Education and research in animal and grassland production

Author: N.M. Tainton
Year: 1986
Issue: 3
Volume: 16
Page: 134 - 136

In spite of the obvious interdependence of animals and grasslands, both education and research in South Africa have been largely intra- rather than interdisciplinary. There are a number of possible reasons for this. Universities find it difficult to train prospective researchers to an adequate level in two major biological disciplines in the present 4-year curriculum. Then, on being employed, most researchers find themselves operating in specialist animal or grassland research units, and for a number of reasons are discouraged from developing interdisciplinary programmes. Added to the inappropriateness of the administrative structures is the fact that research at the animal/grassland interface is extremely complex and is often costly, and is not readily amenable to the type of statistics which has formed the basis of statistical training at Universities. Given the appropriate climate, however, many of the inherent problems in such research can be overcome. What is needed, before this can happen, is a concerted effort to modify the administrative structures so that interdisciplinary work is actively encouraged and rewarded.


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