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Integrating Universities into National Agricultural Research and

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					                        AGRICULTURAL KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION SYSTEMS (AKIS)
                        GOOD PRACTICE NOTE NO. _________




                        Integrating Universities
                        into National Agricultural
                        Research and Extension
                        Systems

                        Good Practice for Investment
                        in Agricultural University
                        Programs


                        March 6, 1999




                        The World Bank
Work in progress        Rural Development Family
for public discussion   Agricultural Knowledge & Information Systems (AKIS)
Agricultural Knowledge & Information Systems is a thematic team focusing on agricultural
  extension, education, and research within the Rural Development Department of the
    Environmentally & Socially Sustainable Development Network of the World Bank.
                                       Contents

Preface                                                                              iv
Executive Summary                                                                     1
Context for Investment                                                                2
       Background                                                                     2
       Purpose
University Roles in Agricultural Technology Systems                                   3
       Roles in Research                                                              3
       Potential Role in Agricultural Extension                                       4
Past Experience with Agricultural Universities                                        4
Key Questions Regarding University Roles in Research and Extension                    5
      How Will Future Research and Extension Specialists Be Trained?                  5
      Which Types of Universities Should Be Linked to the NARSs/NAESs?                6
      How Should University Research Relate to National Strategies?                   6
      How Can Universities Provide Adequate Incentives?                               6
      How Should University Research Be Financed?                                     6
      How Can University Programs Stay Relevant?                                      7
      How Should Universities Be Involved with Extension?                             7
Good Practice in University Development                                               8
      Invest Selectively in Agricultural Universities                                 8
              “Don’t Feed the Beast!”                                                 9
              “Don’t Ignore the Potential!”                                           9
      Establish Mandates and Structures                                               9
              National Recognition of University Research and Extension               9
              University Research and Extension Policy, Strategy, and Organization    9
              Linkages to Clients                                                    10
              Publication of Research Results and Extension Material                 10
      Expand Research Capacities                                                     10
              Competitive Research Grant Programs                                    10
              Research Infrastructure Development                                    10
              Core Research Program Funding                                          11
              Postgraduate Program Capacity Building                                 11
              University Linkage Programs                                            11
      Find University Roles in National Extension Systems                            11
      Focus Broadly During Project Preparation and Supervision                       11
Key References                                                                       12

                                             iii
                                            Preface


T
       his Good Practice Note is based on the pa-             AKIS is the Agricultural Knowledge and
       per “Investing in Integration of Univer-          Information Systems Thematic Team, composed
       sities into National Agricultural Research        of World Bank staff working in or interested in
and Extension Systems.” The paper was prepared           research, extension, and education programs.
by Gary Alex and Derek Byerlee, with inputs from         The overall team objective is to enhance the ef-
Solomon Bekure, Ed Quisumbing, Ivar Serejski,            fectiveness of Bank support to agricultural
and Willem Zijp. The full paper is available from        knowledge and information system develop-
the AKIS Anchor staff in the Rural Development           ment and thus to contribute to the Bank’s ob-
Department of the World Bank.                            jectives of alleviating poverty, ensuring food
    AKIS Good Practice Notes are prepared to             security, and improving sustainable manage-
assist World Bank Team Leaders, national coun-           ment of natural resources. The AKIS team em-
terparts from Borrower counties, and other part-         phasizes policy, institutional, and management
ners in preparing and implementing projects to           issues associated with agricultural research,
strengthen agricultural research, extension, and         extension, and education, recognizing that other
education programs. They attempt to synthe-              thematic teams will focus on technical issues.
size lessons learned from innovative experi-             The team mission is “to promote the develop-
ences in World Bank projects and elsewhere and           ment of sustainable and productive agricultural
to make this information readily available for           research, extension, and education systems in
use by project teams.                                    Bank client countries.”



                                                                                          David Nielson
                                                                                             Chairman
                                                                                    AKIS Thematic Team




