Elgar original reference
Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 1: Introduction to agriculture, biotechnology and development
Evidence is playing a greater and more conspicuous role in the shaping and management of public and private organizations and the rules that govern them. Decision-makers rely on evidence and must account for its use, but the processes for creating, normalizing and disseminating knowledge, as well as the standards for the evidence itself, are widely debated, discussed and documented. Apart from the theories and typologies of evidence generation and evaluation, one crucial variable underpinning and defining effective uptake and use of new knowledge is often missing: timing. In the context of emerging technologies where the knowledge base is incomplete, the timing of knowledge generation and use can determine the fate of technologies. This is especially true in the dialogue about when, where and how society should adapt, adopt and use new science-based inventions in the global agri-food system. The emergence of biotechnology in the global system has triggered a broad range of individuals and groups asserting that the technology is, or is not, appropriate to the context and needs of global agriculture and development. Careful consideration of the quality and provenance of evidence will always matter, but so too does the vital question of when is the best time to disseminate knowledge, especially as it relates to innovative concepts and products? While every case of agri-food biotechnology innovation is different, some general rules about when and how to disseminate information apply.