February 14, 2011
Several months ago, I applied for and was awarded Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) funding to conduct research on private-public partnerships in pulse research in Australia and Canada. This research proposal grew out of work we (Phillips, Boland and Ryan) conducted on global public-private pulse research networks (see related blog entry: http://doccami.posterous.com/global-networks-of-actors-in-plant-genetic-re). We discovered that of all countries in the world, Australia seems to be doing something right. The network is well-connected and also well linked to global sources. Canada, on the other hand, is a bit more fragmented. So, what lessons can Canada learn from Australia?
The ASSA funding and my partnership with co-investigator, Dr. K. Siddique of the University of Western Australia, will enable me to explore this Australian pulse network a bit more. I leave Thursday for ‘Down Under’ where, for three weeks, I will have the opportunity to interview folks connected to various institutions conducting pulse research and breeding (lentil, chick peas, beans etc). All in all, it looks to be an interesting ride! I will spend the first leg of my journey in Perth, at the University of Western Australia where I will meet with folks and attend the Western Australia Agribusiness Crop Update meetings on the 23rd and 24th. Then I will head to Adelaide where the Pulse Breeding Australia meetings are scheduled for March 1st to the 3rd. Pulse breeders across Australia will be in attendance. I will head to Canberra on the 3rd for meetings there and, finally, will end my journey in Melbourne (which will include a stop at LaTrobe University). I will head home to Alberta on the 9th.
I look forward to keeping you posted as to how things transpire. I hear that the fires are a-burning in Perth and that I may witness some of the effects of recent floodings in the Melbourne area. I guess we shall see…
Excerpt from our work:
“This system consists of the major export countries of Canada, the USA and Australia along with two Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR), ICARDA and ICRISAT and some individual research centres in France, India and South Africa. Institutionally, this system is composed of 17 P3s (26%), 22 universities (33%) and 27 government research centres (41%). There is a discernable absence of private firms. With one notable exception P3s dominate the three measures of influence. There are three P3s with total degree centrality measures of two or more standard deviations above mean, the Crop Development Centre/Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (CDC/SPG) of Canada and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Centre for Legumes in a Mediterranean Area (CLIMA), both of Australia.This indicates that these organizations are engaged in a higher level of network activity than other network institutions. Both the GRDC and CLIMA are the top ranked eigenvector actors according to their measures of two standard deviations above average (see table: 6.2 below), suggesting these are the only two actors with significant power rankings in this network. In table: 6.3, the CDC/SPG with a measure six standard deviations above mean and the US Government research centre at Pullman, Washington with a measure of two standard deviations above mean both act as gatekeepers, controlling the flow of information, while experiencing a level of independence due to multiple sources of new information. The CDC/SPG in particular, due to the magnitude of its betweeness measure, may occupy a unique position in this network regarding its ability to structure the flow of new information.”