Workshop objectives and benefits
BBSRC does not issue a prescriptive list of objectives for international workshops but a successful workshop would usually include:
- a review of the current status of research in a specific area from each country
- identification of topics that could benefit from collaboration between the participants
- identification of the means for subsequent development of such collaboration
- an agreed action plan for implementation
- reporting key findings and specific outputs from their workshop.
These international workshops give rise to a number of benefits for BBSRC-sponsored scientists.
Benefit one: there is a clear gain in exposure to different approaches and ideas, especially when coupled with access to both new expertise and facilities. Workshops tend to be targeted towards new areas and those in which extensive international networks do not already exist.
Benefit two: workshops can provide the contacts and links that are essential to the formation of consortia for accessing other funding sources such as the EU Framework Programme.
Benefit three: there is return in the form of synergy in the generation of new ideas between the participating countries.
Applications can be for workshops with any country in any area within BBSRC remit, based on current BBSRC research funding.
International workshops can be held in the UK or overseas and should always present an international dimension to them, for example in its location, participants or partners.
Many workshops are used as a platform to look for new, long term partnerships which may be eligible for BBSRC International Partnering Awards on funding from other bodies.
Where you can hold a workshop
Workshops can be held in the UK or abroad. The call is open to proposals involving collaborations with any other country, although BBSRC is particularly interested in promoting further links with:
- New Zealand
Experience has shown that there is no set formula for a successful workshop and that there is a need to be flexible according to the needs of the subject area.
Best practice from previous workshops suggests the following factors:
- designated leads for different areas, with an overall leader nominated by each side
- a common sense of purpose communicated in advance to all participants
- an informal atmosphere, encouraging a full and frank exchange of ideas
- opportunities for additional meetings between small numbers of participants (five to 10 on each side)
- agreed outcomes
- designated responsibilities for producing a workshop report and other follow-up actions.
The format usually includes a mixture of seminar-style presentations followed by smaller group discussions and feedback sessions to the whole workshop.
Workshops are often held within institutes or universities and there may be value in persuading the visiting side to give presentations to larger groups working in the field that are not actually attending the workshop.
Finally, the wrap-up session is an important element of the workshop, which can be overlooked in the enthusiasm of information exchange.
The workshop is about the future and it is essential that enough time is left to prepare an action plan for the way forward. Please indicate in your case for support if you would find it helpful for BBSRC to be represented at the workshop.