Agricultural Research: Moving beyond Agriculture

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Over the last decades agriculture has profited to a large extend from science and scientific research, not only in Europe but globally. But increasingly questions are raised regarding the agricultural sciences and their contribution to the 'advancement' of agriculture. Environmental pollution, and « Sciences en société : dialogues et responsabilité scientifique » 24-25 novembre 2008, Palais d¿Iéna, Paris landscape and biodiversity degradation have been worries for some time; GMOs, biofuels and the social consequences of large-scale, capital intensive monocultures in OECD countries for small farmers around the world are examples of more recent problems. Hence, it is increasingly recognized that the agricultural research agenda needs to be widened, beyond a simple modernization path of increased agricultural production and efficiency. But what are the new challenges for the agricultural research agenda? Who should decide on that agenda? At what level should these questions be set in times of globalization? And can this agenda remain limited to agriculture now that the social systems of agriculture, energy and industry become so heavily intertwined? The presentation will use the example of biofuels to illustrate that there are no longer any simple answers for the future of scientific research and advancement: biofuels can neither be glorified nor condemned. Any way forward with science will mean a growing involvement of society. But we have to remain aware that society is always fragmented and divided and that procedural improvements may not solve agro-scientific controversies
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventEuropean Conference "Science in Society: Dialogues and Scientific Responsibility", Paris, France -
Duration: 24 Nov 200825 Nov 2008


ConferenceEuropean Conference "Science in Society: Dialogues and Scientific Responsibility", Paris, France

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