multidisciplinary knowledge exchange and cake at ISAC

Multidisciplinary knowledge exchange and cake

Our Grantham Scholars get together to present their research to each other – and eat cake – at a multidisciplinary knowledge exchange. 

Internal Seminars and Cake

At Internal Seminars and Cake – ISAC – the Grantham Scholars showcase their work in an informal setting. It is part of the multidisciplinary knowledge exchange – a core theme of the Grantham Centre.

Just as important, it lets them show of their baking skills! Because Grantham Scholars have a friendly competition each ISAC to see who makes the best snacks.

Our Centre Administrator Jana Green supports the Scholars organising ISAC. And she went to a session in March 2022 to take the photos of the Scholars shown below.

Nancy Muringai on disease-suppressing soil microbiomes

Multidisciplinary knowledge exchange at ISAC. Nancy Muringai is behind a podium presenting her work, which appears as slides on a large screen.
Nancy Muringai talks about the soil microbiome at ISAC.

Fresh from her recent win of the YES finance prize, Nancy spoke about her research.

She explained how beneficial soil microbiomes can improve plant disease responses. But there is limited understanding about disease suppressing microbiomes in complex soil environments.

In order to plus this gap, Nancy is looking into the transferability of the beneficial ley microbes and their potential usefulness in agriculture.

Nancy says that ISAC is ‘a wonderful experience. We got to experience different talks on exciting research on sustainability! It was great to reconnect with my cohort and to meet newer Scholars.’

Vibhuti Patel and reduced meat diets

Multidisciplinary knowledge exchange at ISAC. Vibhuti Patel is behind a podium presenting her work, which appears as slides on a large screen.
Explaining her work into meat consumption and reduction, Vibhuti Patel at ISAC.

For her presentation, Vibhuti explained her research about meat. Vibhuti explores ways to encourage reduced meat consumption by looking at the role of social norms in eating behaviour.

First, Vibhuti showed results from a behaviour change intervention conducted in a New Zealand university food outlet. And then she discussed implications for interventions targeting meat intake.

Many of our Scholars have written for Springer’s SDG encyclopaedia, and Vibhuti was our 5th. Her chapter was about the ethics of food production and consumption. If you want to find out more, then look here: Vibhuti Patel 5th Grantham Scholar in Springer’s SDG Encyclopedia.

Tavengwa Chitata on socio-technical tinkering

Multidisciplinary knowledge exchange at ISAC. Tavengwa Chitata is behind a podium presenting his work, which appears as slides on a large screen.
Socio-technical tinkering from Tavengwa Chitata.

Tavengwa explained different ways to engage with interdisciplinary research on water and irrigation infrastructure.

His work addresses how small scale irrigation infrastructure can contribute to sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems in rural areas of Africa.

In 2020-21 Tavengwa published 7 papers, making him one of the most published Grantham Scholars. You can find them all on Tavengwa’s project page.

Rohit Chakraborty and Burner Alert

Multidisciplinary knowledge exchange at ISAC. Rohit Chakraborty Chitata is behind a podium presenting his work, which appears as slides on a large screen.
Rohit Chakraborty explains Burner Alert to the Grantham Scholars.

For his talk, Rohit showcased Burner Alert, a groundbreaking air pollution warning system he co-created. Aimed at users of wood burners, Burner Alert provides local air pollution levels. Based on this data, people are then advised on whether they should light their wood burners or not.

In order to collect data, Burner Alert, uses a network of low-cost sensors, weather data, and machine learning. Excitingly, Burner Alert’s launch was featured in the Guardian and iNews.

If you want to know more about Rohit’s work, then read this interview with him.

Emilie Ellis on pollination networks in urban agriculture

Multidisciplinary knowledge exchange at ISAC. Emilie Ellis is behind a podium presenting her work, which appears as slides on a large screen.
Pollination networks in urban agriculture were the focus of Emile’s talk.

Emilie‘s talk was based on her research into management of urban agriculture systems – both for increasing pollinator diversity and for increasing harvest outputs.

It is common knowledge that pollinators and herbivores play an important role in food production. However, Emile explained that little detail is known about the insect communities and their interactions in urban agriculture.

So, for her research, Emilie made a pollen transport network of visited plants. And then she compared the visitation patterns of day vs. night time pollinators. When analysed, these patterns revealed similarities in the plants used as pollen food sources by both night and day-flying insects. Plus they demonstrated the importance of moth pollination in urban horticultural systems.

What the ISAC organisers had to say

Grantham Scholars, with support from Deborah Beck and Jana Green, organise IASC.

Caterina Cosmopolis said that for her ‘ISAC is a good space to present your work in a friendly environment where you can get feedback from a wide audience. Also, we meet people from other cohorts, learn about their research and maybe find collaboration opportunities.’

And Mary Eliza says ‘for me, ISAC is not just about listening to diverse and exciting sustainability research. It is also a space where I gain experience in organizing seminars. I also strongly feel that ISAC is a sustainability community where I can express and discuss ideas and thoughts while organizing or presenting.’

Grantham Scholars training programme

ISAC’s multidisciplinary knowledge exchange is part of the Grantham Scholars training programme. As a result of this bespoke training, the Scholars gain expertise in communication, policy making, media and more.

All images are by Jana Green.