IAS Hosts Research Communication Workshop

 

The Institute of Applied Sciences in collaboration with the Periodic Table of the Food Initiative (PTFI) project hosted a Research Communication Workshop from 25 – 26 June, 2024 at the USP Lower Campus, Laucala Bay, Suva for Project Fellows and Post Graduate students.

The workshop was held to assist students develop their abilities to communicate their research effectively to a wide audience; to familiarise themselves with academic writing and publication; and to present their research to the greater scientific community as well as communities and stakeholders which can benefit from their work.

The workshop presenters included researcher mentors with experience in Oceania and globally, who have published widely in peer-reviewed and high-impact factor journal articles. The Workshop Key Facilitator was Dr Clare Morrison of Griffith University, Australia, a conservation biologist with a strong focus on terrestrial ecology and conservation. She spoke on the importance of communicating research findings to influence policies that benefit the community and the environment.

The first day of the workshop focused on the Food EDU Fellows.  PTFI Project Manager and IAS Manager Laboratory Services Dr Vincent Lal said, “The Project is focused on providing Food EDU Fellows with resources and training in other PTFI Centres of Excellence to assist in their research.”

Speakers included Professor Kevin Cody, Senior Program Manager at Food EDU who presented on PTFI and the Food Global EDU.  Dr Clare Morrison shared her knowledge on community and stakeholder engagement and access and benefit sharing issues in Oceania. South Pacific Regional Herbarium Mr Marika Tuiwawa shared on underutilised foods and edible biodiversity in the Pacific region.

The second day of the workshop was open to other USP Post Graduate students from a variety of USP disciplines and this focused more on communicating of scientific findings.  Speakers included Dr Gilianne Brodie, Adjunct Associate Professor USP PACE-SD and Fiji National University who highlighted the “Research Productivity and Barriers to Women’s Leadership in STEM at Pacific Island Universities”.

Dr Desta Gedefaw, a Senior Lecturer, discussed Academic writing and publication with examples from published journal articles.  Ms Nunia Thomas, Director of Nature Fiji, MareqetiViti spoke on using Traditional Knowledge in Conservation.  Ms Kara Rabo and Mereoni Degei discussed the Importance of Quality Control and Quality Assurance in Research and Communication.

Post Graduate Student Ms Grace Ratudradra found the workshop extremely useful, “The sessions comprised of informative presentations that will help me in my academic and professional career,” she said.

“The experts sharing real life experiences, giving ideas, suggestions and knowledge was what I enjoyed about the workshop”, said Post Graduate student, Ms Swastika Nand.  Other feedback obtained from the students overwhelmingly support the idea of offering more similar workshops at USP.

Dr Isoa Korovulavula, Acting Director IAS stated that it was encouraging to witness the student’s keenness in learning more on communicating their research findings, “The Institute of Applied Sciences will continue to support capacity building for researchers in the region and how best their research findings can influence and improve national and regional policies on conservation and sustainable living.”

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