Impact of technological innovation in animal nutrition

Nutritional science serves both animal agriculture and the public consuming animal products. A past failure to demonstrate the relevance of work to the consumer has led in the UK to a reduction in unrestricted funding which now threatens scientific independence. The risk which innovation sometimes brings can be managed through cost/benefit appraisal and the precautionary principle. The process of risk assessment requires the involvement of the risk-taker, and is not a sole responsibility of the scientific community. The likelihood of innovations from nutrition research being put to good use will depend upon the quality of the science and its relevance to need. Scientific quality is assisted by funders giving preferential support to research centers which can provide the critical mass of scientists necessary to ensure experimental scale, scientific quality control, and the bringing together of different disciplines to focus upon a single problem. Priorities for nutritional research are suggested to be: the understanding and control of response (and failure to respond) to nutrients, the relationship between nutrition and animal wellbeing, the relationship between nutrition and the protection of the environment, and the relationship between nutrition and the quality of animal product (especially meat). The efficiency of technology transfer is suggested to be positively associated with the presence of simple and automatic means for the implementation of an innovation, or with a need to comply with Farm Quality Assurance Standards. The need for an intermediate extension step between the innovator and the end-user, together with a need for on-going managerial judgement seems to be unhelpful to effective technology transfer.


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Innovation, Nutrition, Research funding, Technology transfer

Additional information:

AuthorsWhittemore, C.T. (Institute of Ecology and Resource Management, University of Edinburgh, UK)
Publisher:Elsevier Science B.V.
Keywords:Innovation, Nutrition, Research funding, Technology transfer
Last update:2001