Research2.0, an academic research reform initiative from the USC School of Pharmacy, hosted the Science and Tech Forum: Los Angeles to explore the changing landscape of scientific research this past weekend at the USC Davidson Continuing Education Conference Center.
The forum aimed to spur activity and collaboration across Los Angeles in the sciences, and to explore how new tools and technologies help increase the speed and rigor of research. The conference also featured unique “unconference breakout sessions” where attendees set their own agenda, adding to the collaborative opportunities at the event.
“As part of this mission, we started looking around for where is the greatest part of innovation, because the traditional paradigm is incredibly inefficient,” said Research2.0 creator Llewellyn Cox, a program administrator for research at the School of Pharmacy. “As scientists, we should look at the projects we are planning to do and take a more open look at how to best achieve it.”
The Science and Tech Forum: Los Angeles builds on the School of Pharmacy’s Research2.0 initiative, which strives to connect entrepreneurs and startups in the bioscience industry with the academic community to foster innovation by sharing their ideas, research and tools.
Cox said he and his team want to make scientific research more effective and rigorous, but at the same time also close the gap between science and society.
“Scientific leaders who blog and are active on Twitter engage with the community on these major scientific issues,” Cox said.
Martha Pastuszka, a graduate student in molecular pharmacology and toxicology at the School of Pharmacy, was enthusiastic about the forum.
“This forum provides an alternative view to scientific research. [The speakers] have been talking about things that have been fundamental to science but they’re kind of questioning the status quo,” Pastuszka said. “I think the future of scientific research will definitely be more collaborative between disciplines and not just some guy thinking about science and doing it himself.”
Cox noted the difference between working in academia and a startup. In academia, he said people tend to have the desire to perfect their products before launching whereas in a startup, they tend to launch their products as soon as possible for feedback regarding flaws and then fix those flaws.
Many students were excited about the possibility of being involved in moving the science world into the future.
“One of the major problems is the outdated view of what science is, so this forum is dedicated to helping people realize that science needs to adapt to the changing world,” said Zoe Folchman-Wagner, a doctoral student in pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences.
Cox noted the potential for collaborations among the different disciplines and schools at USC.
“My hope is that [the forum] will bring us closer together, because it is somewhat silent between the different disciplines and schools at USC,” Cox said. “To move research forward, we have to collaborate and we have to work together.”
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