The Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC) says the next suite of Growing Forward programs should include funds dedicated to communicating about research to the general public.
Its 2016 Conference Report (the Report), which summarizes the need for the agricultural sector to better disseminate research results to producers, farmers, industry, academia, consumers and among the research community.
“Last year, we broke new ground by releasing Canada’s first-ever agricultural research policy, a long-standing objective for the sector and for AIC,” said AIC CEO Serge Buy. “This year, we are continuing our work by raising awareness of the need to better communicate and disseminate agricultural research. We need to collectively ensure that game-changing results have the impact that they deserve in Canada and internationally.”
A key finding is that research dissemination has often been neglected in past policy development or is left until the end of the project cycle. This needs to change in order to increase stakeholder engagement and allow for greater impact of results, the AIC release says.
It suggests including funds for knowledge transfer and extension activities in the next Federal-Provincial-Territorial Policy Framework, noting “enhanced collaboration across the sector can enable the environment needed to implement new participatory research methods and enable effective knowledge transfer.”
Another is that the sector needs to find new ways to encourage and support knowledge transfer activities.
The report also discusses the role that Intellectual Property (IP) has to play in the dissemination of research outcomes.
Although the commercialization of research results can certainly lead to a positive rate of return on investment, IP management is often debated or misunderstood and not recognized as a potential dissemination route for Canadian innovations.
“Intellectual property rights (IPR) affect nearly every part of the research process from initial development to the sharing of results with other researchers. It is also an area of great debate and misunderstanding not only in agricultural research but also in other areas of scientific research,” the report says.
It promotes making that protection stronger. “Stronger IP agreements and partnerships can also help Canadian agricultural research achieve a competitive advantage at the international level.”
A subsequent, in-depth Best Practices Report for Research Dissemination that highlights a number of best practices from across the sector will be released by AIC in late Summer 2016.
To view the 2016 conference report go to the Agricultural Institute of Canada website.