a better integration of those perspectives. Multidisciplinary interdepartmental graduate fields are promising developments, but they often lack adequate institutional support and must rely on academic departments for resources and faculty time. The restructuring of gradu- ate education must start with policies, practices, and norms regarding curriculum, seminars, professional meetings, appropriate journals, and other key means of mentoring and professionally socializing the next generation of scientists. Such changes have the potential to strengthen multidisciplinary agricultural and food- systems research. (Examples of CSREES-funded education efforts are discussed further in Chapter 7.) In the context of more rigorous and advanced disciplinary sciences, multi- disciplinary programs risk producing "jacks of all trades but masters of none." Some multidisciplinary programs in colleges of agriculture have not always been particularly successful, especially at the PhD level. Graduate integrated pest- management programs and programs in sustainable agriculture are examples. But there are some successful multidisciplinary graduate programs, such as molecular biology programs, bioinformatics, and risk-assessment programs. Although developing multidisciplinary programs for the sake of being multidisciplinary is not useful, and not all problems need multidisciplinary approaches, new disci- plines are being demanded, and the system needs to move forward to meet the demands.
100 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH COLLABORATION WITHIN REE Effective collaboration among the land-grant universities and their colleges of agriculture, forestry, and human ecology (CSREES) and other REE units has been in effect for a long time. With the passage of the Federal Research and Marketing Act in 1946 (US Congress, 1946), one-fourth of the formula funds (Hatch and McIntire-Stennis) were set aside for regional research, thereby stimu- lating many interuniversity collaborative efforts. The Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (US Congress, 1998) changed the title of these programs from regional to multistate, as many of these projects are national in scope. Today, many regional research projects involve multiple states, multiple regions, multiple universities (land-grant and non-land-grant), ARS, ERS, and other profit and nonprofit organizations. Examples of REE leadership in regional research efforts are found in Box 5-1. Regional rural development centers have been another model for effective interuniversity collaborative research in CSREES. Although they require more coordination and cooperation among scientists and more administrative support than individual-scientist projects, the regional efforts generally have been success- ful. Most projects have produced numerous important scientific peer-reviewed publications and policy analyses and have addressed relevant practical issues with sound science in ways not often possible through individual projects. In addition to multistate research, ARS has successfully collaborated with land-grant universities and CSREES particularly in the plant and animal sciences. ARS has often located its research facilities close to the universities or posted its scientific staff at universities. Similarly, ERS has joined with land-grant univer- sities in collaborative work and cooperative agreements primarily with depart- ments of agricultural and resource economics and to a more limited extent with rural sociology, nutrition, and public health. As noted above, however, mecha- nisms for including the social sciences in the ARS research agenda and stimulat- ing appropriate collaboration pose a major challenge for the national agricultural research program. ARS and ERS will need to work together to identify ways in which this collaboration might successfully occur in the future. In one of the unique collaborations in REE, particularly at the land-grant university level, knowledge has been generated through research and dissemi- nated and applied through teaching and extension. No other scientific commu- nity enjoys a direct and formal relationship with a community-based educational organization committed to putting its knowledge and scientific findings to work to improve communities and citizens' lives. Collaboration has been strengthened by having extension faculty in university departments of agriculture, forestry, and human ecology and often by having faculty with joint research and extension appointments. Organizationally, at USDA, this collaboration was enhanced several years ago with the merger of the USDA Extension Service and the Coop- erative State Research Service to form CSREES. The collaboration between
