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
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
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.