Agricultural research, education and extension are often organized in separate institutions in less developed countries. Many developed countries also have institutionally separated systems, but have evolved mechanisms to effect coordination among these integrally related fields. Development projects in less developed countries have, in many cases, assumed that it is possible to base projects on an institutionally integrated model such as the US land grant college system wherein teaching, research and extension functions are integrated. Experience indicates that this approach is costly and unlikely to succeed in the long term. Each country has its own organizational needs which should be considered in the design of assistance projects related to agricultural knowledge systems.