Participants of Tropentag 2014, I hope you feel accomplished. With the wealth of excellent and groundbreaking work presented this year, it looks like we’re indeed one step forward in “bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources”. As we settle back in our home universities and institutes to catch up on work and resume our routines, it’s also perhaps a good time to reflect on what happens next. Conferences are great, but why end at the conference?
I found Dr. Richard Hall’s
plenary speech, “Orienting and Keeping Scientific Research for Development On Track”, a timely reminder of what it is we conduct research for. Even at conferences such as Tropentag, where researchers address urgent issues of climate change and food security, “applied research” doesn’t necessarily translate to real change on the ground. Scientists don’t have the power or resources to implement policies, or to organise extension programs for farmers – that’s someone else’s responsibility.
Or so we argue.