In pursuit of knowledge-based Slovenia: Is knowledge transfer to agriculture stuck in faculties?
The pursuit of a competitive “knowledge-based society” in Slovenia has shaped a new mission of academic institutions in their transfer of knowledge to practice. These institutions are expected to link basic and applied research to the rapid transfer of their academic results to knowledge users and consumers in order to contribute to economic development. Such reasoning is also implicitly involved in the imagining of knowledge transfer to agricultural practice. The Slovenian strategy of agricultural development highlights knowledge and its transmission to practice as a key driver of increased labour productivity and competitiveness of farm holdings. However, the academic institutions of a relatively well-established network of formal and informal agricultural education have substantially reduced their transfer of knowledge to practice. What determines such a curtailed transmission of knowledge was the basic research question of the targetedresearch project entitled Challenges and Needs of Agricultural Knowledge Transfer in Slovenia. This article is limited to the understandings of the functioning of knowledge transfer among the knowledge providers from the faculties and secondary schools. The results show that irrespective of the primary mission of educational institutions, i.e. the transfer of knowledge into practice, the institutions reveal two cases at either end of the spectrum: a self-contained faculty educational system and the open consortium of agricultural secondary schools. While the faculties have adopted the working strategy ‘The more efficient you are as a researcher, the less concerned you are with the transfer of knowledge to practice,’ the secondary schools for agriculture have cooperated on joint projects that have accelerated and improved knowledge transfer to the “real environment”.