I started this blog a couple of years ago to showcase an optimistic academic mindset, which we seldom see. Two years on and I’m more optimistic than ever about academia as a career.
The year of 2019 started on a combative note with a response to a response on the use of social science methodologies in conservation. The purpose of the special issue of Methods in Ecology and Evolution led by Dr Nibedita Mukherjee was to provide simple guides to using a range of (mainly) qualitative approaches in conservation, aimed specifically at natural scientists who may be considering such approaches for the first time. We clarified this aim in our response to the critical response (which missed the mark in many places).
February 2019 involved marking some undergraduate dissertations, some of which turned out really well, as did some of the Masters dissertations that I supervised at the UEA. It was a pleasure to supervise these dissertations and to see the hard work and flair of the students rewarded.
April 2019 was a particularly fun month with a social science methods field trip to the Lake District with second year students at the UEA – a fun week was had by all!
Then I took some time off over the summer, which academics often feel very apologetic about, but I believe in taking as much time off as you’re allowed to recharge those batteries.
In October 2019, I became the Elizabeth Creak Associate Professor of Agricultural Innovation and Extension at the University of Reading. I am very much enjoying the new role and it was a busy first few weeks with a variety of media appearances across the BBC!
Finally, December was a busy month of workshops on involving users in agri-tech design. Papers published this year included a viewpoint on organising agri-tech transitions responsibly, a perspective on next steps for the conservation science-policy research agenda, plus a viewpoint on evidence-based engagement with the UK Parliament. A few empirical papers will follow early in 2020 (I hope!).
The h-index continues to creep up and this blog has now been viewed by people in 81 countries! The plan for this year is to keep enjoying myself, support two PhD students starting in January (both on the responsible innovation of agri-tech), enhance the University of Reading’s involvement in Agriculture 4.0 (adoption of tech and ethics), and to write a few more papers whilst staying involved with the media!