‘We need to be better and quicker in making the research results available to the right people’: Making agriculture more sustainable

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue Oct 18 2022

Author: Guest contributor

At Springer Nature, we are committed to bridging the gap between research and policymaking by helping researchers increase the societal impact of their work. As part of our SDG15 hub launch, dedicated to life on land, we asked several experts how they work to make sure their related research is reaching those that need it most to make urgent decisions when it comes to the future of our planet.

Dominik Klauser from the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture in Switzerland spoke to us about how his work and CABI Agriculture & Bioscience are related to SDG15: Life on Land.

What is the focus of your research work?

The focus of my work is not necessarily research itself, but to translate research into outcomes that support the sustainability of agriculture, particularly smallholder farming. This means making research results accessible and actionable, for instance by developing products that can – and will – be used by farming communities in developing countries.

What are the short- and long-term goals of your work?

The long-term goals are to make agriculture more sustainable. Focusing on smallholder farming systems, we align very much with the concept of climate-smart agriculture, meaning that we drive for increased incomes and improved livelihoods for farming families, a reduced environmental footprint of farming, and more resilient farming systems overall, but especially to climate change.

How do you work directly to address SDG15: Life on Land? 

What we do improves the resource use if farming, be it land, water, fertilizers, or other inputs. Doing so, we firmly believe that we will contribute to reducing land use change and resource use conflicts between farming systems and ecosystems. For instance, our research work on conservation agriculture on Kenya helps reducing the need for irrigation water in Kenyan highlands, and hence increasing water availability for downstream ecosystems and farming and pastoral communities.

How do you think that the open access journal, CABI A&B, plays a role with SDG15?

Progress on SDG15 requires a lot of agronomic and ecological research in biodiversity hotspots that experience a rapid ecosystem degradation, most notably development countries. In contrast to other journals, CABI A&B offers a platform for this type of research in the global South!

What does public engagement look like in your field and how important do you think it is for researchers to make a societal impact with their work?

The size of the challenges we face and the speed of change we experience makes research ever more important. However, to respond to these challenges, we need to be better and quicker in making the research results available and in making them available to the right people. I firmly believe that, moving forward, “just publishing” will not be good enough and we will much clearer plans in how to make our research results available and actionable.

What advice do you have for researchers who are looking for ways to make societal impact, in other words, impact beyond their scholarly circle/academia?

Have a clear idea in what you do with the results of your research and think of actions beyond publishing. How can you reach your target audience? How can they be translated into outcomes that mean change for the better? What would these outcomes look like? I don’t think that a publication alone qualifies for a valid vision of success in our field.

Read more about sustainable agriculture on the CABI Agriculture & Bioscience website and visit the SDG15: Life on Land hub to learn more about what researchers are changing the future one discovery at a time.

About the Author: 

Dominik Klauser © Springernature 2022

Dominik completed a PhD in molecular plant biology at the University of Basel and worked in Business Development at Syngenta both in Switzerland and the UK, and as an IP and technology transfer advisor to several European research institutions. In addition to coordinating all crop breeding and agronomy research investments of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture,  Dominik lectures on crop management and plant physiology at a number of Universities and is a permanent science advisor to the Gregor Mendel Institute, Vienna. Dominik is also on the board of the Swiss Forum for International Agricultural Research (SFIAR).


Author: Guest contributor

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