From Agriscience to Agribusiness: Theories, Policies and Practices in Technology Transfer and Commercialization

From Agriscience to Agribusiness: Theories, Policies and Practices in Technology Transfer and Commercialization

Kalaitzandonakes, N., Carayannis, E.G., Grigoroudis, E., Rozakis, S. (eds.)

Publisher: Springer, New York

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Over the last 100 years the process of agricultural innovation has been radically changed. At the turn of the last century most new plant varieties, farm implements, or production processes were still the result of the efforts of individual farmers, naturalists, or tinkerers attempting to solve specific problems. Since that time, organized scientific investigation has taken a progressively larger role, until in our present day innovation is almost exclusively the domain of formalized, sophisticated, large-scale R&D programs in universities, government laboratories and research stations, and, increasingly, private firms. As government R&D funding expanded after WWII, public research institutions devoted more resources to both basic and applied research as well as to improving their capacity to transfer the results of that research to potential developers and users. The resulting stream of innovation transformed the agriculture industry through increased productivity and accelerated substitution of capital for labor and land. The increased capital investment aided broad economic development by releasing labor for other pursuits and the increased farm productivity improved food security around the world.

Society in general has benefitted from agricultural R&D investments and the institutional arrangements that support them. The return on investment of public R&D has been estimated to be high in all studies. Private firms across the agrifood supply chain have experienced significant growth based on their investment in R&D and innovation, creating employment and wealth that has spread far beyond the agriculture sector. At the same time, political actors have continued to strengthen controls in the legal system in an attempt to minimize societal costs and increase the net benefits from innovation. Efficient regulations can mitigate risks that might accompany some innovations, and refinements to IP laws as well as antitrust laws have been used to curb excessive market power that could result from overuse of IPR.

The accelerating pace of scientific discovery produced by the modern R&D system and the global institutional, structural, and economic adaptations that have followed have created a dynamic environment of near constant change. This book provides a comprehensive review of the key elements of the agricultural innovation process, from agriscience to agribusiness. It brings together legal, economic, business, policy and technology experts from the public and private sectors in order to assess the current state of agrifood technology transfer activities all along the process from basic research to new production techniques and crop varieties, analyze the impact of various legal and institutional arrangements on transfer efficiency, and describe the benefits of innovation on everyday life.