What is Innovation and how can researchers be innovative? – A discussion with the PROTECTA ESRs

PROTECTA is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the EU. After the recent PROTECTA training course examining innovation, we asked our ESRs for their thoughts on innovation, society and their research. Here’s what they had to say:

“Our doctoral education is crucial for the generation of knowledge and for the development of innovative solutions for the current problems society faces. Creativity, openness, and curiosity pave the path for the innovative thinking needed for generating not only original questions but also original answers.”
Murilo Sandroni, Swedish University of Life Sciences

”Innovation-driven business is the key factor for growth of world economies. Despite the fact that agriculture is a very conservative business, innovations are desperately needed. The present challenges such us climate change, and the Covid19 pandemic, highlight the need for a constant flow of innovations. ”
Andrei Kiselev LRSV, Toulouse.

I believe that policymakers and researchers play a significant role in promoting innovation and knowledge and in offering solutions to fulfil societal expectations and, simultaneously by making scientific knowledge more accessible to society.”
Noelia López-García, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

“An innovative person has certain character traits that are often desirable at work. Such a person should be inventive and creative, as well as be able to communicate, convey information and knowledge about ideas. I have come to the conclusion that you can be innovative in every environment, implementing your own ideas.”
Magdalena Scislak, University of Aberdeen.

“It is our role as researchers to promote new innovations and more effective ideas towards responsible research and development of environmental business strategies within each of our sectors for a sustainable future”
Dania Tabet, Tuscia University.

“I personally, as a young and early stage scientist, believe that thinking outside of the box not only can pave the way for me to obtain more success in science, but also can help me in my personal life.”
Maryam Hashemi, LRSV, Toulouse.

”As demonstrated by the recent COVID19 global crisis, our society is facing new challenges that require innovative solutions for emerging problems. Crop protection strategies have to evolve to satisfy food requirements maintaining the balance with the environment. Innovative research at the academic level should be performed in close collaboration with international companies to achieve those requirements.”
Laura Ossorio Carballo, University of Oxford.

“As we face a global climate crisis, it is now more relevant than ever to build bridges between academia and society. Specifically, scientists need to communicate in a common language the novelties found in frontier research and how scientific breakthroughs can contribute to solve environmental challenges. Therefore, I believe as a young researcher in academia it is important to keep in mind what value one can bring to society.”
Christian Benjamin Andersen, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

”Thank’s to the generation of knowledge from the hands of scientific investigation, we have grown and improved as a society. Good scientists are needed to go a step further and be brave entrepreneurs, eager to bet on medium risk and long term projects. That’s why, from my point of view, there is no basic science and applied science. Instead, there is only science well done and science poorly done. Well done science is always applicable.”
Tatiana Marti Ferrando, Wageningen University and Research.

“Universities should enhance a tradition of engagement with industry in research and other collaborative activities. The enhancement of such link would have positive benefits both economically and environmentally, and would improve human welfare globally.”
Clara Benavent, University of Aberdeen.

“In my opinion, no matter the sector, a researcher’s curiosity should benefit the world and they have the freedom to pick the sector that will enable them to achieve this goal”
Jenifer Seematti Sundar, Swedish University of Life Sciences.

“Innovation in science is essential for the development of the society, not only for generating new knowledge but also to impact socioeconomic welfare, education and politics and to provide a better understanding of the challenges that society has to face.”
Valentina Rossi, Maribohilleshog AB.

“Interactive processes between societal actors and innovators should be considered mutually responsive to each other with a view on acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability of the innovation process and its marketable products; there should be a good communicative relationship between researchers, and end-users.”
Bikal Ghimire, Norweigian University of Life Sciences.

“The very first step of innovation is discontent. Discontentment with the status quo leads, through curiosity and creativity, and given a fertile and productive research environment, to technological improvements benefiting society as a whole. In such an environment diploid hybrid potato breeding has emerged from cumbersome and highly time-consuming tetraploid breeding, leading to a paradigm shift.”
Max Ossenbrink, Solynta

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