                                                    iv
                                Executive Summary


U
         niversities—with their functions of gen-       •   Establish mandates for university research
         erating and disseminating knowledge—               and extension, recognizing universities in
         are central to agricultural knowledge              national research and extension strategies,
and information systems (AKISs). Although the               establishing university policies and man-
number of agricultural universities grew rap-               agement systems for research and extension,
idly from 1960 to 1990, donor investment in                 developing links to clients, and expanding
these institutions is limited today. Universities           publication systems.
have traditionally engaged in research, but             •   Develop university research capacities by
less in agricultural extension, even though the             financing (1) infrastructure (human and
contributions they can make to both are sub-                physical), (2) costs of core research pro-
stantial. To establish effective AKISs, many ag-            grams, (3) postgraduate program develop-
ricultural universities must improve program                ment, and (4) strategic linkage programs;
relevance and links to clients.                             and by promoting access to competitive re-
     Today, agricultural universities face the              search grants.
challenges of providing relevant training for           •   Develop capacity for supporting extension
future agricultural scientists, defining institu-           programs, including training for extension
tional roles in relation to general universities,           workers, backstopping or implementing
establishing structures and funding procedures              regional extension programs, and provid-
for research and extension, drafting research               ing specialized expertise to backstop exten-
agendas, providing adequate staff incentives,               sion workers.
improving program relevance, and creating               •   Focus on system-wide issues during
roles in extension.                                         project preparation and supervision, in-
     World Bank agricultural technology pro-                cluding opportunities for parallel financ-
grams can help universities address these issues            ing of university programs with bilateral
and become productive components of plural-                 donors.
istic national technology systems. Bank pro-
grams can help:                                             The holistic nature of AKISs and the comple-
                                                        mentary nature of research, education, and ex-
•   Evaluate university capacities as part of           tension dictate closer ties among these activities
    institutional assessments for all technology        and among the various institutions that partici-
    programs. Investment options range from             pate in pluralistic national technology systems.
    limited policy support when universities are        Balanced development—necessary for efficient
    not committed to reform, to targeted sup-           and sustainable technology systems—demands
    port for research and extension capacity            that research and extension projects support
    building, to full program support when con-         universities in addition to other public institu-
    ditions warrant.                                    tions in the system.




                                                    1
2       Integrating Universities into National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems


                                   Context for Investment

It is now widely accepted that national agricul-                2. They train the staff that will implement
tural research systems (NARSs) must develop                 future research and extension programs.
as institutionally pluralistic systems rather
than as centralized programs of governmen-                  Background
tal research institutes. However, relatively
little attention has been given to helping uni-             International donors have heavily funded agri-
versities play key roles in pluralistic NARSs               cultural universities in the past. From 1964 to
and in national agricultural extension systems              1990, the World Bank provided US$712 million
(NAESs).                                                    for 41 projects supporting 68 institutions in 25
     There are about 1,600 agricultural universi-           countries (half of all projects and 80 percent of
ties in World Bank client countries, including              the funding went to Asia). From the early 1950s
both independent agricultural universities and              through 1996, the U.S. Agency for International
agricultural or agriculture-related faculties               Development (USAID) provided US$456 mil-
(such as veterinary medicine and forestry)                  lion to develop 63 agricultural universities in
within general universities. Though varying                 40 countries.
widely in size, program type, and development                    Results of the first phase of development
level, agricultural universities are central to sus-        have been mixed. Some agricultural universi-
tainable agricultural knowledge and informa-                ties—in Brazil, Chile, and Thailand, for ex-
tion systems (AKISs) for two reasons:                       ample—actively participate in NARSs and
                                                            generate high-quality research. Others—espe-
     1. They often have the potential to use ex-            cially in many African countries, but also in In-
isting staff and facilities—libraries, laboratories,        dia, Pakistan, and the Philippines—have eroded
and research and demonstration farms—to pro-                capacities and seem to be in crisis.
vide research and extension services at marginal                 Current World Bank investment in agricul-
additional cost.                                            tural universities is limited. From 1987 to 1997,


    Box 1. Pakistan—Merger of Education, Research,          tions for on-campus and off-campus staff and with
    and Extension                                           added decision-making layers. For example, the Di-
                                                            rector General/Research has become administratively
    In 1984, the Government of Pakistan and USAID ap-       responsible to both the Vice Chancellor of the AUP
    proved a project to strengthen agricultural education   and the NWFP Secretary of Agriculture; and research
    and research services in North West Frontier Prov-      staff, though technically responsible to AUP, remain
    ince (NWFP) by upgrading the Agricultural Univer-       under the cumbersome civil service rules of the Pro-
    sity of Peshawar (AUP); integrating agricultural        vincial Department of Agriculture. Moreover, the
    teaching, research, and outreach; and transferring      Livestock Research Service was never completely
    crop and livestock research responsibility from the     transferred to the AUP.
    NWFP Department of Agriculture to the AUP. The               The NWFP experience suggests that substantial
    university has improved infrastructure and estab-       institutional change is impossible without first devel-
    lished a critical mass of qualified teachers and re-    oping political commitment and consensus. In collabo-
    searchers. Still, twelve years after transfer of the    ration with all parties involved, existing systems must
    Provincial Research Services (PRS) to the AUP, the      be analyzed and new institutional structures, proce-
    merger is far from being completed. Instead, a dual     dures, management systems, and programs designed
    service system has emerged, with disparate condi-       to bring about desired change..
                                               University Roles in Agricultural Technology Systems    3


