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Outreach of the unseen majority
Reuver, M.; Bayliss-Brown, G.; Calis, T.; Cardillo, P.; Ni Cheallachain, C.; Dornan, N. (2016). Outreach of the unseen majority, in: Stal, L.J. et al. (Ed.) The marine microbiome. An untapped source of biodiversity and biotechnological potential. pp. 473-498.
In: Stal, L.J.; Cretoiu, M.S. (Ed.) (2016). The marine microbiome. An untapped source of biodiversity and biotechnological potential. Springer International Publishing: Switzerland. ISBN 978-3-319-32998-7. XIV, 498 pp., more

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  • Reuver, M.
  • Bayliss-Brown, G.
  • Calis, T.
  • Cardillo, P.
  • Ni Cheallachain, C.
  • Dornan, N.

    Traditionally, scientists communicate results from their research projects by writing scientific articles published by scientific journals and nowadays this is still the preferred way for the majority of scientists to communicate their results. However, scientific interaction outside the traditional peer-reviewed journal space is becoming more important to academic communication in recent years, due to a number of important motives. Research projects have the potential to have great environmental, social, and economic benefits; but, in practice, only well communicated research tends to have an effect on policy, industry, or society in general. Within the marine domain, communicating research results is particularly important. It has been identified that the inability to transfer research results into goods and services is affecting knowledge intensive sectors, such as the marine sector. The need for a more focused knowledge transfer (KT) approach came from the understanding that potential benefits can only be realized when research results are actually accepted, adopted, and exploited by its relevant end users. As the concept of KT becomes popularized; its practice more widespread; and its impact noted, the importance of clarifying the definitions of terminology associated with outreach activity becomes increasingly important. Two main current developments in marine outreach are Ocean Literacy (OL) and KT. Increasing OL is a highly effective and promising means by which to change people’s behavior towards our seas and ocean in a positive and constructive way. KT is increasingly recognized as a necessity, and a trend is forming where it is becoming a condition of funding for researchers to demonstrate the wider relevance of their research, and communicate beyond traditional academic publications. Well-considered KT is one of the most cost-effective methods for gaining a measurable return on research investment. It will also ensure that innovation and ideas are used for the creation of new products and services; improvements to the environment and society; and, changes in policy. When performing outreach, dissemination, and KT activities, one needs to be conscious of the fact that it is not always feasible, or indeed prudent, to openly and freely share the products of knowledge creation. IP generators need to carefully consider whether or not they might want to protect their creation before sharing it, as disclosure in any format can adversely affect any subsequent Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and can render the IP not patentable. Unfortunately, there are still a plethora of barriers, and even disincentives, stalling the transfer of research and science outreach. Barriers to KT are identified along the entire length of the research life cycle and include communication challenges. In Europe, policy demands that publicly funded research contributes more directly to society, the economy and the environment; hence, incentivizing the focus on communication. Outreach and KT have the potential and task to inspire critical thinking, inform public policy, foster a faster knowledge exchange, and prevent duplication of research efforts. Improving outreach and KT is an important challenge for the successful development of marine biotechnology in Europe.

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