Multidisciplinary knowledge partnerships and research teams for dairy innovation: experiences in the FutureDairy project (Australia)

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Kabore, C.
Nettle, R.
Paine, M.

This paper, presented at the 8th European IFSA Symposium ( Workshop 6: "Change in knowledge systems and extension services: Role of the new actors") in 2008, discusses the FutureDairy project, which is developing more productive forage and feeding systems and testing technical innovations such as robotic milking in Australian pasture based dairy systems. Associated with this work are 'Knowledge Partnerships' where researchers from multiple disciplines (dairy science, extension and social research) engage with farmers and advisors to adapt forages and feeding technical options to commercial situations. The approach brings together the professions of research, farming and agricultural advisors and the formal disciplines of dairy science, social research and extension. After two years the approach delivered on its major objective - fast tracking innovation within the dairy industry. However, social research studies of multidisciplinarity within FutureDairy have uncovered significant challenges in the approach. This paper recounts some of the experiences of the project management team trying to negotiate ways around conflicting world views and beyond the dominant science paradigm.


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