Discussion: "Creating a culture of collaboration in universities"

According to David Ferrucci from IBM, "scientists, by their nature, can be solitary creatures conditioned to work and publish independently to build their reputations [and] while collaboration drives just about all scientific research, the idea of 'publishing or perishing' under one's own name is alive and well". 
This situation can be attributed partly to discipline-based UK research regulations, so that academics interested in inter-discipinary research have a number of challenges to overcome. There has been a recent enlightening discussion by academics from different UK universities on practical ways to encourage interdisciplinary research here.

In related news:

"...many politicians are so ecologically illiterate they would think that a food chain is a line of supermarkets," Myers Kent said in a 2008 press release discussing the absence of effective institutional settings that encourage public participation for sustainable development. Thus while academics advocate for inter-disciplinary research to improve information transfer across research fields, other organizations are very much interested in improving information exchange between policymakers, the public and scientists, especially since the latter group are often regarded as being too technical.

Indeed, technical jargon can easily tire even well-meaning citizens, so what if the public can be better enlightened using art, as Professor Stephen Bottoms suggests? He however cautions that care must be taken to prevent presenting information in a manner that unwittingly dis-empowers the public... something apocalyptic films like 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow have in common. (This light-hearted post ponders on possible ways to implement this concept).

With regard to the science-policy communication barrier, Dr. Esther Turnhout considers "usable knowledge" (i.e., relevant, high-quality, as well as multi-disciplinary knowledge) termed as "boundary objects" to improve interaction amongst both parties. Much more on this in her paper here.


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