102 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH research and extension has been highly successful in universities, but collabora- tion between extension and the other REE agencies ARS, ERS, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has not been as effective. There are no formal links between extension and the other three REE agencies. COLLABORATION IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT Increasingly, collaboration with other government agencies is important to REE's success in carrying out its mission. Many of the issues facing REE agencies require expertise and knowledge that extend beyond its traditional scope. Therefore, REE agencies have developed numerous collaborations with both fed- eral research and action or regulatory agencies. The list of collaborators includes the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), EPA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), FDA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Military, DOI, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Defense (DOD). In nutrition, for example, existing NIH-ARS collaborations include the National Food and Nutrition Analyses Program, which sets priorities for main- taining the National Nutrient Databank; an interagency agreement between NIH and the ARS Food Composition Laboratory for the development of new chemical methods for analyzing nutrients and other biologically active compounds in foods; and a 1998 Carotenoid Food Composition Database developed jointly by ARS and the Nutrition Coordinating Center at the University of Minnesota with partial funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) (USDA, 1998~. Other potential models of collaboration are the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by ARS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and a partnership involving CDC, NIH, USDA, and others to improve availability of high-quality data related to fruit and vegetable consumption in support of the "5 A Day for Better Health Program." There is still untapped potential for collaboration in food and nutrition. In the case of complex diseases with nutritional components, such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, most genetic research is conducted under the auspices of NIH and private industry, but broader collaboration will be essential for addressing these health issues. Nutrition research at NIH includes the determina- tion of the biochemical functions of nutrients and other food components in biologic systems, exploring differences in biochemical functions resulting from genetics, environmental factors, and disease conditions. NIH nutrition research focuses on how to prevent, control, and treat diet-related diseases and conditions. The results of NIH nutrition research could be considered by REE agencies in planning their research agendas, particularly those that involve selecting foods and food components for analysis for the National Nutrient Databank (ARS), applying results to community nutrition programs and determining nutrition- behavior interventions in community programs (CSREES), and statistical evalu-
COLLABORATION 103 ation of the relevance of diet-related demographic variables (ERS and NASS). USDA had traditionally not been focused on diet-related disease but has more recently been conducting some research and community programs that concern obesity and diabetes. USDA's movement into these disease topics could be strengthened, and USDA could make more progress by having a thorough knowl- edge of NIH's past and present research in these topics and expanding into com- munity programs (not traditionally done by NIH) or other topics not covered by NIH. Another potential collaborative research topic is the development of methods to assess the intake of dietary supplements by the American public. The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is communicating with ARS and NCHS in developing such methods.) This will require the development of a database on the composition of dietary supplements a tremendous task, consid- ering the huge number of products and different potencies. In food-safety research, interagency collaboration has been critical and holds further possibilities; here collaborative research is the most cost-effective and timely mechanism for identifying critical control points and implementing inter- vention strategies. USDA's Foodborne Outbreak Response Coordinating Group- which links federal, state, and local government agencies to enhance coordina- tion and communication in responding to outbreaks, uses resources efficiently, and prepares for new and emerging threats to the food supply is a collaborative mechanism that could be useful in food-safety research. Collaborative models exist in environmental research. The Sustainable Agri- culture Research and Education program is an example of a collaborative model among USDA, EPA, and several profit and nonprofit organizations for research using a whole-systems perspective, a participatory approach, and a decentralized structure. In addition, for many years, ERS, NSF, EPA, and NOAA have coordi- nated their extramural funding (typically with universities) for climate-change research, especially addressing the socioeconomic impacts. This approach not only reduced duplication of research effort and improved efficiency of the fund- ing process but led to improved planning and coordination of intramural and multidisciplinary research efforts. There is further room for development of col- laborative efforts in environmental research. Many of the environmental research frontiers identified by this report overlap with issues facing other federal agen- cies, particularly the land and natural-resource management agencies in DOI. Examples include invasive species, environmentally sound management prac- tices, carbon sequestration, and integration of spatial technologies and distributed datasets into decision-making for natural-resource management. At present, how- ever, collaborative research between REE and DOI agencies is haphazard and usually involves small-scale, project-by-project funding of REE scientists by DOI iODS has previously worked with USDA's Food and Nutrition Service to develop the IBIDS data- base (http://dieta7y-supplements.info.nih.gov/) on research on dietary supplements.
