277-1 Are Our Research Needs Driving Policy? or Is Policy Driving Our Research?.

See more from this Division: A10 Bioenergy and Agroindustrial Systems
See more from this Session: Symposium--Biomass Energy Systems: Research Needs to Address Policy Issues
Wednesday, November 3, 2010: 1:00 PM
Long Beach Convention Center, Room 301, Seaside Level
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Mark Downing, ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN
It is clear that regardless the nature of development of federal energy, agriculture, or environmental policy (or absence of it) researchers continually struggle with comprehensive inter-temporal research agendas in plant and other natural sciences that will hopefully be demonstrated and deployed toward the national or international good. What is striking is the innate scientific curiosity of researchers in their quest for answers about things such as plant phenotypic expression as a result of explicit and known genotypic structure. It is not necessarily transparent what may happen upon finding a specific answer to these and other questions, but likely, many science discoveries are made by mistake. Each plant science researcher knows what it takes to develop a high-yielding disease resistant, drought-tolerant, water conserving, densified, delivered, non-invasive, fully domesticated, non-flowering, long-lived, fast-growing lignocellulosic native perennial crop, but suppose some of those assumptions are relaxed on the way to the biorefinery. Scientists donít want to be policymakers, and policymakers donít want to be scientists, but research agendas cannot be on a start-stop schedule, and policies cannot switch on and off at the whim of a political caucus, or at the turn of an election. This session develops thinking about these and other issues from the point of view of a couple of federal agencies, and a couple of environmental think-tanks. There are no easy answers, but failure to talk about research-policy solutions in concert is not an option. The cost of not addressing this is much higher than the headache of meeting these and other controversies head-on. Fortunately, there are a number of examples of lessons learned as a result of achieving success, as opposed to simply looking at the lessons learned as a result of failure.
See more from this Division: A10 Bioenergy and Agroindustrial Systems
See more from this Session: Symposium--Biomass Energy Systems: Research Needs to Address Policy Issues