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IP Learning Curve: On the Job or Graduate Curricula?

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Speaker Bio:

Dr. Russell Jessup is an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, where he leads the Perennial Grass Breeding program. His research focuses on conventional, cytogenetic, and genomic strategies towards development of improved perennial grasses as biorefinery platforms for biofuels, turfgrasses, forage, ornamentals, phytoremediators and renewable bio-based products. This includes developing molecular tools to assist marker-assisted breeding programs for value-added traits such as: net primary productivity, carbon sequestration, perenniality, photoperiodism, hybrid sterility, and apomixis. Feedstocks are further selected for resource use efficiency, stress tolerance, and novel seeded-yet-sterile hybrid systems. In addition to his research, he currently teaches Recreational Turf and Intellectual Property in Plant Sciences.


National and global economies increasingly rely on intellectual property (IP), with virtually every industry either producing or using it. Plant science sectors contribute significantly among IP-intensive industries, which account for more than 18% of employment, 34% of gross domestic product (GDP), and 60% of exports within the U.S. economy. The same oligopoly of multi-national corporations that control 75% of the global agrochemical market, 63% of the commercial seed market, and more than 75% of private sector agricultural research rely extensively on leveraging current and continually expanding IP portfolios. The majority of career positions for plant breeders, agronomists, and related plant science disciplines are also held by these corporations; however, training opportunities at the graduate level in IP are sparse. Whether these industries prefer future scientists to be trained before being hired, or rather while on the job, is largely debatable. Existing graduate curricula options in IP will be presented.

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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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