104 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH agencies. Mechanisms that could enhance collaboration on shared environmental research problems include collaborative development of requests for proposal (RFP)s, shared planning of research initiatives and implementation of research findings on the ground, and congressional appropriations of research funds to DOI agencies. Such collaborative approaches could be used more widely with nongovernment organizations whose missions and goals overlap with those of USDA. Development of the National Management Plan under the recent execu- tive order on invasive species required USDA, DOI, and other agencies to work collaboratively in building a research plan, one of several sections of the National Management Plan. The current administration has requested a cross-cut for 2004 budget requests from the agencies, which presumably could help to clarify where and how funds and resources will be used to meet shared needs. This approach provides one potential model for collaboration among agencies. The national extension network was developed when the economy was pri- marily agricultural and the population predominantly rural. Today, the US economy is diverse, the population highly heterogeneous and urban, and the nation an integral part of a global economy and society. Therefore, the collabora- tion that extension pursues must be more flexible and adaptable and extend far beyond its traditional partners in REE (ECOP, 2002~. Other federal agencies, such as NIH and EPA, have expressed interest in using the extension system for their own outreach efforts, and there are numerous models of new partnerships between Cooperative Extension and federal agencies. For example, a CSREES-administered collaborative project, Healthy Indoor Air for America' s Homes, links EPA with Cooperative Extension in 46 states to elimi- nate household hazardous substances. Extension could potentially facilitate the sharing of information and the coordination of research priorities between federal agencies (including DOD, DOE, NASA, NIH, and NSF) that address related research. That would reduce duplication of activities and maximize the use of resources. Such coordination could include priority-setting, cofunding of initia- tives, and dedicated funding by single agencies. Strengthening the leadership of the current CSREES administrator and the REE undersecretary as advocates for extension and dissemination of the benefits of research could help to promote the outreach and educational opportunities in CSREES and the land-grant universities. FINDING: There is tremendous potential for collaboration and strategic alliances involving the Extension System inside and outside the univer- sity with ARS, NASS, ERS, and other federal agencies (such as DOC, DOD, DOE, EPA, and NIH) to address the social and economic issues facing all communities. One proposed new mechanism to strengthen collaboration among federal agencies has been the "virtual research and development centers," temporary task forces or teams in their home agencies or institutions. It has been suggested that REE develop this capacity and fund such approaches that would involve REE
COLLABORATION 105 agencies as partners. The leader of an REE virtual R&D center would be empowered to recruit, organize, and coordinate the services of professionals in any of the four REE agencies, any other USDA agency, or elsewhere as needed, such as in government, university, or private-sector institutions. The members of the center could be based in their home institutions but would provide knowl- edge, advice, skills, and equipment as needed to accomplish the specific goals of their center. Possible challenges in implementation include complexity in using a matrix approach in a line organization, such as USDA. In addition, there is a strong tendency for centers, once established, to persist, often long past their useful life, so disbanding of the center when its mission is accomplished may pose a challenge. However, the committee believes that many national challenges will require sustained and creative efforts, which such virtual laboratories might best facilitate. INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION In the increasingly global economy and society, international collaboration of REE has expanded and will probably continue to do so. The public-sector agricultural research and extension community has a long tradition of international collaboration. Perhaps the most well-developed international scientific network has grown through the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR). International agricultural-science collaboration was important for the latter part of the 20th century in responding to the rising economic growth and food needs of an expanding global population. For most of the last century, international students and scholars in the agricultural, nutritional, environmental, and rural social sciences have generally constituted the largest international contingent attending US universities and col- laborating in the federal laboratories. Table 5-1 shows the substantial and consis- tent investment by ARS in visiting international scientists. In FY 2001, visiting scientists made up almost 8% of the 1,980 scientists in the ARS workforce TABLE 5-1 Visiting Scientists at ARS, 1998-2001 2001 2000 1999 1998 Number of visiting scientists Number of countries represented Top countries represented Cost to support each scientist 156 129 15 36 China, Korea, China, Italy, Brazil France $303,247 $122,940 135 193 48 41 China, Japan, China, Korea, Brazil Brazil $150,000 NAa aNA = data not available. Source: USDA ARS (2002).
