Sunday, February 27, 2011

Translating research

Many of you have probably seen the comic "The Science News Cycle" from phd comics.

I like this comic because it pokes fun at a common frustration voiced by scientists (perhaps more so in high profile medical research than ecology but still...). However I also appreciate this comic because it reminds me that knowledge transfer is not solely the responsibility of the media. Yes, that is their job and there are some stellar journalists out there. But we have to remember that journalists, like scientists are also limited by time resources, money and external/internal pressures. Though in their case that may be the public rather than an University department or funding agency. What this means is that that scientists also have the responsibility to get relevant information from their research out to those who need and can put it to use. I think this is as important as the research itself.

I thought it would be fun to recreate the above comic with insertions from my own research (i.e. this is what could happen with my research...well ok, only if it was high profile enough to get picked up by the U of G's PR department):

No matter what type of research you are doing. Think about where it is going and who could use it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sustainability at the University of Guelph

Students arguably shape attitude and policy on university campuses, and rightly so. Universities have much to offer students: an open learning environment, mentors a plenty and a world of resources. Universities also offer a platform where students can organize themselves around interests and issues. Sometimes these issues involve the University itself. Sustainability and climate change are two such issues.

In late January, the University of Guelph's President's Task Force on Sustainability released an interim report on the state of sustainability issues and views on campus. As a response to this report as well as coverage by the local press, here is a letter myself and a few friends wrote to the Guelph Mercury.

Needless to say, I feel that the U of G has a long ways to go in terms of facing climate change issues and reducing negative impacts. The good news is I firmly feel that the University has the resources and motivated individuals to do so, but we can't be complacent. Just thinking about this is not enough, we need to move forward with actions.