Communicating Across Borders: APECS Oceania Workshop
APECS Oceania hosted a two hour workshop for early career researchers in Hobart on 4 July 2017, just prior to the 2017 SCAR Humanities and Social Sciences Depths and Surfaces Conference. Almost 40 early career researchers from all over the world took part in the event, with one third identifying themselves as scientists, one third identifying as social scientists, and one third as humanities scholars. All were united by their interest in communication, and in making connections with others outside their usual sphere.
In today’s research climate, communication is an important skill. Researchers need to be able to not only communicate with colleagues in the same area, but with those from very different backgrounds, and the wider public. A panel session in the first hour addressed the challenges associated with “communicating across borders” and noted that such borders may be disciplinary, geographic, or between areas such as science and policy. Panelists came from a range of backgrounds, and were very responsive to questions from the audience. The panel consisted of:
- Dr Renuka Badhe (Executive Secretary – European Polar Board)
- Mr Elias Barticevic (Chilean Antarctic Institute – INACH)
- Dr Adrian Howkins (Environmental Historian – Colorado State University)
- Dr Mel Fitzpatrick (Climate Scientist – E & O – Science Communication)
- Dr Meredith Nash (Homeward Bound programme – UTAS)
APECS Panel Mentors with COMNAP flag. Thanks to COMNAP for sponsoring catering at this event.
The second half of the workshop involved breaking out into three groups to workshop themes that had been flagged as of interest when participants registered. Dr Daniela Liggett, Dr Cornelia Lüdecke and Dr Elizabeth Leane led discussions on “Fostering Interdisciplinary Projects,” discussing their own experiences and then helping workshop participants identify common ground, and providing strategies for planning a collaboration.
When it came to “Fellowships and Opportunities,” mentors provided advice on writing grant applications, from the perspectives of both successful applicants (Dr Rowan Trebilco and Dr Ursula Rack) and those who regularly review such applications (Dr Alan Hemmings and Dr Renuka Badhe). The guidelines for the COMNAP and SCAR Fellowships provided a useful guide, opening the floor for discussions about how to plan for such an application, and ensure it meets the criteria. As one workshop participant put it:
“I really enjoyed having three ”experts” explaining the process of applying for funding. Personally, I have no experience in applying for such grants so it was great to have an examiner detailing what was expected that wasn’t necessarily expressed in the instructions. The experts seemed genuinely keen to help us and the atmosphere, as well as the small size of the group, made it easy to participate. Despite being general, I still got concrete tips that I will for sure use the day I apply for a grant!”
Finally, those interested in “Science Communication” were in for a treat, thanks to the expert tutelage of Dr Mel Fitzpatrick and Stephen Curtain. The small group atmosphere lent itself well to in depth discussions, and left all participants with many elements to consider the next time they explain their research to others.
We thank the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) for their support in providing catering for the event, the mentors for their time, and all those who took part.
This event was organised by Hanne Nielsen, Gabriela Roldan, and Helene Aflenzer, along with Sumi Jayaseelan, Cyril Jaksic, and Ephaphrus Mamabolo
APECS Panel in full force, chaired by Gabriela Roldan
Break out session on fostering interdisciplinary research
Break out session with tips on writing grant applications