Research and Development : Going Beyond the Strategic Plan. Proceedings of the VIth International Walnut Symposium'
Evans, KJ and Adem, HH, Research and Development : Going Beyond the Strategic Plan. Proceedings of the VIth International Walnut Symposium', Acta Horticulturae, 861, (April) pp. 57-62. ISSN 0567-7572 (2010) [Refereed Article]
We outline a conceptual framework for structuring and conducting research and development (R & D) that leads to outcomes that assist a whole-of-chain industry response. Technical innovation starts with consumer groups who indicate their preferences through the ‘consumer demand chain’. Once market signals are interpreted, R & D is structured to develop tools, knowledge and capability for growing and supplying nuts to specification. Conditions that lead to rapid technical innovation are defined, including effective linkages between industry practitioners and scientists. We describe how the Australian Walnut Industry Association (AWIA) set R & D priorities as a first step for a coordinated and outcome-driven approach to research. Setting plans for action required identifying project ‘Champions’ (who will take the lead?) and ‘Partners’ (who do we need to work with?). This process also requires definition of the clients of the research, the length of time expected for an outcome, the nature of the research collaboration (e.g., user-pays, student projects) and processes for keeping research projects aligned with industry needs. The mechanisms of collaborative research are discussed, including the leverage that can be obtained from co-investment. It is concluded that competitive advantage from R&D is most likely when the researcher/industry engagement is effective and combined with a long-term commitment by industry to influence government policy for creating a climate of co-investment that underpins industry growth.
extension, industry development, Juglans, marketing, nut crops