Bridging the ‘Output-Outcome’ Gap in Sustainability R and D

A Fifth Generation R and D ‘Punctuated Arena’ Model
  • N. D. MacLeod
  • A. D. Shulm


Research and development (R and D) activities within the agriculture and land resource management domain are increasingly focussed on sustainable use of land and water resources. In Australia, this is occurring within the context of a complex environment characterised by substantial climatic and market uncertainty, poor understanding of fundamental ecosystem processes, conflicts between different land use practices and a recognition of the interests of a wide array of community groups. Traditional research and extension (R,D and E) models based on linear transfer of technology have been criticised as inappropriate to solving such problems, particularly with their focus on output, including technological information and scientific publications, rather than their application or outcome. While R and D specialists may regard this as an extension failure, the problems most likely lie at more basic levels, including the relevance of the research questions and the fact that different users of the information are interested in the application of technology regardless of its source (e.g. Jiggins, 1993), or its underlying causal mechanism (Russell and Ison, 1991). The path towards achieving these ideals is increasingly seen to lie within the domain of multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches to R and D problem-solving and communication endeavours (e.g. Jiggins, 1993). However, the performance for both generation and adoption of R and D-sourced technologies remains poor and an output-outcome gap remains. This performance is reviewed and means to improve it are suggested.


Water Resource Research Extension Failure Intermediate Technology Publication Work Group Performance Fourth Generation Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. D. MacLeod
    • 1
  • A. D. Shulm
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIRO Tropical AgricultureSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Communication Research Institute of AustraliaHackettAustralia

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