AGRICULTURAL KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION SYSTEMS (AKIS)
GOOD PRACTICE NOTE NO. _________
into National Agricultural
Research and Extension
Good Practice for Investment
in Agricultural University
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.
Executive Summary 1
Context for Investment 2
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
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.”
AKIS Thematic Team
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.
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
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:
• 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.
• 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
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
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.
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Role of Universities in National Agricultural Re- Improving the Role of Universities in National Ag-
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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-
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Occasional Paper 31. U.S. Agency for Interna- The Role of Universities in National Agricultural Re-
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Research Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Highlights port for Agricultural Education in the Bank and by
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21, 1997. International Service for National Ag- ment Family, Washington, D.C.
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Michelsen, H., C. Hoste, and L. Zuidema. 1996. tural Higher Education 1964–1990. The World
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