Functions and limitations of farmer cooperatives as innovation intermediaries: Findings from China
Yang, H. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. ; Leeuwis, C. - \ 2014
Agricultural Systems 127 (2014). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 115 - 125.
international agricultural-research - sub-saharan africa - technological-change - systems perspective - networks - management - extension - knowledge - support
This article takes an innovation intermediary perspective to examine farmer cooperative’s (FC) roles in facilitating agricultural innovation and its positioning in the agricultural innovation system (AIS). The article draws experiences from the rapidly emerging FC field in China. Three cases are selected to cross check findings from them and innovation journey analysis is used within each case to understand FCs’ engagement in innovation processes. The findings show that FCs cover a wide range of knowledge intermediation and innovation intermediation functions identified by the literature. FCs recognize the importance to connect technical, social and economic dimensions of farming practice and provide corresponding services to link farmers to relevant actors, like extension agencies, research institutes and supermarkets. Though they mainly work through bilateral relationships as opposed to acting as a systemic intermediary, they could take the role of coordinator in the service system and bridge the gap between the research and policy system and everyday farming practice, especially in the absence of a systemic coordinator. However, their legitimacy as intermediary might be challenged due to the potential conflicts with governments, market actors or their members, and their local position may provide insufficient clout for developing durable relationships with relevant actors.
Towards dynamic research configurations: A framework for reflection on the contribution of research to policy and innovation processes
Schut, M. ; Paassen, A. van; Leeuwis, C. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. - \ 2014
Science and Public Policy 41 (2014)2. - ISSN 0302-3427 - p. 207 - 218.
international agricultural-research - joint knowledge production - sustainable development - natural-resources - boundary objects - systems - science - management - scale - information
This paper seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the complex dynamics that shape the contribution of research to policy and innovation processes that address ‘competing claims’ on natural resources and their management. Research in the context of competing claims requires strategies that: (1) can cope with high uncertainty and unpredictability; (2) are concerned with understanding the multiple dimensions of the issue at stake; (3) can facilitate change across different scales and levels; (4) include collaboration with different actors and stakeholders; and (5) may imply new roles for research and researchers. This paper reviews and builds upon research approaches to address these challenges. These research approaches are combined in a framework for dynamic research configurations that aims to stimulate reflection among researchers and to promote more embedded, context-sensitive and flexible research strategies.