Diversity in science matters to breakthroughs. When more scientists with varied backgrounds and experiences fill laboratories and collaborate on teams, outcomes in innovation and discovery surpass those of less diverse scientific groups, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)….
Falk College to Host Community-based Research Collaboration Meeting March 24
Last October, a newly organized group of research-focused faculty, graduate students, administrators and staff from multiple schools, colleges and other units met to explore shared interests and possible collaborative opportunities. As the group’s future efforts take shape, it welcomes new members from the campus community at its next meeting on March 24, 1 p.m. at the Falk Complex, 411 MacNaughton Hall.
“We’ve created a group where people involved in community-based research can develop ideas, problem solve and connect resources. This exchange allows us to share our most valuable resource—our experience,” says Amy Dumas, grants development specialist in the Falk College Research Center who facilitates the group’s meetings and list serv. Dumas has been working closely with Peter Vanable, associate provost for graduate studies and dean of the graduate school and interim vice president for research, and Tracy Cromp, director of the Office of Research Integrity and Protections, to organize these efforts.
Dumas envisioned a working group such as this one while she was in a previous role as a project manager on Falk College’s Syracuse Lead Study (SLS) led by Falk Family Endowed Professor of Public Health Brooks Gump. This ongoing National Institutes of Health-funded project recruits school-aged children from specific zip codes to investigate lead exposure’s impact on cardiovascular health.
Knowing firsthand how difficult it can be to identify and retain human subjects, Dumas often referred SLS participants to other studies. It got her thinking that if there was a coordinated effort for campus members to get connected—and stay connected—it could be beneficial on many levels. After discussing the idea with Professor Gump, Dean Diane Lyden Murphy and Deborah Monahan, Falk associate dean of research, everyone agreed a campuswide interest meeting was a logical next step.
Current members of the collaborative group are in full agreement about the many benefits it can accomplish. “Having an outlet to seek expertise and input from researchers in other disciplines helps facilitate more effective and efficient implementation of research. This support not only helps us do better research, it also helps us broaden our research by promoting interdisciplinary collaborations that would not have happened otherwise,” says Emily Ansell, associate professor of psychology and director, SUPer Lab, in the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Psychology.
To date, the 40-member group has explored shared areas of need including the recruitment of specific populations, sharing local organizations contacts, connecting with fellow researchers, gaining insight into the use of social media and developing partnerships to navigate Environmental Health and Safety protocols. Other expressed needs on the group’s agenda include identifying potential community-based sites for conducting research, developing a participant database to be shared among campus researchers and choosing a name for this newly formed collaboration.
Says Vanable, “I’m delighted that this group has taken off. Research involving community-based recruitment can benefit tremendously from the collective wisdom of faculty, staff and graduate students from across multiple units. The group provides a great opportunity for collaboration and support for both funded and unfunded research initiatives.”
For more information, contact Amy Dumas at email@example.com.