Under the heading of ‘it’s never too late’, we’d like to start with wishing you a great 2016! Personally, we hope this year will lead to further integration of social impact in the academic world. We are working on numerous exciting projects that we hope to reveal within a few weeks. Our last blog described how valorization can be quite time consuming. In this blog we’d like to focus on a very positive aspect of valorization, the satisfaction it gives.
Not everyone has had that enlightening feeling of someone outside of the ivory tower that’s really hungry for your insights. And that influences the attractiveness of valorization, since most universities won’t offer you a chair to become a professor based on your valorization activities. In the past years, IDfuse organized workshops for half of the Dutch universities, NWO programs and Climate KIC researchers. In our time we’ve never seen a scientists that was not enjoying their work outside of academia. For some, it is even a key driver to keep fanatically at their academic work.
That’s right, it is satisfying to find out that there are people outside academy that value what you are doing.
For some researchers this is obvious. Everyone interested in the ‘free will’, will know Victor Lamme, the researcher that wrote a book on the free will and co-founded a neuromarketing company. When you ask him about the reason for writing this book or co-funding his company, his answer will probably be ‘because it’s fun!’. Based on his personal website, we can only assume that working both as a professor and an entrepreneur is still satisfying, challenging and fun.
But he is not the only one! Researchers from all disciplines feel the satisfaction of helping others with their knowledge. In 2014, Yolanda Wiersma published an article in Scholarly and Research Communication, about interdisciplinary research. She explains that working with different disciplines, and working with parties outside academia is rewarding and will insightful. That’s also what we see in our work, in almost every discipline we worked with. From historical literature to econometrics to Greek classical research. In the interaction with parties outside of academia, researchers often find museums, policy makers, interest groups or companies that value the topic of the research. And their questions often inspire the next big research question.
We believe that every researcher can find people that are interested in their topic. But the only way to find out your knowledge is valued, is by talking to these people. While this may seem scary or ‘unscientific’, we believe that it is an essential pursuit. Therefore we would like to call on every researcher in this fresh start of a new year. Call it your ‘new year’s resolution’, if you want. Talk to people outside of academia, and find those with a genuine passion for your topic. Wouldn’t it be nice if every researcher could really engage with society regarding his or her research? And if you’re doing it right, your work will inspire the rest of the world, just like the scientists in the video below, too!
And then in 2017, to let us know how satisfactory it was to find out that people care!