the Bank funded 13 projects for agricultural         research. The holistic nature of AKISs and the
education, including US$108 million for higher       complementary nature of research, education,
education (2.2 percent of the Bank’s US$4.9 bil-     and extension dictate closer ties among these
lion funding for AKIS projects, or 0.3 percent of    activities and the various institutions that par-
funding for the agricultural sector). Two coun-      ticipate in pluralistic national technology sys-
tries alone (India and Morocco) accounted for        tems. Balanced development—necessary for
60 percent of this funding.                          efficient and sustainable technology systems—
                                                     demands that research and extension projects
Purpose                                              support universities in addition to other public
                                                     institutions in the system.
A growing number of Bank projects finance re-             This note discusses good practice for
search at universities, although university ca-      strengthening university participation in re-
pacity building is incidental to completion of       search and extension systems.




                       University Roles in Agricultural
                            Technology Systems

Degree training is the primary function of agri-     potential to carry out research. Changing exist-
cultural universities. From the early 1960s to the   ing roles is difficult and requires extensive con-
mid-1980s, with substantial donor support, ag-       sultation and commitment (See Box 1). Common
ricultural universities helped to quadruple the      university roles in research systems are:
number of developing-country agricultural re-
searchers and to triple the number of extension      •   National research. A university might as-
workers. Agricultural universities play varied           sume full responsibility for public sector
roles in research and extension systems.                 agricultural research, establishing a national
Whereas some universities (e.g., in India) are           agricultural research institute (NARI)
central to the NARS public sector, others serve          within the university.
only as teaching institutions, and still others      •   Basic research. A university might focus on
(e.g., in Thailand, the Philippines, and Zimba-          basic and strategic research, leaving applied
bwe) are hybrids, sharing responsibility for             and adaptive research to other institutions.
public sector agricultural research.                 •   Regional research. A university might con-
                                                         duct adaptive and applied research to sup-
Roles in Research                                        port development in a province or
                                                         agro-ecological zone, possibly specializing
University faculty typically devote about 25             in research on a commodity or agricultural
percent of their time to research designed to            problem important to the region.
solve social problems, support teaching pro-         •   Consultant services. Universities provide
grams, promote their own professional devel-             consultant services to support research by
opment, and generate income. Since about half            NARIs, nongovernmental organizations
of all developing-country agricultural scientists        (NGOs), international agencies, and com-
work in universities, they have considerable             mercial firms.
4       Integrating Universities into National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems


Potential Role in Agricultural Extension                  •   Collaborating with government extension
                                                              services to provide technical and training
Extension is important to universities as a dis-              support and to make staff available as ex-
cipline within their curricula and as a link to               tension agents or subject matter specialists.
real-world agricultural concerns. However, fac-           •   Providing extension services in a particular
ulty generally allocate less than 10 percent of               area or for special extension programs (a
their time to extension because it is often less              role that provides a “laboratory” for univer-
prestigious than research; requires mobility,                 sity field work).
organizational time, and travel costs; and can            •   Contracting extension services using the
expose the university to criticisms when work                 university’s technical base to competitive
with the rural poor fails, appears political, or              advantage.
threatens private interests.
    University extension activities include ad-               Current extension strategies that employ
vising extension staff and/or farmers, training           more flexible approaches and emphasize user
extension workers, providing student intern-              purchase of advisory services offer greater op-
ships, preparing extension booklets and mate-             portunity for university involvement in NAESs.
rials, and conducting research on extension               Michigan State University Extension, for ex-
needs and methodologies. Potential university             ample, has established customer-focused “Area
roles in extension include:                               of Expertise” extension teams that work closely
                                                          with clients and provide high-quality, special-
•   Accepting full responsibility for national or         ized advisory services. Client groups formed
    provincial extension (uncommon, because               under this program have provided substantial
    it requires a substantial extension service           financial support for extension programs in
    attached to the university).                          their areas of interest.