106 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH (USDA, 2001a). ERS also has hosted visiting scientists from transitioning and developing economies and details staff to international organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. NASS has an international data-collection unit that assists developing and transitioning economies in survey and census design and data-collection activities. Many US colleges of agriculture, unlike other university colleges, have separate offices and associate deans for international programs that coordinate and promote international collaboration. The Office of International Programs at ARS is expanding its mission to increase memoranda of understanding with other countries regarding mutually beneficial agricultural research. It is likely that public-sector agricultural scientists have engaged in more international collabo- ration in more countries and locations than any other group of US scientists. Historically, the emphasis on food and agriculture in the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has led to substantial funding for inter- national agricultural collaboration. However, US investments in international agriculture have declined from $1.2 billion in 1985 to $332 million in 1999 (USAID, 1985, 2000), and funding for bilateral assistance in agricultural research in USAID declined from a peak of about $250 million in the 1980s to about $60 million in 1997 (in constant 1987 dollars; Alex, 1997~. However, political efforts are under way to restore and expand USAID investments in agriculture and rural development. The need remains high for funding agricultural development and international agricultural collaboration. A major mechanism for USAID-university partnerships for international collaboration has been the Collaborative Research Support Program (for example, in sorghum and millet, bean and cowpea, live- stock, aquaculture, and sustainable agriculture and natural-resource management research). These multidisciplinary, multiinstitutional, international research pro- grams have been excellent models for international agricultural collaboration. They have focused on collaboration among developing national scientists and US public-sector agricultural scientists working on food, nutrition, and environmental issues critical to developing nations. Other international collaborative efforts have involved CGIAR-international agriculture research centers (CGIAR-IARC; 16 worldwide), FAO, the World Bank, and numerous national agricultural research systems, such as Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria in Brazil and the India Council for Agricul- ture Research. Given the limitations on human and financial resources available in REE agencies, it may not be feasible or efficient to contribute directly to improving agricultural productivity in developing countries. It may be preferable to approach this contribution from another perspective. Public agricultural research has been and continues to be important in agricultural-productivity growth and enhancing food security in developing countries. Alston (2002) reviews and summarizes several studies that conclude that about half the research benefits in any nation
COLLABORATION 107 may be due to spillover effects from research conducted in other countries and that spillover effects may benefit other countries as much as the nation conduct- ing the research. Every study reviewed found important international spillover effects of agricultural R&D. Furthermore, varietal-improvement R&D from the CGIAR centers demonstrates large benefits at the country level as well as globally. For example, Pardey et al. (1996) showed that US contributions to research on rice and wheat improvements in the CGIAR have had substantial returns to US agriculture. Although agricultural spillovers are important to individual countries and in the aggregate, the process through which these spillovers affect individual and global productivity improvements is not well understood. On the basis of varietal- improvement case studies and the more aggregate spillover measures, USDA scientists may already be making a substantial indirect contribution through spillover benefits to developing-country productivity and food security. Alston (2002) indicates that this spillover contribution could be enhanced by additional bilateral arrangements with individual countries and multilateral arrangements with CGIAR and FAO. There is a growing gap in agricultural research intensity (agricultural R&D relative to national agricultural gross domestic product) between developed and developing countries (see Chapter 4~. In 1995, developing countries expended only $0.62 on public agricultural R&D per $100 of agricultural GDP, whereas developed countries expended $2.64 (Pardey and Beintema, 2001~. This further suggests a great potential benefit for developing countries resulting from collabo- ration with developed countries' institutions that would take advantage of under- exploited opportunities in R&D. Collaborating institutions could be regarded as a mechanism for providing international public R&D research goods and services as opposed to a mechanism for transferring humanitarian development aid. New possibilities are emerging as a consequence of concerns about national and inter- national security, bioterrorism, and international education. USDA could play a role in fostering such collaborations. ARS has a long history of cooperation with the CGIAR-IARC system with more than 25 formal and informal research collaborations that cover a wide array of topics in material-resources management, access to and exchange of global germplasm, disease and pest management, and enhancing crop and animal productivity and quality. However, most of those efforts remain underfunded. Indeed, CGIAR donor support has dramatically decreased in the last 2 years. Collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Institutes could also be strengthened. ARS and US universities have inadequate funds to devote to inter- national activities. At the same time, the high quality of science around the globe and the increasing interconnectedness of the food and fiber system worldwide requires more, rather than less, international collaboration. It will take aggressive and creative efforts to strengthen existing collaboration and to identify and pursue new collaboration among the universities, governments, and the private sector.
