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Crop Science Abstract - Opinion & Policy

Linking Agricultural Bioscience to Cross-Sector Innovation: A New Graduate Curriculum


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 52 No. 6, p. 2423-2431
    Received: Jan 25, 2012
    Published: October 10, 2012

    * Corresponding author(s): jorda020@umn.edu
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  1. Nicholas R. Jordan *a,
  2. Donald L. Wysea and
  3. Barrett Colombob
  1. a Agronomy & Plant Genetics Dep., Univ. of Minnesota, 411 Borlaug Hall, 1991 Buford Cir., St. Paul, MN 55018
    b Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Univ. of Minnesota, 130 Humphrey School, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455. Institutional sponsor: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities


New innovation systems are needed to help agriculture meet its “grand challenges.” These systems should integrate the major streams of discovery in agricultural bioscience (biotechnologies and agroecotechnologies) and engage this and other research with private enterprise, civil society, and government sectors, to develop new agricultural systems that meet high standards for performance in economic, social, and environmental terms. To create and sustain such innovation systems, a critical mass of agricultural bioscientists is needed with certain skills, understandings, and inclinations that enable constructive and ongoing participation in innovation systems. To achieve this critical mass, graduate education will play a crucial role. We outline a graduate curriculum for this purpose, similar in scope to a graduate minor program; it features two foundational courses, experientially based short courses and student experiences in cross-sector innovation systems. The curriculum is now being pilot-tested at the University of Minnesota with a cohort of 11 students, but is well suited to multi-institutional implementation. Initial evaluation data suggest that the first year of the curriculum promoted development of certain relevant skills and inclinations in an initial cohort of seven students.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the Crop Science Society of America, Inc.