Changes in the Organization and Institutions of AKST and Consequences for Development and Sustainability Goals | 139

the farming community. During the Second World War and thereafter, the top-down emphasis and governmental inter­vention in R&D increased to ensure food security. Even dur­ing this time farmers' interest in guiding R&D was strong and they had a major influence in policy (Buhler et al., 2002). In the latter part of the 20th century, the influence of farmers in public R&D diminished while that of larger com­panies increased. Levy boards remain one avenue through which farmers exert influence on agricultural research agen­das (Accenture, 2007). In recent years farmer participation in the development of AKST has increased again in NAE (Romig et al., 1995, 1996; Walter et al. 1997; Wander and Drinkwater, 2000; Dik, 2004; Groot et al., 2004; Morris, 2006; Ingram and Morris, 2007; Timmer et al., 2007). Pub­lic consultation processes have been extended to include a wider range of voices in the setting of agendas for publicly funded agricultural research (OSI, 2006).
     Concerns have been expressed that the increased influ­ence of some sections of the private sector in the setting of public research agendas have the potential for biased ben­efits (Ulrich et al., 1986; Constantine et al., 1994). For ex­ample, in the US the agricultural research agenda is today heavily influenced by the private input sector and, to a lesser extent, by processing industries. There is also concern that less research is made available in the public domain due to the increased extent of research being conducted and funded by industry, which needs confidentiality to protect invest­ments and stay ahead of competitors (Buhler et al., 2002). The central role of AKST as a driver of industrialization and structural change, especially but not solely of agriculture, has also raised debate about whether even publicly funded agricultural research is targeted to the full range of user and citizens' groups (BANR, 2002).
     The number of civil society groups (or non-governmen­tal organizations, NGOs) in Western Europe and North America has increased dramatically since the end of the Sec­ond World War, with most of this increase post 1970. In Central and Eastern Europe the number and influence of policy of civil society groups increased substantially after 1989. Civil society groups include e.g., community groups, women's groups, consumer groups, environmental organi­zations, labor unions, indigenous peoples' organizations, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, profes­sional associations and foundations. At a national level, civil society groups are still more influential in Western Europe and North America than they are in Eastern Europe. How­ever, this may change in the future as the general tendency towards liberalization continues. Civil society organizations are now included in consultations on national (and also EU) agricultural policy as stakeholders. At an international level, there has been a policy to invite civil society groups to meet­ings of UN agencies as observers (UNEP, 2002). Consulta­tions are held with civil society groups at a regional level. However, many civil society organizations doubt the extent of civil society influence on agricultural policy, compared with that of agricultural business interests. Others are con­cerned that the pressure applied by single issue NGOs on agricultural policy is not always evidence-based and often only represents small segments of society.
     The current research climate has been criticized as be­ing characterized by short-term perspective and responsive


science and as being dominated by industrial and political influences with only a small role for farmers and consum­ers in setting of agendas (Buhler et al., 2002). Others see the increasing influence of consumers and NGOs on the set­ting of agendas as one of the main changes in influencing the evolution of AKST in recent years. There is also mis­trust amongst consumers and some NGOs that farmers and farmer organizations have too much influence on the setting of agricultural research agendas.
     In the international research, the colonial period was characterized by a top-down approach and a focus on cash crops (see 4.3.2). Then few people with influence in agenda setting came from developing countries. After the end of the colonial period, the national R&D structure, methods and even personnel changed only slowly and thus linkage of agricultural R&D to clients was weak. Indigenous agri­cultural systems received negative rather than positive at­tention (Boserup, 1965). Since the late 1970s, participatory approaches involving farmers have become the mainstream. The international donor  organizations  and contributing governments are influential beneficiaries and clients. Their importance has increased further during the last decade, due to the increasing constraints set by donors in respect of the use of funding (see 4.5.3).

4.5.6 Consequences of the changes in structures and funding
The consequences of the changes described have been criti­cally studied and discussed. Questions posed from an eco­nomic point of view include: Have the changes improved the economic efficiency of R&D? Has the emphasis on topics changed, such as farming and environment or processing, or between basic and applied research and extension, or among programs and institutions? Are administrational and trans­action costs lower? Other questions that need to be posed include: Have there been changes in who now benefits?
     At least since the 1950s, studies have shown unusually high productivity gains stemming from public agricultural research (e.g., Schultz, 1953; Griliches, 1958; Ruttan, 1982; Huffman and Evenson, 1993; Fuglie et al., 1996; Alston et al., 1998) with no evidence of a decline (Alston et al., 2000). This would have justified an even higher share of funds al­located to public agricultural research. However, budget pressures have induced administrators and public decision makers to reduce budgets while striving to avoid a signifi­cant loss of productivity.

Competitive grants and short-term contracts
To improve productivity the share of funding given out as competitive grants has been increased since the 1970s (Huffman and Just, 2000; Rubenstein et al., 2003). Also, the increasing role of the private sector in management of the public agricultural R&D has caused concern. In re­sponse, debates about how to foster, organize and manage agricultural research (as well as of research in general) have intensified during the 1990s (e.g., Buttel, 1986; Just and Huffman, 1992; Alston et al., 1995, 1998; Huffman and Just, 1994, 1999, 2000). This debate builds on earlier dis­cussions surrounding controversial topics such as national priority setting, central planning of agricultural research, over-organization of institutional research, top-down ap-