108 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH To conclude, there is evidence that REE has a strong history of working collaboratively. Strengthened collaboration with new and existing partners holds promise for addressing the complexity of issues and challenges facing the global agricultural system and for engaging in the new research opportunities described in this report. COLLABORATION WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR During the last 20 years, the convergence of a number of political, economic, social, scientific, and technologic developments has affected how agricultural science is conducted and commercialized and the evolution of new institutional collaboration and public and private research partnerships. The new commercial opportunities; patent laws and decisions (such as the 1980 US Supreme Court decision in Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 1980, extended by the 2001 US Supreme Court decision that seeds and seed-grown plants can be patented in J.E.M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.~; federal policies (such as the Government Patent Policy [Bayh-Dole] Act of 1980 [US Congress, 19801 and the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 [US Congress, 19861~; establishment of minimal standards of intellectual-property protection,2 mechanisms for intellectual-property rights enforcement, and provisions for dispute settlement for World Trade Organization (WTO) members under the TRIPS (trade-related aspects of intellectual property) Agreement (WTO, 1994~; growth in private- sector research; and a relative decline in public-sector funding of agricultural research have all contributed to a changing collaborative relationship between universities and industries (Josling, 2001; Murashige, 1997; Parker et al., 2001~. The new types of university-industry collaboration are generally more varied, of wider scope, more aggressive and experimental, and more publicly visible than past relationships. They involve diverse approaches that include large grants and contracts between companies, universities, and government laboratories in ex- change for patent rights to and exclusive licenses of discoveries; programs and centers organized with industrial funds at major universities (now totaling over 1,000), which give participating private firms privileged access to resources and a role in shaping research agendas; professors, particularly in the biomedical sci- ences, serving in extensive consulting capacities on scientific advisory boards or in managerial positions in firms; faculty and research scientists receiving research funds from private corporations in which they hold substantial equity; and public universities and government laboratories establishing business startups and for- profit corporations to develop and market innovations arising from research. The Technology Transfer Act of 1986 (US Congress, 1986) established the cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), a mechanism 2Intellectual-property protection includes patents, copyrights, plant-variety protection certificates (Plant Variety Protection Act [US Congress, 1970]), trademarks, copyrights, and technology licenses.
COLLABORATION 109 through which federal and nonfederal researchers could collaborate (Adams et al., 2001; Fuglie et al., 1996; Huffman and Just, 1999a). The principal objective of a CRADA is to link the research capacity of federal laboratories with the com- mercial research and marketing expertise of the private sector. Under a CRADA, a federal laboratory may provide personnel, equipment, and laboratory privileges for commercial activity. Similarly, the private-sector collaborator may contribute funds directly to the federal laboratory in return for the right of first refusal to negotiate an exclusive license of any joint discovery and may be given exclusive access to data from a joint project. In addition to CRADAs, there are other arrangements for private-sector collaboration, such as trust-fund agreements, research instruments in which a private-sector cooperator is not offered a first right of refusal to negotiate an exclusive license; patent licensing, in which public entities patent inventions and then grant exclusive, limited exclusive, or non- exclusive licenses to private companies to use or market the inventions; and research consortia, in which several institutions undertake joint research with or without a private-sector partner (USDA, 2000~. CRADA activity increased rapidly after 1987 (see Table 5-2), and in 2000 over 250 CRADAs were active, using combined public and private resources of TABLE 5-2 USDA Technology-Transfer Activities, 1987-2000 Patent License Number of Active Number of Royalties, millions CRADAs with Value of CRADAs,a Year Patents Awarded of dollars Private Sector millions of dollars 1987 34 0.09 9 1.6 1988 28 0.10 48 8.7 1989 47 0.42 86 15.6 1990 42 0.57 145 18.9 1991 57 0.83 181 25.6 1992 56 1.00 172 30.0 1993 57 1.50 172 34.0 1994 40 1.40 208 61.3 1995 38 1.60 229 80.1 1996 53 2.10 244 98.9 1997 35 2.30 273 155.5 1998 57 2.40 271 120.2 1999 74 2.40 298 136.7 2000 64 2.60 257 125.1 aIncludes total value of USDA and private-sector resources committed to active CRADAs over their lifetime. Source: USDA, ERS, compiled from ARS Office of Technology Transfer data in USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2000. Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2000. Washington, D.C.: Economic Research Service, Resource Economics Division, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Emphases/Harmony/issues/arei2000/.
