Eric Welch

Sharing genetic resources for non-plant research: actors, paths, and consequences

Eric Welch and Eun Jun Shin
Science, Technology and Environment Policy Lab, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago, 412 S. Peoria St. CUPPA Hall, Room 360, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Day 1 15:50-16:40

Acknowledging the significance of the Nagoya Protocol (NP) adopted in the meeting of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010, several scholars have already expressed concerns that the NP might have hindered academic research by limiting the scope of genetic resources sharing for the research (Jinnah and Jungcurt 2009). Despite these concerns, little efforts have been made in order to assess the potential impact of the NP. As an exploratory study to assess the impact of the NP, this paper investigates the current practices in the research community that exchange and use genetic resources. Using a national survey of researchers regarding eight non-plant species including livestock, microbes, aquatics, and insects in the United States, this paper presents (1) who are the main actors sharing genetic resources, (2) what paths exist for the exchange, and (3) what consequences are expected to occur. Results show that a small amount of researchers are actively involved in exchange of substantial quantities of genetic resources, while most researchers are only somewhat involved in the exchange. Informal paths are significant channels in addition to formal channels, while exchange is accompanied by a high level of expected reciprocity. The paper also presents detailed mechanisms through which researchers exchange materials. Conclusions discuss the implications of the findings for the implementation of the NP and reflect on possible directions for future research.


Eric Welch

Eric W. Welch is an Associate Professor and director of the Science, Technology and Environment Policy Lab in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on environmental policy, science and technology policy, technology processes in public organizations, and R&D performance evaluation. Prof. Welch teaches courses in innovation and technology theory, decision analysis, organization theory and environmental policy in both the masters of public administration and Ph.D. programs. His research has been published in such journals as Policy Sciences, Journal of Public Policy and Management, Research Policy, and Science and Public Policy.