The Project starts with the definition and launching of a methodological proposal in order to overcome the strategic research gaps in the management of diseases in national aquaculture, specifically for Septicemia Rickettsial Samonidea (SRS) and Caligidosis, and in order to systemize the previous experiments concerning the elimination of these gaps.
Lines of action and their impact on the economic losses that are expected to diminish.
Definition of the strategic knowledge gaps for the main sanitary issues in the national salmon industry:
The gaps are to be considered as lacunas regarding scientific, strategic, technological and managerial information, related to the company and government’s needs, focused on the pursuit of a sustainable prevention and control system for infectious diseases in the salmon industry, with a timeframe ending in 2025.
The final goal is to achieve a state of controlled infectious disease outbreaks with only medium or low risks for the future of the industry. (How is risk defined? What is the projected definition for the future of the industry in 2025? Medium or low risk? Is it defined in terms of probability or is it simply qualitative?)
- To reach a determined level of scientific knowledge for different sub-disciplines.
- To develop models for the management of this knowledge.
- To develop a regulatory framework.
- To develop productive systems in accordance with the limits that the system itself establishes.
From this perspective, a strategic knowledge gap is understood in the following manner:
Where S = Sustainability for the year 2025 (desired and projected state for 2025)
CEf= Desired strategic knowledge
CEi= Initial strategic knowledge
Methodologically speaking, the identified strategic knowledge gaps are associated with research questions, which are then transformed into working hypotheses. In the first phase of the project, the gaps, questions and hypotheses are associated with SRS and Caligidosis. The process of defining the gaps is by definition collaborative, aiming towards a consensus of opinions coming from different research groups and from different disciplines. In this sense the project is a multidisciplinary work platform.
The project is a public-collaborative work platform:
Public-collaborative research is defined as a process in which multiple individuals or social groups work together in order to resolve a problem that affects them all, based on the principles of confidence, mutual support, constructive leadership, continuous learning and transparency, allowing for the combination of multiple perspectives for resolving complex problems.
These types of projects are financed and coordinated by government agencies along with other stakeholders as integral parts of the process.
In the case of the PGSA, it is a public-private project funded by the FIE of the Ministry of Economy and Intesal of Salmon Chile (the Trade Association of Salmon Producers), in which diverse national and international research groups are invited to participate and generate the strategic knowledge described during the “identification and definition of knowledge gaps” phase.
The results of the present project seek to support the decision-making processes, incorporating stakeholders and other interested groups into the knowledge building process.
Public-private and collaborative work model
The main question is how to design and develop a public collaborative research process for establishing strategic research questions for the prevention and control of infectious diseases in salmon farming, taking into consideration both the biological and socio-ecological complexity of the research subject and integrating the different groups and stakeholders interested in the process.
Outbreaks of infectious diseases are the main threat for achieving a sustainable salmon industry, where SRS and Caligidosis are the two most relevant diseases. The wide variety of information and technology available, in diverse areas such as productive systems, regulations and policies or pharmacology and genetics, must be integrated and analyzed from the point of view of an adequate information management system, which would allow for the development of strategic and collaborative research for identifying information gaps and lacunas.
The most relevant aspect, from a methodological point of view of this project, is to focus on the so-called “knowledge management”.
This is the level on which the collaborative research is carried out, inasmuch as the various stakeholders are indeed integrated into the structured decision making process.
The Center for the prevention and control of aquatic diseases is the central nucleus for knowledge management. This center’s board is composed of representatives of various stakeholders.
The main lines of action are to develop policies and regulations for the national salmon farming industry; to establish mechanisms for the allocation of resources for research (and in certain cases where large gaps are present, the center could lead a research procedure); to adequately manage information, which refers to the identification of gaps, among other things; and to bring together the diverse stakeholders for the development of policies and strategies.
In this sense, it is important that all of the stakeholders that could potentially take part in a research center of this kind are summoned to participate from the very start.
Definition of a plan of action for the development of strategic and collaborative research processes for the prevention and control of infectious diseases in salmon farming.
Establishing an interactive research process based on three levels of interaction: interviews, workshops and on-line questionnaires, emphasizing the need to create spaces for dialogue and for the exchange of knowledge between research groups and stakeholders. The preliminary categories are: industry, government and academia. The process involves 4 steps, each including a determined set of activities.
Step 1. Identifying stakeholders
The process involving the identification and characterization of relevant stakeholders is key for the subsequent consolidation of work networks. The stakeholder characterization process entails an analysis allowing to group together different stakeholders and associating them in an organized and systematic manner for the various activities.
Step 2. Defining gaps
Various protocols and techniques based on the evaluation of environmental and biosafety risks by a panel of experts will be developed for this goal.
Step 3. SRS pilot
It has been established that the gaps related to the disease Piscirickettsiosis (SRS) will be prioritized and a pilot program for this disease will be carried out.
Step 4. Designing a technical-administrative management model
An adequate management model will help articulate the needs of advanced human capital and help transfer technology and information to and from the industry. Developing a conceptual management model that articulates the technical, administrative and informational dimensions is essential. In this aspect, it is important to establish working networks with successful international experiments. Two main strategies have been established in order to achieve this: 1) the realization of an international seminar on public-private management models for research and aquatic disease management. 2) Visiting a successful international experiment with a selected group of relevant stakeholders both from the industry and the public sector.
Definition of research lines
In order to define the research lines, the following research questions originally suggested in the preliminary study carried out by the P. Universidad Católica (Mardones et al., 2017) were taken into consideration.