The Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science says there are many ways of measuring the performance of state-owned research institutes.
It's urging the Government to focus on these rather than just financial performance.
The Government's established a taskforce which is looking at ways of improving the profitability of the state's investment in Crown Research Institutes.
But institute president Jon Hickford says the current requirements for CRIs to provide a nine percent return on equity has shifted the focus away from long-term investment and public-good functions.
Professor Hickford says the Government should be looking at establishing new performance measurements, as discussed in the CRI Act.