In conjunction with SEFARI, the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes – a consortium of six globally renowned research institutes, Agri-EPI held a virtual communication workshop aimed at enhancing the communication and knowledge exchange skills of researchers working at BioSense Institute in Serbia.
The workshop centred around two specific areas: sharing best practices in knowledge exchange and learning through case studies. 25 BioSense researchers listened to two communication experts address the importance of communication and knowledge exchange for the research community:
Keynote speaker was Dr Michelle Wilson Chalmers, Research and Communications Manager at SEFARI Gateway (SEFARI’s knowledge exchange and impact hub) and a Teaching Fellow at Edinburgh University. Michelle enlightened participants with valuable insights and practical recommendations derived from her considerable experience in the field of science communication and knowledge exchange.
Dr Michelle Wilson Chalmers said about the workshop:
“This particularly challenging year has brought the need for good science communication and knowledge exchange even more into focus, and it has been a real pleasure to help the BioSense students with practical advice on how to effectively communicate their research.”
SEFARI are partners in the wider Scottish Government funded Strategic Research Portfolio, one of the largest for agri-environment research in the UK, worth £250 million over 2016-2021, and represents a globally distinct investment in and capability for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. SEFARI Gateway works to improve the flow of research, knowledge, and expertise to and from policy, industry and the public – to provide multiple benefits and impacts.
During the workshop Michelle was joined by Jane Smernicki, Agri-EPI’s Communications and Policy Manager who, with a background in journalism and communications, has spent the past decade working in communications with organisations supporting sustainable farming and food production.
The value and recognition of science research communication is increasing, pressured by funders that are asking for maximum impact. During the workshop, tools were presented that will help facilitate and enable the conversation between researchers and different audiences. These tools were focused on media, industry partners and policy makers especially.
DRAGON project manager Ivana Gadjanski was pleased with the workshop:
“It was very valuable for us on the DRAGON project to learn first-hand how to do knowledge exchange and scientific communication in an efficient way. We look forward to putting all new learnings into practice.”
Good communication, where information is shared effectively with audiences who can benefit from it, will have a significant impact on the reach of research outcomes. Knowledge exchange is an important, if not essential, research activity, but it is a relatively newly recognised academic discipline. Its value can still sometimes be overlooked.
The items covered in the webinar hopefully empowers the Serbian researchers to communicate with policy, businesses, and media with more confidence. Thereby increasing the reach and impact of their research and accelerating the adoption of agricultural technology in the republic of Serbia.
In a couple of weeks, during a follow-up communications workshop, the same researchers have been asked to present a brief plan for an appropriate knowledge exchange activity where they can put into practice what they have learned.
Uptake of precision agriculture in Serbia
This communications workshop is part of the DRAGON project, a collaboration between BioSense Institute, Wageningen University and Agri-EPI Centre that is focused on the innovation and uptake of precision agricultural technology in Serbia, which in part is about learning from best practices in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands.
This three-year project will end in 2021, but the DRAGON project consortium is already exploring spin-off projects to help Serbia with their challenges with regards to the adoption of agricultural technology to achieve sustainable sector innovations.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 810775. For more information about DRAGON, please visit www.datadragon.eu.