110 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH $125 million. ARS contributions are on the average about one-third of total resources and thus less than 5% of the ARS budget (Day-Rubenstein and Fuglie, 1999~. In FY 2001, ARS inhouse contributions were about $4.2 million, repre- senting 35% of the total contributions. Cooperator inhouse contributions ($6 mil- lion, or 50% of the total contributions) and cooperator contributions paid to ARS ($1.9 million, or 15% of the total) accounted for the remainder. A number of patents have been awarded, and the patenting and licensing royalties returning to ARS are now $2.6 million per year. According to ARS's Office of Technology Transfer, in 2001, of the total royalties, 26% is allocated to incentive awards to inventors (the law requires a minimum of 15%), 41% supports the salaries of some of the technology-transfer staff to facilitate more agreements, and 27% sup- ports patent filing preparation, fees, and patent annuity payments (USDA, 2001d). The CRADA seems to be an important policy tool for increasing technology transfer. Adams et al. (2001) examined industrial research and found that CRADAs dominate the channels of technology transfer from federal laboratories to the private sector, largely because of the effort that they demand of both parties. Since the CRADA legislation was enacted in 1986, there has been increased spending by the private sector in federal laboratories. Public-private partner- ships are less well developed in agricultural research than in industrial research and account for a smaller share of total research resources. But the existence of CRADAs to help shape public-private collaboration since 1987 has resulted in many successful examples of technology transfer. Box 5-2 provides examples of CRADA activities that have resulted in important innovations in agricultural production, environmental protection, and human health. An important question in collaboration with the private sector is how the results of research are controlled and shared. ARS was delegated authority by the secretary of agriculture to administer the patent and license programs for USDA. In contrast, CSREES subordinates its intellectual-property governance to that of the institution receiving funds. The ARS Office of Technology Transfer is assigned the responsibility for protecting intellectual property, developing strategic partnerships with outside institutions, and performing other appropriate functions that enhance the effective transfer of ARS technologies to users. The Office of Technology Transfer also ensures that information about the commercial suc- cesses of ARS is made available to the public. The stated ARS policy is "to use the patent system to promote the utilization of inventions arising from its research, to ensure that sufficient rights in inventions are obtained to meet the needs of the Government, and to bring the invention to practical application." That is an extremely broad policy statement that should be rewritten to give specific guidance on USDA patent policy to other constituents in the agricultural research community (such as industry). The number of patents and the licensing and royalty fees generated provide some measure of the effectiveness of technology-transfer efforts at USDA (Table 5-2~. This kind of research is relatively new, so no system is in place for perfor-
COLLABORATION 111 mance measurement in terms of technology transfer, adoption, and impact. Future monitoring of the impact of private-sector collaboration would help to assess the benefits of such arrangements, which would help to address concerns about such collaboration. Benefits of and Concerns about Public-Private Collaboration The outcomes of collaboration between the two distinct and complementary research communities can be both favorable and adverse. First, ARS, land-grant university, and industry collaboration may bring useful products to market more rapidly and promote US technologic leadership in a changing world economy (Reilly and Schimmelpfennig, 2000~. Second, in light of funding stagnation in USDA and in many cases at the state level, such collaboration is a means of raising new funds for public research, graduate education, and postdoctoral fellowships (Smith et al., 1999~. Third, the collaboration can introduce public- sector scientists and students to industry and enhance their understanding of the nonacademic world of science (Rogers and Bozeman, 2001~. Fourth, the joint efforts may expand the scientific network, increasing communication among some industry, ARS, ERS, and university scientists to provide them access to cutting- edge research tools, proprietary materials, and vast databases owned by particular companies (Shoemaker et al., 2001~. A number of concerns have been voiced regarding these new relationships. First and foremost, there is concern that private-sector funds will set public-sector priorities and divert public resources from research topics with broad social benefits (Feller et al., 2002; Parker et al., 2001~. If a sufficiently large and influ- ential number of academic scientists and engineers become involved with industry, a whole range of research agendas that are traditionally the purview of the public sector might be de-emphasized (Huffman and Just, l999b; Lacy, 2001~. The scientific community might become desensitized to the environmental or social impacts of proprietary research. Second, long-term research, previously a major emphasis of the public sector, may decline. Dependence on private-sector funds will generally change not only the time frame but also the stability of funding (Shoemaker et al., 2001~. It seems unlikely that the public-sector-industry rela- tionships will provide stable long-term funding, nor will they substantially address the capital needs of the public sector. Third, there are concerns about restricting scientific communication or the possibility of shelving research of interest to the public but not to corporations (Heller and Eisenberg, 1998; Lacy, 2001~. Fourth, there is concern about how the funds generated by royalty income may be allo- cated to current research and reserves for future research (Dasgupta and David, 2002~. Finally, a dominant problem that public agencies face is gaining access to proprietary technologies, an issue particularly relevant to the ability to execute and commercialize research that is at least partially predicated on other technolo- gies that are legally sequestered by other organizations so-called "interlocking"
