Janet Hering is the Director Emerita of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology (Eawag), Professor Emerita at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and Lausanne, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Over her career, Prof. Hering’s research interests have included the biogeochemical cycling of trace elements in natural waters, treatment technologies for the removal of inorganic contaminants from drinking water, and knowledge exchange at the interface of science with policy and practice. She has also been very engaged in promoting diversity in academia, particularly in supporting women in academic leadership. She received a Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Award from the IUPAC in 2015. Prof. Hering was the founding Vice Chair of the ETH Women Professors Forum, serving as Vice Chair from 2012 – 2016 and Chair from 2016 – 2020.
>>Learn more about Dr. Hering
There are increasing calls for ‘mission oriented’ research that would serve the needs of society more effectively. At the same time, it has long been recognized that the ‘moon shot’ model fails miserably in addressing complex problems that lack clarity in both their aims and solutions. An alternative approach is provided by actionable research, which is intended to be useful in informing environmental policy and practice. Fulfilling this intention requires research design that incorporates several aspects. (1) Desired project outcomes should be explicitly included in project design and planning. Target outputs that would foster such desired outcomes should be identified and incorporated as goals for the project. (2) Integration and synthesis should be explicitly identified as necessary activities throughout the project and as a goal for the project. (3) Milestones that can be linked to eventual uptake of project results should be identified and tracked during the project and also after its completion. Designing effective actionable research requires serious attention to the needs and interests of potential implementation partners (and ideally direct involvement of their representatives) at formative stages of project development. Time and resources must also be budgeted for knowledge exchange, which may benefit from involvement of (non-academic) knowledge brokers. Equitable acknowledgement of contributions made by project participants with varying background and expertise can help to foster the partnerships needed for effective actionable research. Contact with non-academic project partners and stakeholders can also support early career researchers in identifying alternative career tracks. Finally, diversity in project teams should be fostered as a source of innovation.
Monday, October 16, 2023
Talk: 11:00 am
Reception: 12:00 pm
Buffalo Room - 10 Capen Hall
UB North Campus