Modern agrobiotechnology is developing at a crucial phase in the history of agricultural science. The conventional green revolution paradigm is being forced to shift to a more ecologically just and politically sound paradigm of sustainable agriculture. Within agricultural innovation systems, the decisions in agrobiotechnology, be they on research directions, allocations or release of research products, will now depend on a judicious mix of public opinion, regulatory and political safeguards, new partnerships and organizational formats, social contracts and scientific judgements. This entails changes both in the expectations from science and in the existing policy processes and instruments. Agricultural biotechnology is now marked by new research and development partnerships demanding new capabilities in the social sciences to analyse relationships between science, technology and society.