Linking agricultural bioscience to cross-sector innovation: A new graduate curriculum

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New innovation systems are needed to help agriculture meet its "grand challenges." These systems should integrate the major streams of discovery in agricultural bioscience (biotechnologies and agroecotechnologies) and engage this and other research with private enterprise, civil society, and government sectors, to develop new agricultural systems that meet high standards for performance in economic, social, and environmental terms. To create and sustain such innovation systems, a critical mass of agricultural bioscientists is needed with certain skills, understandings, and inclinations that enable constructive and ongoing participation in innovation systems. To achieve this critical mass, graduate education will play a crucial role. We outline a graduate curriculum for this purpose, similar in scope to a graduate minor program; it features two foundational courses, experientially based short courses and student experiences in crosssector innovation systems. The curriculum is now being pilot-tested at the University of Minnesota with a cohort of 11 students, but is well suited to multi-institutional implementation. Initial evaluation data suggest that the first year of the curriculum promoted development of certain relevant skills and inclinations in an initial cohort of seven students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2423-2431
Number of pages9
JournalCrop Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012


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