Innogen · Research · Current projects
Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food Security – Beyond PITA

Joyce Tait   Joanna Chataway   David Wield

Affiliated staff:   Ann Bruce   Sue Oreszczyn   James Smith

Funding: ESRC Innogen Centre

Started: January 1 2002


Before the establishment of Innogen, Tait, Chataway and Wield et al conducted a range of research projects focused on company strategies for agricultural biotechnology. Innovation in this area is characterised by its extremely long term nature and highly regulated environment.

From 2002, relevant Innogen research focused on industrial strategy and governance of agro-biotechnology innovation, drawing together public policy and industrial strategy dimensions into a series of analytical and heuristic frameworks (see publications below). Related research focused on agricultural innovation systems in developing countries.

Aims and objectives

This research aims to draw together previous foci on biotechnology, global agriculture and food security. We will explore the changing strategies of key multinational companies important for agricultural production, trade and value-chain; public policies concerning agro-biotechnology and food security; and drivers of innovation in developing country agriculture.

We will choose case studies that integrate analysis of firm dynamics, public policy, and agro-biotechnology and value-chain analysis.

Research methods

The project will combine secondary and interview-based research on company strategy, global production and trade trends.

It will develop a theoretical framework and then design and choose case studies that allow for an integrated analysis. For example, case studies might include those on animal feed and biofuels.

Wider implications for policy

There are policy implications at various levels. The most likely levels at which the project may work are at the European level and at the level of development policy.

At macro level, we are witnessing major global perturbations, first of rises in commodity prices, and then of financial downturn. This is likely to cause serious disruption to food security policy.

At micro levels, the agricultural innovation systems of the poorer agricultural producers are also likely to be strongly affected.