1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Egenis · People

Dr. David Reece

Research Fellow

Biography

My research for Egenis concerns the relationships between Genomics and local agricultural practice in developing countries. I am interested in the institutions that apply science and technology to developing-country agriculture, in how these predominantly public-sector bodies can gain access to genomic-based tools developed and owned by the private sector, and more generally in the issues raised by public-private collaboration in agricultural research for the developing world. I approach this research from a perspective that combines Technology Policy and Development Studies. Project link.

I hold an MSc in Science and Technology Policy from SPRU (University of Sussex). The thesis that I prepared in 1984 as part of this course sought to forecast the probable impacts of new biotechnology, both upon the genetic resources and upon the agricultural systems of developing countries. It included a critical review of literature on the ‘Green Revolution’ and emphasised the experience of the Philippines, where the changes that followed the introduction of the new technology were unusually rapid and profound. I later lived and worked in the Philippines and thus was able to carry out field research with farmers there and appreciate the changes that they had experienced.

I continued to explore these issues in the research that I carried out for my PhD. This work was housed within what was then the Systems Department of the Open University. I was therefore immersed within a tradition of ‘soft’ systems scholarship, including a strongly constructivist (or constructionist) understanding of science and technology, and naturally drew upon that tradition in approaching my work. As a result, I chose to focus upon the behaviour of institutions and carried out my field research within the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, an institute that draws upon advances in Genomics and upon other kinds of knowledge in order to develop new technologies to support and transform local agricultural practice. It was clear that CIAT’s organisational character was important in ‘shaping’ the technologies that it developed, and so I concentrated upon the changes that were experienced by CIAT as it sought to incorporate poverty and sustainability concerns into its research.

Before joining Egenis, I did two years of post-doctoral research with the Overseas Development Group of the University of East Anglia. Entitled ‘Knowledge Dissemination Domains’, this conceptual research project concerned the processes involved in developing new technologies and the ways in which user needs may feasibly influence these processes. Its object was to enable agricultural researchers to respond to the (unstated) requirements of the intended beneficiaries of their work This was to be achieved by developing a conceptual framework and a related methodology that would highlight those aspects of a proposed new technology that would make it suitable (or unsuitable) for use by the majority of members of specific social groups. My colleagues and I therefore produced a new framework for conceptualising the relationship between a technology and different groups of potential end users. Once it had been developed, the framework was used to construct Interface, a computer-based decision support system that assesses the probable uptake (in terms of numbers of particular groups of people) of proposed natural resource management technologies. This project therefore provided an indirect method for increasing the responsiveness of technology development to user communities.

Research Project:

The adoption and deployment of molecular marker assisted breeding technology.

Research Interests

My research for Egenis concerns the relationships between Genomics and local agricultural practice in developing countries. I am interested in the institutions that apply science and technology to developing-country agriculture, in how these predominantly public-sector bodies can gain access to genomic-based tools developed and owned by the private sector, and more generally in the issues raised by public-private collaboration in agricultural research for the developing world. I approach this research from a perspective that combines Technology Policy and Development Studies

Research Projects:

The impact of advanced genomics-based tools for agronomy, plant breeding and food production on local agricultural practices

Genomic technologies in the developing world