FROM RUTH COOPER, SENIOR POLICY ADVISER
Following the highly successful Frontiers of Science meeting held in Brazil in August, last week 35 early-career British marine scientists met with their Australian counterparts in Perth, Australia, for the first themed Frontiers of Science meeting. The meeting was co-organised with the Australian Academy of Science. It was opened by Western Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Lyn Beazley, showing the importance attached to the meeting by our colleagues in Australia.
The meeting continued the format of previous Frontiers meetings by bringing together the best early-career scientists for an intense programme of multidisciplinary topics. Frontiers symposia aim to bring together future leaders in science in all disciplines to forge new links, encourage networking and discussion, and to explore opportunities for collaboration. The 2010 Physics Nobel Laureate Dr Konstatin Novoselov is a Frontiers alumnus – indicating the calibre of the delegates.
But this meeting differed from previous events by focusing solely on marine science. So all the delegates had a common interest and vocabulary, discussing topics that ranged from the implications of ocean acidification for cold-water marine organisms to geoengineering techniques to enhance carbon sequestration in the ocean. There was also a policy session, which Dr Ian Poiner led, encouraging delegates to think about how best to influence policymakers.
As is typical of all Frontiers meetings, the scientific sessions formed only part of the meeting, with the networking and discussions continuing over the breaks and into the bar in the evenings. Many delegates were so engrossed that they didn’t manage to dip a toe into the Indian Ocean, right outside the hotel, until the meeting was over.
Several new collaborations were discussed, and some are already taking shape. The meetings offer delegates a fantastic opportunity for time out from their usual research to think about different approaches and cooperation for the future. Listening to these young scientists talk about the challenges they face and ways of overcoming them was truly inspirational, and we will follow the collaborations that arise with interest.