Cover: Translational Research and Knowledge in agriculture and food production

Translational Research and Knowledge in agriculture and food production

Published Sep 12, 2011

by Watu Wamae, Pauline Goyal-Rutsaert, Molly Morgan Jones, Siobhan Ni Chonaill, Joyce Tait, Joanna Chataway

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Research Questions

  1. Can a methodology be generated to examine translational research and knowledge exchange across an entire value chain?
  2. Can this methodology be applied to analyse the wheat value chain in the UK?
  3. What mechanisms can help to maintain the evidence bases for translational research and knowledge exchange?

This report considers how translational research and knowledge exchange can be enhanced throughout the food and agricultural value chain so that best use is made of public and private investment in research and knowledge generation.

The project's aims were: to generate a robust, generic and transferable methodology for examining translational research and knowledge exchange across an entire value chain; apply and validate this methodology to deliver a robust evidence base for translational research and knowledge exchange in the wheat value chain in the UK; and outline mechanisms for maintaining the evidence bases.

Important enablers of translational research include: the development of fora to facilitate knowledge exchange and to enable development of a synthesis of existing knowledge on specific topics; involving key actors and targeting end users across the value chain in a more systematic and informed manner; the effective use of policy.

Key Findings

The preferred method of knowledge exchange varies by participant

  • Knowledge intermediaries place a high value on face-to-face interaction, reflecting the often tacit nature of the knowledge required for effective translation.
  • For knowledge producers, conferences were the preferred mode of knowledge exchange.

Some value chains may be too complex to analyse properly

  • The complexity of the wheat value chain, which is long and feeds into many products, was considered a challenge to translational research.
  • Recent price volatility also inhibited translational research in the wheat value chain, making it difficult to assess the economic benefit of uptake of new products and processes.

Three key activities enable translational research

  • Fora must be developed to facilitate knowledge exchange.
  • Across the value chain, key actors must be involved and end users targeted in a more systematic and informed manner.
  • Policy must be used effectively to drive innovation and knowledge exchange based on a translational approach.

Research conducted by

The research described in this document was prepared for BBSRC and Defra and conducted by RAND Europe.

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