4.1 Basic versus applied research

Colleges of agriculture, because of their subjects, are institutions of applied research. After all, agriculture is the application of science to the process of food and raw materials production. Within the process of agricultural development, in addition, the agricultural college has the task of adopting existing knowledge to the particular conditions and needs of the country and to the regional differences. This transfer of existing theoretical knowledge into practical application is possible only within the country itself, while basic research can, in principal, be conducted anywhere in the world. Basic scientific knowledge is transferable, while the application of science to real world problems tends not to be transferable because of differences in the natural economic, political, and cultural environment. Therefore, theoretical research is of less importance in countries giving high importance to speeding up the process of development. There is danger that too much emphasis is put on basic research and not enough work spent on immediate problems. Researchers all over the world feel that doing basic research leads to a higher professional standing than being engaged in applied research, and often the most creative and imaginative minds have moved to the area of ,,tool-building" rather than ,,problem-solving". For sure, there is no clear dividing line between basic and applied research, and basic research may come up with very practical results tomorrow. The personality of the researcher plays a role as well. Therefore, agricultural colleges should have their pure science, but pure science must not monopolize research. In general, applied research topics meet to a larger extent, the immediately relevant requirements of society.