4.2 Monodisciplinary versus interdisciplinary research

Experience has shown that particularly in agriculture the greatest gains do not come from an improvement in a single process, but from the interaction of suitable combination of improved practices and that fragmented research efforts often prove ineffective and costly. The enormous interaction of factors within farming-systems makes applied agricultural research especially suitable for a comprehensive approach of several disciplines, in problem diagnosis as well as in problem solving. Monodisciplinary solutions of practical problems can easily prove to be impractical at the farm level. For sure, not each and every problem requires an interdisciplinary approach and often, after a joint diagnosis, individual sciences have first to do homework, but afterwards an integration of subject matter contribution is necessary, if laboratory research is to be made applicable at farm level. In spite of this situation, growing scientific knowledge leads to fragmentation and specialization and over a long time has created almost insurmountable boundaries between disciplines and departments. If a college of agriculture wants to contribute to solving the problems of the farming population, it has to find ways and means which make co-operation between departments and subjects normal and not in need of special arrangements.