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Innovating and Developing Human Capacity in Rural Industries

Roslyn Prinsley

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, PO Box 4776, Kingston, ACT


Investment in human capacity building for rural industries is taking place in an environment characterised by significant change. Global markets and vertically integrated agriculture; increased emphasis on rural community development; the information technology revolution; the shift towards holistic approaches; changing roles for government; and an increasing emphasis on natural resource management and land stewardship are just some examples of the changing environment.

In order to maximise the returns from future investment in human capacity building for rural industries, careful planning is required. Carefully targetted research and development can underpin the development of this planning. In order to start this process the six Research and Development Corporations jointly commissioned a study and held a workshop to set research priorities. The resulting R&D priorities are shown below. It is proposed that this research program will develop the theoretical basis for new strategies for human capacity building in rural industries.

VISION - Rural communities initiating and managing positive change

MISSION - A coordinated program funding research and development in community and human capacity building, to ensure an effective rural industries research, extension and education system.

R&D Priorities

Approaches to the facilitation of enhanced learning and change processes. In particular:

  • Development and evaluation of innovative extension and education processes for enhancing human capacity
  • Guidelines and tools for designing effective delivery programs
  • Agreed frameworks for evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of extension.

Approaches for accelerating demand for learning and change. In particular:

  • Understanding why there is non-participation in learning or change, and the impacts of this non-participation
  • Developing tools to assist deliverers in creating a demand for learning and change.

Strategies for creating inter and intra-organisational arrangements to support learning and change. In particular:

  • Practical strategies for implementing change within organisations
  • Strategies for inter-organisational provision of agricultural development services
  • Determining the appropriate mix of regulation, economic incentives and extension for creating change
  • Re-thinking extension in a new environment of
  • global marketing and vertically integrated agriculture
  • increased emphasis on rural community development
  • a high focus on natural resource management and a shift towards land stewardship
  • the information technology revolution
  • the shift towards holistic approaches
  • the changing roles of government.

Strategies for the education and professional development of rural service providers. In particular:

  • Describing Australia’s rural service providers: who they are, what they do and why?
  • Strategies for measuring and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of rural service providers.

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