There is a need for a strategy, developed in collaboration between scientists, ministries,
NGOs, and the economy accompanied by a long-term funding in order to achieve applicable
solutions on the above described challenges (Isermeyer 2014). Structural aspects would
need to be addressed strategically as well: The unique selling point of agricultural sciences
is that it includes all types of research.
Currently, some interviewees feel that there are
diminished faculties, which are not able any more to cover the whole spectrum of
agricultural research and achieve a necessary degree of inter- and transdisciplinarity. The
DAF suggested concentrating agricultural research in order to support the
development of internationally successful clusters (as a role model example might serve
Wageningen in the Netherlands). Some interviewees feel that German federalism is a
problem in this respect and advocate a national master plan.
In addition, the above mentioned lack of basic funding of universities reduces the freedom
of science and necessarily leads to a focus on mainstream research. Furthermore, long-
term research is becoming increasingly difficult due to short project periods. As a
consequence universities are currently not really able to contribute to a strategic research
process on future challenges. At the same time, due to the growing pressure of raising
third-party funds scientists often apply for calls on topics they are thematically not
interested in or consider as irrelevant. Some interviewees feel that scientists should try to
better influence agenda setting.
On the other hand, it is the third-party fund pressure, the
increasing third-party funding bureaucracy and connected tight projects leading to a
situation where at least university researchers increasingly lack time to take influence.