          Past Experience with Agricultural Universities

Studies have shown that, since the 1950s, uni-            ceived client group linkages to maintain pro-
versities have succeeded in expanding training            gram relevance and to develop political support
capacities, but have been less successful in              for future funding.
achieving sustainability and in linking with                  Developing sound partnerships between
national development goals.1 National and uni-            NARIs and universities is possible (see Box 2).
versity research policies and research manage-            Effective research programs depend on vigor-
ment reforms are needed to improve research               ous postgraduate programs and strong bonds
conditions for students and staff. Effective re-          between universities and other research orga-
search programs require adequate budgets and              nizations. Universities need to improve manage-
reasonable teaching loads for research scientists.        ment functions, including program monitoring
Perhaps the most pressing need is for well-con-           and evaluation; broaden curricula; develop


    1Two of these studies (Hansen 1989, World Bank 1992) evaluated development project portfolios; one
(FAO 1997) looked at future issues for agricultural higher education; and others examined the integration of
universities into NARSs/NAESs (FAO 1993, FAO 1996, Michelsen and Shapiro 1998).
                                                           Key Questions Regarding University Roles             5


multidisciplinary approaches; and expand inter-
                                                       Box 3. Ghana—Establishing a University Role
national networks for exchanging information           in National Research Programs
on university operations. Bank-financed projects
have begun to recognize university roles in            In Ghana, the Bank-supported National Agricul-
NARSs and to integrate them more directly into         tural Research Project (NARP), initiated in 1992,
national research programs (see Box 3).                helped bring universities into the national research
                                                       program through two mechanisms:

  Box 2. Uruguay—Linking Universities to NARIs         •     The Ghanaian National Commodity/Factor
                                                             Research Programs, established for 17 strate-
  In Uruguay, effective linkages have established a          gically important research areas, are led by
  research partnership between universities and the          Program Coordination Committees (PCCs)
  NARI (Rabuffetti 1993):                                    that ensure that research reflects national pri-
                                                             orities and responds to client needs. Scientists
  •   Ten percent of the NARI research budget is             from all participating institutions, including
      set aside for competitive contracting for re-          the universities, serve on the PCCs, which al-
      search with outside agencies. Universities             locate funding to participating institutions ac-
      receive almost half of this funding.                   cording to priorities. Program Coordinators
  •   University and NARI staff meet annually to             are drawn from the various participating in-
      prepare joint research programs.                       stitutions, including the universities, which
  •   Senior NARI staff spend up to 20 percent of            have received a share of the funds.
      their work time teaching at universities.        •     A research grants scheme is designed to draw
  •   The NARI facilitates university linkages with          universities and other institutions into the re-
      international programs (especially the inter-          search system and to complement research ac-
      national agricultural research centers).               tivities under the national programs. The
  •   Undergraduate students receive NARI fellow-            scheme gives priority to basic and strategic
      ships.                                                 research. By mid-1998, it had funded 110 re-
  •   The NARI gives students preference in sum-             search projects, including 34 that supported
      mer employment.                                        postgraduate research at local universities.




                Key Questions Regarding University Roles
                       in Research and Extension

Universities must adapt to a changing environ-        and extension is no longer feasible. World Bank
ment for agricultural sector institutions, ad-        support for such training declined by 34 per-
dressing several key questions regarding the          cent from 1990 to 1997, and USAID agricultural
expanded roles they must play in national re-         training in the United States fell by 66 percent
search and extension systems.                         from 1987–89 to 1995–97. Agricultural univer-
                                                      sities in developing countries must increas-
How Will Future Research and Extension                ingly assume responsibility for higher degree
Specialists Be Trained?                               training. Sustainable, cost-effective technol-
                                                      ogy systems will therefore depend on the ca-
Reliance on overseas postgraduate training to         pacity of agricultural universities to train
develop qualified staff for agricultural research     needed staff.
6     Integrating Universities into National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems


