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Public engagement - why bother?
What do practising research scientists get out of doing public engagement?
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David Goulson - BBSRC Social Innovator of the Year 2010

David Goulson - BBSRC Social Innovator of the Year 2010 | Public engagement - why bother? |

"Stirling University's Professor David Goulson was the winner of Social Innovator of the Year award. His innovation was increasing the impact of his academic work by founding of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.


Goulson says that the Bumblebee Conservation Trust came out of frustration that scientific research, even when published in the best journals, is very often only read by other scientists, not by people who might put this knowledge into practice. "You can publish experiments in high quality journals again and again but they are only read by a few dozen scientists who work in your field. It achieves little or nothing in the real world"


"I do think there's a general problem in the UK, and perhaps elsewhere, that there is no obvious mechanism for scientists to translate applied research to get it to policy makers and the general public and so on," he says, citing three extinctions from Britain's 25 bumblebee species as a reason for immediate action. "For bumblebees, we now understand enough about them to have a pretty good idea how to conserve them, but we need to get that knowledge put into practise."


That is where the Bumblebee Conservation Trust comes in. The formal aims of the trust are to conserve bumblebee populations, prevent species extinctions, and promote conservation of bees and wider biodiversity to the public. "Bumblebees pollinate crops which we need to eat. It's really easy to explain the importance of bumblebees to people with no interest in biodiversity or polar bears or pandas," says Goulson. "Without bees food would be more expensive, and there would be less of it and less variety. For economic reasons alone it's worth doing without all the other reasons.""


Thanks to Wendy Barnaby for highlighting this

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Community engagement

Augusta M Villanueva, PhD: 


"In 2009, my concern for young people, especially the vulnerable and at risk, led me to initiate conversations with local executive directors and program staff of agencies serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) youth. Over the course of approximately nine months, I attained a wealth of knowledge from these leaders and their staff relative to the plight of youth who seek their services, and who often are segmented from family and unable to take care of themselves. Our commitment to at-risk youth fostered the development of a consortium that collaboratively developed and submitted an R21 grant proposal"


From and more of the same here: ;


Thanks to @CCPH2010 for this

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