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Ensuring the Voice of EU Research is Heard

Pictured (L to R): Rhonda Smith (Minerva Communications UK Ltd.); Rob Peters (European Commission); Dirk Carrez (Biobased Industries Consortium); Maeve Henchion and Gerry Boyle (Teagasc)

CommBeBiz Dublin conference gives European researchers the keys to demonstrate value, relevance and impact of their work

It’s an issue faced by all publicly-funded researchers: how best to demonstrate the benefit of their work, its value to society, and its relevant, long-term impact.

To support this aim, EC-funded project CommBeBiz – which supports bioeconomy researchers across Europe to speed up transfer of their knowledge to relevant stakeholders – launched the Bioeconomy Impact 2016 conference (Dublin, 11th-12th February 2016). This event provided opportunities for researchers to think critically about their work and consider how they can effectively utilise it to deliver greater impact.

Dr. Maeve Henchion, who leads Teagasc involvement in the CommBeBiz project, said: “This event highlighted that delivery of the bioeconomy will involve significant change management. The bioeconomy is different to what has gone before. It will require new ways of doing research, new ways of doing business, and new ways of creating policies in addition to the obvious change required in production, consumption, processing and recovering of biological feedstocks.”

The programme included expert keynote speakers and workshops designed to build and enhance the capacity and skill of researchers, particularly in identifying opportunities for creating impact and outreach. Activities such as a Networking Wall and a workshop on research impact statements gave attendees an all-round introduction to the skills they need to create impact with their research.

The winner of the CommBeBiz photographic competition was also announced, with the winner receiving a €500 voucher courtesy of Teagasc, the competition’s sponsor.

Rhonda Smith, Coordinator of CommBeBiz, said, “We were really happy with how well the conference was received. Our keynote speakers were fantastic, the workshops were informative and engaging, and we know attendees found the whole event useful in learning how best to communicate their research. Creating impact is a vital part of getting your voice heard and we want to make that happen for bioeconomy researchers all over Europe.”