School of Natural and Environmental Sciences


Science in the Field: Understanding the Changing Role of Expertise in the Rural Economy

‘Science in the Field’ explored the working practices and expertise of three different groups of field-level advisors (farm animal vets, applied ecologists and land agents/surveyors). The research involved in-depth interviews with professional/ accreditation bodies, advisors and farmers as well as direct observation (work shadowing) of field level advisors. The project reflected upon the current and potential role of advisors as knowledge brokers between research and land management practice, with a focus on how their knowledge and expertise are constructed and disseminated.

The findings provide a number of new insights into the nature of field-level expertise and the workings of the contemporary advisory landscape including the role of field advisors as knowledge intermediaries; the significance of field-generated expertise; the ecology of expertise apparent in the advisory landscape and the relationship between field professions and the state.