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APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Hot Topic No:


Final Title of Topic

Extension’s role in helping researchers farmers and stakeholders to develop and implement R,D&E.

Name of Leader

Larissa Bilston ( ), David Ellement ( ), Laurie Capill

Names of Participants

Maxine Schache, Terry Parminter; Graham White, Sergio Teixeira, Anne Crawford, Evonne Lovric, Scott Hedger, John Bagshaw, Irene Kernot, Sue Heisswolf, Roger Johnson, Samantha Heritage, Alison Anderson, Liz Mann, Horrie Pousserd, Jeremy Lemon, Any Grodecki, Anne Cathcart, Peter Holden, Nathalie Jarosz, Kain Jones, Eric Anderson, Stephanie Andreator, Mark Collins, Sally-Ann Henderson, Anita Channell, Emily Tee.

The Desired Outcome

A system for involving all stakeholders in planning and setting research priorities. A system for developing teams/ partnerships drawing whatever people/skills are needed with extension as an integral part of project development implementation and evaluation.

Full Action Plan to achieve that Outcome

What needs to be done

By When

By Whom

  • Develop a discussion group and/ or web page to develop a draft set of guidelines for project development and implementation and evaluation.
  • Ensure all stakeholders are involved in developing the guidelines (eg RDC’s, research managers & providers)
  • Review current RD&E guidelines for project development, funding and extension
  • Engage R&D Corps in a meaningful way so that they feel ownership for the guidelines and share our goals.
  • Develop a market plan for guidelines and better processes.
  • Develop training for research/ project leaders in participatory project planning and management
  • Develop a project to fund someone to do the above in a professional and strategic manner.



  • Individuals will implement the philosophy and information/knowledge shared today in their workplace.

Next Opportunity


Immediate steps required after this meeting

1. Produce a draft set of guidelines - & mount on the APEN web site. E-mail to the people present in this group & possibly all APEN members to all their ideas.

2. Liaise with R&D Corporations and Research Managers – public and private providers to ensure they have an input and interest in the guidelines.

3. Develop and implement a marketing plan.

• Share and discuss draft with stakeholders etc

• Develop a project proposal to do the action plans more thoroughly and strategically.

Total resources required (identify funding, people, time, etc)

Who will champion this topic after today?

? – this is a problem.

How will progress be communicated?

Other comments documented...

  • We might lose all this because we don’t have a champion to carry on from today. Any volunteers to develop a project?
  • Encourage project proposals to state realistic goals/milestones > SMART→ measurable
  • New structures for funding to produce desired research outputs
  • A project review process eg. An expert panel to ensure collaboration and communication issues are addressed.
  • Provide an industry interface – make sure that the work done in projects is what the industry wants/ needs and can adapt to meet changing requirements.
  • Encourage longer term project funding – reviewed regularly; flexible so can change or refine goals as new information/ understanding available.
  • Funding bodies… need to know what a ‘good extension component’ looks like.
  • Funding bodies acknowledge (+ fund) extension.
  • Projects that consider the health of the value chain rather than just the narrow interests of the farm system.
  • A process for strengthening relationships between collaborators understanding everyone’s personal needs and perspectives.
  • Better trust and respect/ rapport between researchers, growers, funding bodies and other stakeholders.
  • Long term relationships to meet for long term goals as well as the short or mid term goals many projects address.
  • Organised grower groups with skills to negotiate RD&E projects and their outcomes.
  • Project leaders do not need to be the researcher, extension people may be better suited to this role.
  • Project leaders should have strong project, people and team management skills.
  • Identify barriers to collaboration and potential solutions to overcome/ limit effects of these barriers.
  • Strategy to put together different goal of stakeholder of an industry and converse priorities/actions.
  • Projects that incorporate stakeholders in planning and design phase.
  • Policy change at an agency level to ensure meaningful engagement of extension in the development of research projects.
  • Identify all relevant stakeholders, and their roles and responsibilities and power, for industry programs.
  • Extension and evaluation strategies included at start of R&D project.
  • Growers and industry groups need to be in project management on an equal footing.
  • That users/participants and relevant extension officers of potential research projects are involved form the initial concept stage.
  • Design a process that will allow clear problem/ outcome definition, get the right people involved in the project (researchers and extension) deliver the outcomes and encourage feedback.
  • Research “use” extension staff – good communications.
  • A ‘toolkit’ of strategies extension officers can use to bring researchers, farmers and other stakeholders together.
  • Develop and implement a capacity building program in project management for industry reps.
  • Develop a model methodology for ensuring grass-roots industry/ community R&D needs are reflected in R&D program priorities.
  • Growers and industry groups need to be involved in project planning and remain involved for duration of project, at equal level to researcher.
  • Desired outcome for today real practical ideas to take away with us that we can implement in our jobs/ industries.
  • Grower and industry consultation (two-way communication) integrated from inception to completion. Communication and extension plans are part of this.
  • Growers and industry groups need to be in projects managed on equal footing.
  • Provide opportunity for industry and research community to interact to: develop R&D issues; set priorities; build relationships; develop and implement projects; disseminate and adopt outcomes.
  • Involve extension practitioners in projects from the outset, and ensure that there is strategic funding incorporated in project for extension action plans.

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