Which Types of Universities Should                      high-priority areas, yet leave university scien-
Be Linked to the NARSs/NAESs?                           tists free to pursue their own research to the
                                                        extent that funding is available.
AKIS capacity-building projects should be se-
lective, choosing universities with sustainable         How Can Universities Provide
technology programs. Although university af-            Adequate Incentives?
filiations with ministries of education (rather
than ministries of agriculture) can distance re-        When faculty take second jobs or consulting
search from agricultural clients and practical          work to supplement university salaries, work
problems, these institutional arrangements are          programs are disrupted and time available for
difficult to change. Politicization of universities,    research and extension becomes limited. This
though now a less serious constraint than be-           can be a major constraint to involving universi-
fore, should still be considered in planning in-        ties in research and extension systems. Produc-
vestments in university research or extension           tive, stable university programs require
programs.                                               adequate salary levels, innovative policies on
     Various types of universities can play im-         faculty consulting, and incentives for develop-
portant roles in NARSs/NAESs. Agricultural              ment-oriented research and extension work.
universities are well grounded in practical ag-
ricultural sciences, but general universities           How Should University Research
might have more advanced programs in basic              Be Financed?
biology, biotechnology, communications, and
social sciences—programs of increasing impor-           Governments will remain the main financiers
tance to research and extension. General uni-           for research and extension, although other fund-
versities need to be linked to agricultural             ing sources are available (see Box 4). Competi-
technology systems through competitive grants,          tive funding mechanisms are an increasingly
contracts, and other mechanisms. Provincial             common and important tool for financing uni-
universities might be important in decentralized        versity research, but these may require special
technology programs, whereas regions with               attention to ensure that university staff can com-
many small countries might benefit from con-            pete for funding (see Box 5). Competitive grant
centrating postgraduate training in spontane-           programs also generally fail to cover overheads,
ously evolved regional centers of excellence.           resulting in a net loss for a university’s own re-
Private universities will likely become more            search program. Universities must be selective
important and should have equal opportunity             in accepting outside research funding. A sus-
in competing for government support for tech-           tainable research program requires funding for:
nology programs.
                                                        •   Research capacity development, with large
How Should University Research Relate                       expenditures at irregular periods for train-
to National Strategies?                                     ing research staff to the doctoral level, es-
                                                            tablishing electronic communications,
Research priorities must balance the univer-                building laboratories, procuring equipment,
sity’s independence against strategic national              and acquiring land or other facilities. Excess
research needs. Research policies and strategies            capacity should be avoided—operational
should be clearly spelled out in a way that en-             funding must be available for all new ca-
courages, not stifles, individual initiative by             pacity.
scientists. Tying national funding to research on       •   Strategic research programs focusing on
high-priority topics will stimulate research in             particular problems, such as national com-
                                                          Key Questions Regarding University Roles     7


                                                          modity improvement or natural resources
Box 4. Chile—Financing University Research
                                                          management. Such programs require as-
In Chile, even though the primary mission of              sured long-term funding and are usually
higher education is training, the budget for agri-        inappropriate for funding through a com-
cultural research at the nation’s 17 universities         petitive system.
reached US$4 million in 1995 (Venezian 1993).         •   Ad hoc research activities, such as faculty
Funding came from: [assuming that year for                or student thesis projects. Such projects
Venezian is correct in References]
                                                          might be funded through a university com-
•   Government grants to universities, including
                                                          petitive grant program, although a core bud-
    a research fund used to contract staff and fi-        get for discretionary funding for faculty (and
    nance a small but important competitive grant         student) research might be more efficient.
    program.
•   National competitive research grant pro-          How Can University Programs
    grams, which are a major source of research       Stay Relevant?
    funding but provide funding that is unstable,
    unfocused, and does not cover overhead costs.
•   Government research contracts, mostly for         Mechanisms for consulting with small farmers,
    applied and adaptive research projects.           exchanging knowledge with them, and conduct-
•   Sale of research goods and services, especially   ing research relevant to their needs are a vital
    contract research.                                part of effective research programs. Universi-
•   Research grants from private sector and in-       ties can access local agricultural knowledge by
    ternational sources.                              recruiting more students from farm back-
•   University income and other sources that pro-
                                                      grounds, involving students in research and
    vided small amounts of research funding.
                                                      extension, and expanding work in the rural so-
                                                      cial sciences (anthropology, political science,
Box 5. Kenya—University Access to Competi-
                                                      economics, and sociology) and in rural produc-
tive Research Grants                                  tion systems (farming systems, ecosystems, and
                                                      agro-ecological region characterization).
The Kenyan National Agricultural Research
Project (1988–95) supported an Agricultural Re-       How Should Universities Be Involved
search Fund (ARF) providing competitive research      with Extension?
grants as a means of drawing other institutions
(particularly the universities) into the research
system. The Fund began operations in 1991 and
                                                      Agricultural universities help build sustainable
has awarded 84 grants, 48 of which (57 percent)       extension systems through training and exten-
have gone to university researchers. Universities     sion service support (Box 6). University train-
in other countries have also benefited from com-      ing support to NAESs might include:
petitive grant programs. However, in some cases,
such as in Morocco and Pakistan, university staff     •   Specialized courses emphasizing practical
have had limited access to competitive grant fund-
                                                          communication strategies, extension phi-
ing [or else add to References]. Lack of experience
with proposal preparation, heavy involvement in           losophies, mass media approaches, and
consulting work, and lack of infrastructure could         other extension tools, such as new informa-
be why university scientists have trouble access-         tion technologies.
ing grants, although another reason might be a        •   Agricultural curricula in which extension
reluctance on the part of institutions to share re-       strategies, experience, and approaches per-
sources. Competitive grant programs should en-            meate all courses, relating course materials
sure a level playing field that encourages
                                                          to technology dissemination and farmer
university staff to compete for funding.
                                                          needs (see Box 7).
8        Integrating Universities into National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems


