“Bean-stalker” heads ‘Down Under’

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.”





For all you IAD Framework junkies… a few more references #IADFramework #Ostrom

some more resources, links, files…

Madison, Frischmann and Strandburg (2010) “Constructing Commons in the Cultural Environment” Cornell Law Review, Volume 95, No 4, Page 657 – 710 http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/research/cornell-law-review/upload/Madison-Frischmann-Strandburg-final.pdf

Ostrom, E. (2010) “The Institutional Analysis and Development Framework and the Commons (a response to Madison etal above), Cornell Law Review, Volume 95, Pages 807-816 http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/research/cornell-law-review/upload/Ostrom-response-final.pdf

An Introduction to IAD and the Language of the Ostrom Workshop: A Guide
M. D. McGinnes
June 2010


new paper by Phillips & Ryan on network governance

Governance of International Networks:
A Social Network Analysis of International Institutions related to Plant Genetic Resources
Authors: P.W.B. Phillips and C.D. Ryan (yep, that’s me!)

Presented at the Political Studies Association Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland
March 2010

Governing in the modern times has become more complicated and complex, with an array of new governing structures encompassing the globe. Discrete institutions are increasingly intertwined and embedded in governing networks at sub-national, state and international levels. This paper investigates this new reality and uses it to examine the international governing system for plant genetics and genomic resources. Over the last century, issues have surfaced with technological progress and innovations that add complexity in the governing challenge, such as research management, intellectual property ownership, risk regulation and international trade in knowledge-intensive products. This paper explicitly examines one of the foundational issues of global knowledge management in the area of biotechnology—policies, practices and structures to support access and benefit-sharing (ABS) related to traditional knowledge (TK) and capacity-building in indigenous communities and developing countries. This paper uses social network analysis to investigate the complicated and complex interactions among a network of 108 international institutions and programs involved in ABS and TK. Using multiple layers of social network analysis, the structures and underlying meanings of the relationships in the governing network are studied and investigated for their structure, effectiveness and resiliency.

Admit it, you are SO excited to read this!

Keep it real, folks!

Phillips and Ryan 2010.pdf
Download this file

Hilarious! Cuddles the Cow: a comedy in several acts

Originally posted: July 4, 2009

A whale, one might understand. But a cow?!

On June 27, 2009, a large brown cow washed up on the beaches near Clover Point/Victoria, Canada. By Monday the 29th, she was STILL there.

This cow – a simple, domesticated and dead bovine – caused quite a stir for the City of Victoria. Why you ask?

Reported in the Times Colonist (by M. Pearson):

“…the animal washed up about six metres from the water’s edge, but below the high-water line, meaning that technically, it falls within the federal government’s jurisdiction…”

Simple, right? Hell, no!

The Department of Oceans and Fisheries were first called in to remove the rotting carcass. However, DOF officials stated that they only deal with beached “sea life” and this creature was, after all, a land mammal. Then the Canadian Food Inspection Agency was called in to deal with the matter. But after careful consideration, a concern was raised that the animal may have floated in from foreign waters, prompting consultation with US officials.

Sgt. J. McRae of the Victoria Police was quoted: “It was originally thought to be a dead horse, but once the officers got there they were able to determine it was a cow.”

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Speaking of brilliant, I found many of the suggestions/responses posted by the public in their comments quite humorous :

“Well, legally, that cow is homeless so I think it has a legal right to lie on that beach between 10 PM-6 AM. After that, the police will have to come in and remove it.” (Paul D)
“Maybe it jumped over the Moon and crash landed in the ocean?” (Hey Diddle Diddle) 
“I guess the city doesn’t own any chainsaws? Or are they having a meeting to decide when to meet about meeting to discuss acquiring the permits to get the equipment to remove the health hazard?” (anonymous)  
There were also several suggestions for a “public beach BBQ”.
In her demise, “Cuddles” (dubbed so by the locals) not only crossed the line from the land of the living to the land of the dead, but her carcass now lay across several jurisdictional lines including the fact that the beach she washed up on was part of the City of Victoria park property. She was (eventually) officially taken on as the responsibility of CFIA and is in transport to Calgary, Alberta for further evaluation (a place where folks can distinguish between a horse and cow).

So where do you draw the line — the jurisdictional line in these, what I would call, highly unusual one-off cases?

Well, for starters, I wouldn’t have called the poor creature “Cuddles”.