… Research is as good as nothing if it is just sitting on the shelves…
–Jim Cano, the YPARD Philippines representative during the 3rd Global Conference on Agricultural and Research Development on April 6, 2016.
As a young professional working towards an MSc in Agriculture, I have always asked myself the question if my work will really have an impact on society or if my research will be amongst the many others that end up on the shelves.
When Jim Cano highlighted during his presentation at GCARD3 how useless a research that’s done and not shared is, the question that struck my mind as a young researcher was: For whom am I really doing the research? What happens after I submit my research report?
It is sad that a lot of research carried out by young professionals ends up on library shelves and the results are never translated to society. The outcomes are not shared with those who need them. But is this what we are really called for? Perhaps the studies that we conduct are irrelevant to what society needs, indicating a mismatch between demand and supply. And if that is the case, then whose fault is it? Could it be that young professionals are too focused on getting their degree certificates? Or that there just isn’t a link between the academic programs in higher learning institutions and reality?
The GCARD3 was divided into 5 interdependent themes. One of which is focused on how we can keep science relevant and future-focused. The above are some of the questions that can be addressed during the sessions on this theme.
In one way or another however, efforts have to be put in place to ensure that young professionals are also recognised as making a difference.
One way this can be done is by starting from the ground: identifying the needs of society and then tailoring research around them. It shouldn’t only end there, there have to be strategies put in place during the research planning process on how the output will be transferred to the intended users. A research report should only be considered complete after the output–being it recommendations or policies–has been conveyed to the intended users.
Both young and senior professionals need to change their mindsets, it’s not only about the number of publications nor is it about acquiring a degree certificate, but about helping the farmers, making an impact on the food systems and thereby creating a better tomorrow.
Blogpost by Takalani Nevondo, #GCARD3 Social Reporter – NevondoT(at)arc.agric.za
Photo credit: Alexandre Duret-Lutz
This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Global Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, 5-8 April 2016. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.