2 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
4 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH technologies. This is an unfortunate characteristic of today's leading-edge agri- cultural research, especially in biotechnology (Nottenburg et al., 2002~. Because public-private collaboration is relatively new to the agricultural sector and these relationships are still evolving, there are many unanswered ques- tions about their benefits and risks. As we note in Chapter 3, the management of intellectual property in agriculture constitutes an important opportunity for future research. The data-gathering and analysis being carried out by ERS for monitor- ing public and private research and development represent a very important resource. Such socioeconomic research can help to inform future policy at ARS and help REE to provide leadership for land-grant universities as they develop technology-transfer models further. Examination of existing models in other fields with long-established public-private collaboration, such as colleges of engineering, can also help the public agricultural sector to define policy (Feller et al., 2002; Rogers and Bozeman, 2001~. FINDING: Collaboration between the public and private sectors is increasing in agricultural research. Benefits of such collaborations include more-successful technology transfer, increased support for research, and expanded scientific networks. Concerns about such col- laborations include their potential effect on priority-setting in the public sector, on scientific-information generation, and on the allocation of resources for future research. Many questions regarding the manage- ment of intellectual property in agriculture are unresolved, and policy is not well defined. FUTURE STRATEGIES TO MANAGE PUBLIC-PRIVATE COLLABORATION The future will depend on strong, independent, complementary research efforts by the public sector and the private sector. Neither will thrive for long if the other is weakened or its goals and integrity are eroded. The future will also involve continued expansion of public-sector and industry relationships and new and creative forms of collaboration. REE can play a leadership role in the public agricultural-research system in helping to define relationships that will best serve the public interest. RECOMMENDATION 6: REE should provide national leadership in developing intellectual-property policy for agricultural research. REE should address the potential consequences of public-private collabora- tion with appropriate policies, practices, and organizational arrange- ments that
COLLABORATION · Promote the greatest public benefit from agricultural research. . 115 Protect the public investment in research. · Prevent diversion of public resources away from research that can be carried out only in the public sector. · Pursue strategic private-sector collaboration necessary to achieve public goals. To accomplish these objectives, REE should establish ways to measure the effectiveness of technology generation and transfer through private- sector collaboration. The policy should broadly define the extent to which collaboration would involve support from the private sector and how earnings from successful technologies could be reinvested in research programs. The committee acknowledges that, in practice, implementation of intellectual-property policy is a complex and often case-specific undertaking, as are the implications of intellectual-property policy for research. SUMMARY This chapter has considered collaboration and strategic alliances as avenues with great potential for addressing the research frontiers laid out in Chapter 3. Multidisciplinary, systems-level approaches were discussed as a complement to disciplinary approaches in addressing increasingly complex research problems. Examples of effective multidisciplinary and collaborative efforts of the REE agencies were described. The evolving relationship between the public and private sectors resulting from changes in policy and in science and technology was outlined, as were benefits of and concerns about public-private collabora- tion. A more comprehensive strategy to manage collaboration with the private sector is needed, including policies, practices, and organizational arrangements that consider the potential consequences of public-private collaboration for the public good. REFERENCES Adams, J.D., E.P. Chiang, and J.L. Jensen. 2001. The Influence of Federal Laboratory R&D on Industrial Research. September. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida, Department of Eco- nom~cs. Alex, G. 1997. USAID and Agricultural Research: Review of USAID Support for Agricultural Research 1952-1996. Environmentally Sustainable Development Agricultural Research and Extension Group-Special Report No. 3. Washington, DC: World Bank. Alston, J. 2002. Spillovers. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 46(3):315-346. Amerman, R.C., G. Larson, and M. O'Neill. 2001. USDA Water Quality Initiative. Presentation to National Research Council Committee on Opportunities in Agriculture Public Workshop, May 22-23. Washington, DC.
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118 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH WTO (World Trade Organization). 1994. Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Prop- erty Rights (TRIPS). Annex 1C of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. Marrakesh, Morocco. April 15. Available online at http://www.wto.org/wto/ english/tratop_e/trips_e/t_agmO_e. htm. Zucker, L.A., and L.C. Brown, eds. 1998. Agricultural Drainage: Water Quality Impacts and Subsur- face Drainage Studies in the Midwest. Ohio State University Extension Bulletin 871. Wooster, OH: The Ohio State University.