Adrian Percy

Why Public Private Partnerships
Benefit Us All

Industry and academic collaborations are often instrumental in putting new inventions and technologies into the hands of those who need and use them. For centuries, mankind has benefited from such partnerships that yield products that make our lives better and easier. From vaccines that eradicate diseases like polio to new therapies to treat advanced kidney cancer, academia and industry have worked together to bring forward transformational innovations to improve and preserve life.

Bayer has placed enormous importance on the strong relationships that it has forged with universities and institutions around the world and many of our current innovations for crops, such as cotton and canola, come from recent or ongoing research collaborations. In fact, our entire research effort as a company began with the hiring of a young chemist, Carl Duisberg, in 1883, who was immediately dispatched to do his company research at the University of Strasbourg. The benefits of such relationships are felt by both ourselves and the academics we work with and also by customers and consumers who enjoy the value of the resulting products.

I believe the importance of these collaborations will continue to grow. We are living in a golden era of advances in science and technology. One only has to consider the clear potential of new technologies that are emerging from academia, such as gene editing, to make improvements in crop productivity and quality. Enabled by digitalization, many technological areas are currently colliding, which will allow the development of completely new types of applications and solutions. For example, we’re very close to a point in time when a farmer can use satellite imagery, drones and remote sensor technology to predict disease development in his/her fields and then remotely deploy a self-driving tractor to apply a very precise fungicide application, preventing damage to the crop and subsequent loss of yield. This type of approach would have been regarded as science fiction only a few years ago.

Adrian Percy
Adrian Percy
Adrian Percy
is the Global Head of Research and Development for Crop Science, a Division of Bayer.

These types of advances in agriculture technology are essential at a time when the world’s population is expected to increase rapidly by over 2 billion by 2050 to nearly 9.6 billion. Plus, there is a clear need to both increase and improve food production in a sustainable manner if we are to ensure the availability of healthy and nutritious food for all.

To meet this grand challenge, we need effective collaboration both across industries and with universities and research institutions as it is clear no one entity can do this important work on its own in this fast-paced and complex environment. The ability of academia to pave the way for critical scientific breakthroughs and the capabilities of small, medium and large companies to deliver impactful products to end users will be the winning combination that we need.

Industry, therefore, sees academic research, both basic and applied, as an essential component of new technology development. Often key inventions start in a university and then may incubate in a start-up prior to being taken to market by the young company or through a partnership with a larger industry player.

Adrian Percy at the Rothamsted Open Innovation Forum (ROIF)
Adrian Percy at the Rothamsted Open Innovation Forum (ROIF)

I saw this innovation ‘ecosystem’ in action last week when I attended an open innovation forum at the world-renowned agricultural research facility of Rothamsted Research in the UK. Academics, start-ups, agribusiness and venture capital investors were all mixed together to swap ideas on new business ideas, products and services. The atmosphere was electric and reflective of similar efforts that we are seeing going on in all corners of the planet. There was even political support from a minister in the UK government who sees the importance of such efforts to not only ensure food security but also to stimulate job creation and strengthen the economy.

We recognize that innovation isn’t just one person in a lab creating a solution for one particular challenge. Open innovation, partnerships, peer reviews and collaborations are just some of the ways new innovations will come to our fast-paced world. Bayer is passionate about innovating. If you want to learn more learn more about our efforts and opportunities, visit us here:

Follow @Bayer4Crops on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest Crop Science news, and follow @AdrianPercy to follow along as he #AgVocates for modern agriculture.

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Future Men
February 01, 2017 - 12:15 PM

Excellent write-up and thanks for sharing.

Future Men

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