    Box 6. Uganda—Building an Integrated AKIS                  Box 7. Africa—Building Extension Capacity

    In Uganda, the five-year Agricultural Research and         The Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Educa-
    Training Project, initiated in 1993, built an inte-        tion (SAFE) Program was begun in 1992 by the
    grated system for agricultural research, education,        Sasakawa Africa Association in collaboration with
    and extension that includes universities. Support          Winrock International to address the severe prob-
    to the Ugandan university system comprised:                lems with extension education in Africa. Begun at
                                                               the University of Cape Coast (Ghana), the program
    •     Training to fill critical gaps in the university     now collaborates with other African universities
          faculty.                                             to train male and female, midcareer extension staff;
    •     A Continuing Agricultural Education Center           reform extension curricula; develop leaders for
          to provide demand-driven training for clients.       African extension organizations; and (in the long
    •     A program for twinning Makerere University           term) introduce reforms in agricultural universi-
          with foreign universities to strengthen cur-         ties. The program requirements are a commitment
          ricula.                                              to reform extension education, consultations with
    •     Capacity building for diploma-level training         stakeholders, a formal extension training needs
          at agricultural colleges.                            assessment, workshops, curricula reform, and net-
    •     Close coordination with universities in devel-       working among stakeholder agencies. Relevance
          oping an effective NARI.                             in training is enhanced by recruiting candidates
                                                               with at least three years’ experience in extension;
                                                               promoting gender equity in trainee recruitment;
                                                               stressing systems approaches in extension; and
•       An appreciation of farming as a business,              emphasizing learning from off-campus, farmer-
        including elements of business planning                focused, supervised enterprise projects for practi-
        and market information systems.                        cal experiential learning.
•       New approaches to extension, including
        user-financed advisory services, community-
        based participatory extension, group exten-
        sion, and product and service marketing.                 Regional universities might have a com-
•       Technical fields and priorities of increased         parative advantage in providing extension ser-
        importance to extension, such as natural             vices in their regions. Programs for contracted
        resources management, farm management,               extension services might allow universities to
        commercial crops, postharvest handling,              implement programs directly or to deliver train-
        and high-value export crops.                         ing and technical support to other service pro-
•       Extension program management training,               viders. Universities might also support NAESs
        either in the regular student curriculum or          through research on extension methods and
        as a special course at institutions that con-        production of technical materials for the mass
        duct extension.                                      media.




                 Good Practice in University Development

Experience with AKIS investment in agricul-                  Invest Selectively in Agricultural Universities
tural universities, though limited, teaches sev-
eral lessons for strengthening university                    Investment must be selective to avoid subsidiz-
integration into NARSs/NAESs.                                ing unsustainable or irrelevant programs. As-
                                                          Good Practice in University Developmemt     9


sessments tailored to local conditions should         sity levels, improved mandates, strategies, poli-
scrutinize institutional capacities and categorize    cies, and structures are necessary for effective,
universities as deserving broad program sup-          productive university involvement in research
port; needing reform, but appropriate for tar-        and extension programs.
geted assistance; or lacking relevance or
sustainability and requiring major reforms be-        National Recognition of University Research
fore investment.                                      and Extension

“Don’t Feed the Beast!”                               At the national level, agricultural research and
                                                      extension strategies need to recognize and de-
The admonition from Charles Maguire, a World          fine university roles in research and extension.
Bank Agricultural Education Specialist, to a 1998     Such recognition gives university programs le-
World Bank seminar not to “feed the beast” is         gitimacy and visibility. A statement of national
well advised. Care should be taken not to subsi-      research and extension priorities helps univer-
dize universities that are badly underfunded          sities in establishing their own priorities and
and intellectually isolated, that lack practical      aligning them with the national priorities,
skills and links to their clients, and that fail to   thereby positioning themselves to attract gov-
produce graduates with skills needed for the          ernment funding.
current job market. Country commitment to re-
forms emphasizing responsiveness to market            University Research and Extension Policy,
and client needs should be a condition for ma-        Strategy, and Organization
jor university investments. Until needed reforms
are well under way, donors should do little.          Universities need to organize themselves effec-
                                                      tively to carry out research and extension func-
“Don’t Ignore the Potential!”                         tions. Sound research management is as critical
                                                      at universities as in the NARIs. Instruments
While avoiding investments in irrelevant or           needed include:
unsustainable university programs, donors can-
not ignore university potential. Assessments for      •   A policy statement establishing research as
technology projects should pinpoint opportu-              a legitimate university/faculty activity and
nities for university participation in NARSs/             emphasizing research objectives.
NAESs, identify university problems, and iden-        •   A university research strategy outlining re-
tify investments needed. For example, univer-             search priorities and how research is linked
sities that have potential but still require              to users, other research programs, and uni-
substantial reform might deserve support for              versity education and extension programs.
specific research or extension activities (espe-      •   Incentive systems that reward client-ori-
cially as related to institutional and policy re-         ented, collaborative research.
form); for building their capacity for research       •   A small management unit to facilitate re-
and/or extension; or for improving their capa-            search funding, execution, planning, moni-
bility to train research and extension workers            toring, and evaluation.
in priority fields such as biotechnology, social      •   A budget for research with appropriate sup-
sciences, communications technologies, and en-            port for strategic research programs, com-
vironmental sciences.                                     petitive research grants, and/or research
                                                          infrastructure development.
Establish Mandates and Structures
                                                          Bank support for university research capac-
At both the national government and univer-           ity building should generally be contingent on
10    Integrating Universities into National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems


