On Monday we had our first External Advisory Board meeting for our EVAL-FARMS AMR project. We have a good number of external advisors, representing industrial, policy and academic stake-holders. It is also the first time I have led a project with an external board. My reactions are:
- We had a very successful and enjoyable event. Our external advisors are, of course, lovely, interesting, intelligent and successful people from a wide range of backgrounds, so it was a pleasure to spend time with them.
- We now have a broad perspective of input into our project. We are no longer a group of academics talking to each other – we are now a group of academics also in conversation with the broader outside world – giving real context for our work and its impact to other sectors – and helping us to ensure appropriate outputs, messages and impact into their sectors.
- We have a group of people who will hold us to account. We need to stay on track and stay relevant!
- When I look back on previously held research funding, especially the Lux and Biolog projects, I can see now how much an external board would have helped us to run the projects better. I wish we had had them!
- In future, I will look towards having external boards for all research projects. EVAL-FARMS is especially applied and outward facing, so it makes sense to have many non-academic partners. But even a project which is entirely fundamental science would benefit from an external board of academic and other beneficiaries.
- We look forward to our next advisory board meeting in September 2017, as well as interactions with members of our board before then.