4.3 Financing agricultural research

The future of research and, thus, the scale to which a college of agriculture can contribute to the development of agriculture, depends on the amount of financial resources. Research is expensive, and the more sophisticated the research projects are, the higher the costs, especially in science fields. This creates a financial problem all over the world, especially for private universities which cannot readily rely on the government budget. Universities usually face these problems when they develop from the undergraduate to the graduate level. With the introduction of graduate training, research is no longer a hobby of the professor, but an integral part of the activities of the university because graduate-training is training in, and by, research.

Governments and governmental institutions will partly have to step in and contribute to the research funds, perhaps by special contracts by means of which they tap the resources of equipment and expertise to get part of their research requirement done. With a view to the amount of the needs of research and the limitations of resources, a type of co-operation between governments and universities should be possible which gives governments the necessary control over the use of their funds and the universities the necessary freedom within a frame-work agreed upon research contract. Governments are not the only possible research contractors. Numerous small and medium food and agro industries cannot afford a research department like big companies, but require research to improve their products, production processes, quality controls, etc. Here, ways and means of co-operation have to be developed for mutual benefit. If, for instance, graduate students take over such assignments with guidance from their professors and payment from the industries, not only are the scholarships for the graduate students and the research costs for their theses taken care of. This research, by necessity, is related to practical problems and the student is introduced to problems of his possible future working place. Again, problems of independence and research ethics have to be solved, but such arrangements might help financing research, while such research is at the same time a contribution towards economic development.

The costs of research can vary greatly, according to the way it is conducted. Whenever feasible, venyl houses, for instance, are cheaper than green houses. For colleges of agriculture, many research objects require fields for experiments, cultivation tests etc. Instead of buying expensive land for university farms, arranging experiments in the villages on the peasants' fields is much cheaper, even when the peasants receive compensation. At the same time, experiments are more related to the real world. But, such arrangements are not feasible for all types of research.

The question of a modern college of agriculture's contribution to the needs of society is not completely dealt with without some comments on the extension of results from research work. While in industrialized countries a highly developed infrastructure links the universities with other public and private institutions and guarantees the immediate spread of new knowledge and research findings, this sort of an infra-structure does not exist in developing countries, at least not to the extent required. Therefore, the university does not readily turn into an agent of socio-economic development, and special measures are necessary. A spectrum of possibilities like publications, public lecturers, training courses, newspaper articles, etc. are available to assure that universities' findings are passed on to society as soon as possible.

The paper at hand tried to elaborate on the role of agricultural colleges in modern society and discuss some possibilities in teaching and research activities by which they could increase their contribution to the socio-economic development. Not all the points that have been discussed are feasible in every case, while there are certainly many other possibilities. In any case, there are great opportunities for agricultural colleges to increase their significance for the greater society and play an active role in the development of the nation. Great opportunities are a great responsibility.