Published: 1st July 2021Back to News
Back in April, the landmark SMMR-Net launch event was held, during which a whopping 100 attendees joined to discuss the formation of a new, interdisciplinary
The workshop was brimming with energy. Despite the now-too-familiar limitations of virtual meetings, genuine connections were made, with disciplinary backgrounds mingling to discuss different approaches and mutual goals – some for the first time.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach is vital in addressing the complex natural, social, cultural, and economic challenges occurring in the marine sphere. There is a growing appetite from researchers and practitioners to cross previously impervious disciplinary boundaries and truly collaborate.
A snippet of the day’s discussions have been captured below. During these discussions, participants highlighted the need for a platform in which ideas could be shared, along with a user-generated news bulletin to ensure the community remains up-to-date with each other. Hence, the SMMR-Net forum has been launched, alongside the Community News page and newsletter. To contribute to forum discussions, users must register as members of the community.
A summary of April’s workshop discussions
What is needed to maximise networking?
- Avoid duplicating existing networks – instead add value and strengthen collaboration
- Include representation beyond academia – e.g policy, industry
- Members page; discussion boards; newsletters
What capacity building is needed?
- Transdisciplinary training to expose members to different disciplinary approaches and areas of interest, and help to communicate across different ‘languages’
- Member-led skills sharing events; a buddy system; secondments and shadowing
What specific training could be delivered?
- Training policy stakeholders in social science and the use of qualitative data
- Training researchers in working work with policy, writing policy briefs and providing evidence to inform policy
- Whole-system approaches; value-based communication
What specific events could be delivered?
- Informal, interactive workshops and seminars; writing retreats
- Diverse interest conferences, with short TED-style talks
- Creating safe spaces for discussion
What do policy stakeholders need of a network?
- Access to best available, impartial evidence, in an accessibly-written format
- Research that is grounded and able to address policy challenges
- Effective communication, relationships built on trust
What can a network provide for policy stakeholders?
- Objective, balanced, interdisciplinary evidence to inform complex policy questions
- Assimilation and analysis of multiple strands of evidence
- Horizon-scanning for emerging challenges and opportunities
What does industry need of a network?
- Easy access to the research community; opportunities to share knowledge
- Early engagement in projects relating to industry
- Expert knowledge on risk and mitigation to inform developments e.g. marine renewables
How can we achieve a step-change in policy-stakeholder interactions?
- Effective communication in both directions; co-designing research programmes
- Regular opportunities for relationship building, to develop mutual trust and understanding
- Training for both researchers and policy-makers
- Tailored funding mechanisms
The forum and news page are just the first step for SMMR-Net. A ‘Connect Area’ is soon to be launched, whereby users will be able to search for contacts and potential project partners in various fields. It is also hoped that community members will take matters into their own hands, using SMMR-Net as a ‘launch pad’ to form innovative partnerships.
Feel free to submit ideas and queries to firstname.lastname@example.org