Thursday, 26 May 2011

If only all could have prizes.....

After some considerable sweat (no blood, fortunately, and we are saving the tears for the X-Factor style final at The Sage, Gateshead, on 16 November) the judging panel for the Relu Awards has come up with two finalists in each category. At competitions, from Blue Peter to the Booker Prize, the judges always say how difficult it was to choose from so many excellent entries, but in this case it really was true. Fortunately we had two panels of stakeholders to apply their expertise and make the decision for us. These are the choices they came up with:
Best Example of Interdisciplinary Methodology and Scientific Innovation:
Understanding Environmental Knowledge Controversies: The Case of Flood Risk Management
Catchment Management for Protection of Water Resources A Participatory Modelling Framework to Support Catchment Management

Best Example of Impact:
Comparative assessment of environmental, community & nutritional impacts of consuming fruit and vegetables produced locally and overseas
Sustainable Uplands: learning to manage future change

The next stage for us at the Director's Office is to commission short films of each of these projects, and the tendering process for that is currently underway. At our end of programme conference "Who Should Run the Countryside" all the delegates will have the opportunity to vote for the winners. So put 16 November in your diary now. Bookings will open very soon. And at the conference we will be launching two Relu briefing papers, telling you about all the excellent entries in the Awards. So you can decide whether our panel got it right.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Looking ahead to new horizons

After an excellent Relu "New horizons in animal and plant disease" event in London last week I am just beginning to look at all the rich material from the discussions. We were extremely fortunate that senior people from policy making organisations were willing to give up their time - and also people very much at the sharp end of putting policies into practice. It was a great opportunity for our researchers to discuss the real-life implications of their findings with a diverse group of stakeholders, and an intensive day for everyone involved. Our team of note-takers worked extremely hard, and they deserve special thanks. The themes ranged from who should take responsibility for disease to how we should rethink our approach for the 21st century. Now I will be working on a Relu briefing paper drawing on the discussions from the day. It will be challenging, but I hope the results will be interesting.