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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Public-private partnerships needed in horticultural research and development


University-industry partnerships are proliferating in the United States, as public funding for high-level research continues to decline yet knowledge plays an increasingly important role in industrial processes. The horticulture industry benefits from such arrangements by influencing research directions and gaining access to innovations and complementary research in agricultural biotechnology. Given the nature of this industry, the obstacles to developing effective partnerships are substantial. Private horticulture institutions should form consortia of both small- and medium-sized firms, and they should understand the need for faculty and academic freedom. More enterprising members of a consortium can capitalize on the research contacts and pursue firmspecific, applied-research partnerships. Potential drawbacks are the exclusion of smaller firms and inequitable benefits-sharing within the consortia.

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