2019 Away Day: Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Issued: Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:09:00 BST
As the Kelvin Hall was preparing to welcome Scotland to view the 66 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex Trix, the Institute gathered on April 16th for this year’s away day. We think that about 150 people attended, although we are not sure! Certainly the main lecture room was packed. The planning group had set up a rather full day, which by some miracle kept to schedule until almost the end of the afternoon.
We had updates from; our director Dan Haydon; from Simon Babayan on Athena SWAN & the forthcoming application for the Gold Award; from Roman Biek & Matt Mahon on open access publishing for the REF; on the Naturally Speaking podcast; and on the facilities & opportunities on Cochno Farm.
One change this year was that we scheduled rather longer mini-talks to give a flavour of the breadth and depth of research going on across the Institute. We heard from 14 people who made presentations, covering ideas such as prioritising interventions on schistosomiasis, the problems of over-fishing in marine protected areas in Scotland, developing research databases, and explaining disease incidence in donkeys.
Our external guest, Professor Abigail Woods from Kings College London, gave a fascinating talk on insights from a historical perspective on explaining farmers’ responses to vaccination campaigns, and how society responds to endemic diseases. The main message was nothing is as new as you think it is, and that one can get great insight into present problems by looking back and learning from history.
Other highlights of the day were the discussions of break-out groups who were brainstorming different aspects of the working environment at the Institute while practising their ability to listen to each other and to make collective decisions. The groups started by reflecting on the positives and identified collegiality, friendliness, interdisciplinarity, inclusiveness, equality & diversity as key strengths of the Institute. They then moved onto thinking about aspects that could be improved and developed innovative ideas to resolve these challenges. These ideas will be taken forward to the Institute Management Group to find ways of implementing as many of the solutions as it is feasible.
Once again we are reminded of the exceptional research within our institute and our remarkable colleagues driving it forward.