completion of a research policy statement and           for sharing research findings. Mass media ex-
strategy, although university researchers should        tension programs by radio, magazine, televi-
always be free to compete for competitive re-           sion, and other media can draw on research and
search grants. As university research programs          teaching capacities and enhance university
grow, Bank-financed projects might support              reputations.
training and technical assistance in research
management (especially priority setting, moni-          Expand Research Capacities
toring, and evaluation).
     University extension program strategies,           After adequate policy statements, strategic
organization, and program involvement are               plans, and institutional structures are in place,
even more varied than those of research and             investment is needed to strengthen the capac-
need to be defined by each institution. Require-        ity of universities to execute high-quality re-
ments for effective university extension paral-         search.
lel those described above for research.
                                                        Competitive Research Grant Programs
Linkages to Clients
                                                        Competitive research grants targeted at univer-
University research and extension policies and          sity scientists through national programs are
structures must foster strong links to major            currently the most common form of Bank sup-
stakeholders. Through participation in exten-           port for university agricultural research.
sion and research programs and on advisory              Though cost-effective, competitive grant fund-
committees and governing boards, farmers and            ing can undermine university research capac-
other stakeholders can provide vital client in-         ity by drawing matching funds and overhead
put. Client financing for research and extension        from other uses, thereby distorting university
is even more important to ensure that programs          research agendas. Excessive reliance on indus-
respond to client needs. University-owned re-           try or other funding for special research projects
search corporations might be established, as at         can have similarly adverse results. Moreover,
the University of Melbourne, to obtain financ-          university staff unfamiliar with proposal
ing and manage some research programs inde-             preparation might have difficulty competing
pendently of university regulations.                    for such funding. Competitive grants alone
                                                        are usually not enough to sustain productive
Publication of Research Results and                     research programs. Also needed are research
Extension Material                                      management systems, infrastructure, and core
                                                        program funding.
Publishing is important to disseminate univer-
sity research findings, promote discipline in re-       Research Infrastructure Development
search, and increase the visibility of university
programs. Equal incentives should be offered            Universities must regularly expand or upgrade
for locally published, development-oriented re-         their infrastructure to maintain their research
search and for more academic work published             activities. However, investments should con-
internationally. Research publications can tar-         form to university research priorities, with ex-
get different audiences. For example, newslet-          pansion limited to essential facilities that can
ters might contain practical information for            be maintained over time and for which there
farmers; magazines might convey technical               are no other alternatives. Appropriate infra-
materials to extension programs; and research           structure investments include human resource
journals might include complete documentation           development through postgraduate training
                                                        Good Practice in University Developmemt      11


