Newton-Ungku Omar Fund Early Career Researcher meeting, Kota Kinabalu, November 2016
Developing a research agenda to enhance the environmental sustainability of oil palm
A 3 day networking event organised by Matt Struebig, Eleanor Slade, Jen Lucey, Agnes Agama, Zoe Davies, Charles Vairappan & Glen Reynolds
2nd-4th November 2016, Kota Kinabalu
Researchers from DICE University of Kent and ITBC Universiti Malaysia Sabah hosted a research prioritisation and networking workshop over 3 days in November 2016 at UMS campus in Kota Kinabalu. Following a call for applications over across Malaysia and the UK 34 early career researchers (17 Malaysia-based; 17 from UK) from 26 academic, research, and third sector institutions participated. The event comprised opportunity to network and present research on oil palm sustainability (day1), prioritise future research (day2), and cement researcher links and collaborations (day3).
As part of the application process applicants proposed a total of 402 research questions that they believed to be important to address sustainability issues in the oil palm sector. The team used Delphi-based voting techniques to reduce this list to 25 top priority questions. The final list is representative of the research interests in the room, with questions covering themes in bioenergy, technology, certification standards, livelihoods, ecology, and conservation. The last day was spent refining the questions with invited mentors from Malaysia and UK, and designing engagement activities to best match research interest to stakeholder needs. Participants reported at least 102 new research connections at the close of the workshop, the majority of which were between Malaysia and UK.
We are most grateful to all those who participated, co-organisers at Oxford and Lancaster universities, mentors from SEARRP, Wilmar and Hutan. The event was generously supported by the British Council and Academy Sciences Malaysia through the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund.