Microbiologist Leena Räsänen and ecologist Edina Rudner from the Bionautit Co-operative took part in last year’s Helsinki Challenge with their Lab Impact Africa team. They wanted to set up a tracking system in Africa for antibiotic resistant microbes. The competition provided the research with lot of new things to think about. The most important of these realizations were:
1. Science needs to be communicated in the language of the listener
“During Challenge, we presented Lab Impact Africa’s activity to different kinds of people: investors, reporters and upper secondary students. There was plenty of interest for the project, but different people paid attention to different aspects of it. What got people excited was talking about the issue in their own language.”
2. Pitching can clarify thoughts
“The challenge entailed the presentation of summaries of different lengths, which required a lot of cooperation from the team. When presentation time is limited, one is forced to think about what is truly relevant. Thinking is laborious, but at the same time it provides the team with a shared understanding on the subject matter in its entirety.”
3. You have to be able to talk about money, too
“Talking about money is not always natural for researchers. As researchers, we are used to thinking primarily about the success of the project and securing our own livelihood. At Challenge, we learned how to take into account business-related goals in the development of solutions that benefit us all.”
The Lab Impact Africa team’s pilot project is underway in Burkina Faso.
More information is available at: http://www.bionautit.fi/EN/challenge-afrika.php
Helsinki Challenge call for applications is now open and it is the time to put your team together, since registration for the competition closes on 31 October. The final competition proposal must be submitted by 15 November.