Public Dialogue on guiding principles of Rothamsted Research’s work with industry

4th Nov 2014

Rothamsted Research conducted a public dialogue on the guiding principles that should underpin its work with industry. The project was independently evaluated and both reports are now published.

Rothamsted Research provides knowledge and innovation to grow more food on the same or less land, using less water, fertiliser and pesticides than historically achieved, while moving towards more sustainable agricultural systems. Rothamsted, a primarily publicly funded research organisation, is now looking to diversify its sources of income. In order to achieve this, Rothamsted will aim to collaborate more with partners that are not publicly-funded. Partnering with SMEs, start-ups and established agribusinesses will help improve Rothamsted’s income portfolio, as well as providing access to the necessary infrastructure, while supporting greater innovation in the farming industry.

Dr Matina Tsalavouta, Acting Head of Communications at Rothamsted Research, said: “We have recently developed our communications and public engagement strategy. We’ve made it a priority to have a more dialogue-driven approach when engaging with the public and our stakeholders. We realise that the public will have a view on how an independent, public-funded research organisation should work with industry, covering issues such as transparency, independence, the ownership of research findings, and the ethics of engaging with different industry types.”

Rothamsted worked with a diverse local public and other stakeholders to discuss the guiding principles that should underpin its collaborations with industrial partners. The outcomes of this dialogue will inform Rothamsted’s Knowledge Exchange and Commercialization (KEC) strategy.

The project was funded by Rothamsted Research, theBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)and Sciencewise, the UK’s national centre for public dialogue in policy making involving science and technology issues. The OPM Group conducted and reported on the dialogue and the independent evaluation process and report was conducted by 3KQ. The dialogue and the evaluation were carried out in accordance with Sciencewise principles.

Professor Achim Dobermann, Director and Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research said: “I've been very impressed by the thoughtful suggestions made by the participants. This provides an excellent basis for developing clear principles for our collaboration with the private sector, which is of immense importance because it will enable us to gain more impact with our research."

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