The importance of collaboration in science
Associate Professor Rachael Taylor, from the University of Otago, works on large-scale obesity intervention projects. Collaboration with other specialists is key to the success of these projects. Depending on the project, Rachael may collaborate with genetics specialists, overseas universities and Ministry of Education staff, as well as GPs and schools.
Point of interest:
Discuss the importance of collaboration in science. Why do you think it can help to make research projects more successful?
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR RACHAEL TAYLOR
So our research projects are generally quite big, I mean they’re generally long-term, as in a few years. They generally involve hundreds of people, if not thousands, or up to, you know, a thousand people. So it takes a lot of people to run and develop projects like that.
So we collaborate a lot with other people within Otago University. I’m a nutritionist by background, so my expertise is not in child health or in physical activity or genetics or some of those other things that are really important for our projects. So, depending on what we’re thinking of doing, we might invite certain researchers to come, to collaborate with us, to come and work with us.
We do have colleagues at the university that do a lot of genetic work. We have people in America that work with us on projects, and then of course we’re collaborating with people at the Ministry of Education, at the Ministry of Health, and then in some of our projects, for instance, we might be collaborating with GPs or practice nurses and people actually working in the field, in the area as well. Well, schools is a big part of our thing, so collaborating with teachers and principals and other support staff and things.