and sabbatical leaves in addition to physical       University Linkage Programs
investment in equipment, buildings, and related
facilities. Overseas postgraduate training,         University linkage programs can help establish
though important, is costly and can exacerbate      postgraduate training programs and strategic
such problems as “brain drain.” “Sandwich           research alliances, which in turn can strengthen
training programs,” which involve course work       national research programs while building re-
overseas and research at a local university,        search and extension capacities at the univer-
lessen these problems and provide research          sity level. Innovative linkage arrangements
benefits to the country and practical experience    include the University of Asmara’s promotion
to the student.                                     of associations of expatriate Eritreans who con-
                                                    tribute time and materials for rebuilding the
Core Research Program Funding                       university. Linkage programs are most effective
                                                    when based on full transparency and joint
Core funding is needed not only to finance ba-      participation in decision making.
sic research, but also to support mandated re-
search (such as student thesis work), to sustain    Find University Roles in National
a minimum level of university research, to es-      Extension Systems
tablish the university’s own research direction,
and to initiate exploratory research in innova-     Universities will find new opportunities to par-
tive areas. University core research programs       ticipate in extension and rural information sys-
can be responsible for an entire province or        tems. Expansion of programs for commercial,
agro-ecological zone or for a particular crop or    producer-contracted extension advisory ser-
production problem. Such substantial research       vices can draw from the universities’ technical
programs require long-term, predictable fund-       expertise, but requires that this expertise be kept
ing, not generally available through competi-       state-or-the-art and relevant to local needs. New
tive grants.                                        information technologies can allow universities
                                                    to enter new “markets” for extension services
Postgraduate Program Capacity Building              and stay linked with the best global expertise.
                                                    Whatever role universities assume in provid-
Postgraduate programs provide universities          ing direct extension and rural information ser-
with a cadre of motivated, low-cost, and inno-      vices, they will have to improve training
vative student researchers. Client-oriented post-   services to support public and private technol-
graduate research contributes substantially to      ogy dissemination.
the relevance of university programs, linking
research to teaching and potentially attracting     Focus Broadly During Project Preparation
funds from the private sector, NGOs, donor          and Supervision
projects, and other sources. Successful post-
graduate programs require an experienced fac-       In preparing AKIS projects, planners should
ulty, an adequate infrastructure, library and       focus on universities and other agricultural tech-
Internet resources, and modest operating bud-       nology institutions as components of larger sys-
gets. Common problems—a lack of experienced         tems for agricultural research, education, and
faculty advisors and delays in program comple-      extension. Projects should be designed to help
tion—can be solved by involving NARI scien-         institutions strengthen ties to other institutions
tists in supervising postgraduate research and      while emphasizing their comparative advan-
by strengthening institutional oversight of stu-    tages within the overall system. Staff who un-
dent programs.                                      derstand university programs and issues should
12    Integrating Universities into National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems


be involved in project supervision. Because uni-            universities that obtain mutual benefits from
versities arguably have less experience than                collaboration with developing-country univer-
NARIs in managing procurement and construc-                 sity technology programs. The ability of bilat-
tion, they might require extra assistance in                eral donors to furnish flexible, long-term
project management.                                         funding and intensive supervision comple-
    Bilateral development agencies can play an              ments Bank strengths in supporting policy re-
important role in university program develop-               form and financing university infrastructure
ment. Donor countries have strong agricultural              and larger technology program needs.



                                           Key References

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    per 36. International Food Policy Research Insti-           Hague.
    tute, Washington, D.C.                                  Michelsen, H., C. Hoste, L. Zuidema, and D. Shapiro.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 1993. The              Forthcoming. Three Approaches to Studying and
    Role of Universities in National Agricultural Re-           Improving the Role of Universities in National Ag-
    search Systems. Report of the FAO Expert Con-               ricultural Research. International Service for Na-
    sultation, March 10–22, 1991. FAO, Rome.                    tional Agricultural Research, The Hague.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 1996. The          Rabuffetti, A. 1993. “Some Mechanisms of Coopera-
    Role of Universities in the National Agricultural           tion between the National Institute of Agricul-
    Research Systems of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the             tural Research (INIA) and the University in
    Sudan, and Tunisia. FAO, Research and Technol-              Uruguay.” In FAO (Food and Agriculture Orga-
    ogy Development Service, Rome.                              nization), The Role of Universities in National Ag-
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 1997. Is-              ricultural Research Systems: Report of the FAO
    sues and Opportunities for Agricultural Education           Expert Consultation, held 10-22 March 1991. FAO,
    and Training in the 1990s and Beyond. FAO, Agri-            Rome.
    cultural Education Group, Rome.                         Venezian, E. 1993. “A Case of University Participa-
Hansen, G. E. 1989. Universities for Development: Les-          tion in National Agricultural Research: the Fac-
    sons for Enhancing the Role of Agricultural Univer-         ulty of Agriculture, Catholic University of Chile.”
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Michelsen, H., and D. Shapiro. 1998. Strengthening              sultation, March 10–22, 1991. FAO, Rome.
    the Role of Universities in the National Agricultural   Willett, A. 1998. Agricultural Education Review—Sup-
    Research Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Highlights          port for Agricultural Education in the Bank and by
    of a Workshop, Cotonou, Benin, November 17–                 Other Donors. The World Bank, Rural Develop-
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    ricultural Research, The Hague.                         World Bank. 1992. World Bank Assistance to Agricul-
Michelsen, H., C. Hoste, and L. Zuidema. 1996.                  tural Higher Education 1964–1990. The World
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