Memorial to benefit from new water analytics research consortium
Water quality challenges are often complex and multidimensional, therefore people conducting research in the area usually come from a variety of backgrounds — with expectations that are just as diverse.
A new research consortium at Memorial University aims to bring these parties together and assist them in conducting cooperative research through integrated and synchronized efforts.
“The Water Analytics Research Consortium or WARC, is an all-inclusive water quality network,” said Dr. Carlos Bazan, project manager for Sensing System for Detection and Tracking of Oil in Marine Waters in Harsh Climates,an Atlantic Innovation Fund project at Memorial, and the person behind the creation of WARC.
“It’s an alliance of scientists, research institutions, and other organizations and individuals concerned with water quality and its impacts on public health and ecosystems,” Dr. Bazan added.
Over 100 individuals and organizations across the province answered the call to become founding members of WARC and 80 of them attended the official launch during a water quality workshop on May 25th.
“We were very pleased with the level of interest demonstrated by such a diverse audience and to see so many people willing to participate,” said Dr. Bazan.
During the event, speakers motivated discussions around two main themes: challenges in water quality and their implications for Canada’s public health and ecosystems, and addressing key challenges in water quality to protect and sustain Canada’s water resources.
Dr. Bazan says the tactical objectives of the new consortium are to facilitate research activities and promote collaborative efforts among members, identify joint research funding opportunities, and pool resources and unite expertise to respond to water quality challenges.
“We realize that, to achieve these objectives, successfully applying for research resources is only part of a fruitful water quality research project,” he said. “The balance involves establishing and managing a thriving team science that can efficiently deliver all of the stakeholders’ expectations.”
‘Team science’ is the term used to describe initiatives designed to promote collaborative approaches for answering the most difficult research questions. In essence, WARC was created to promote and facilitate team science initiatives conducive to tackling the most challenging water quality issues.
In order to accomplish its primary objectives, WARC will help researchers make team science work by fostering a shift from a reliance on heuristics to implementation of the most current proven strategies proposed by researchers of the ‘science of team science.’
“The science of team science is concerned with understanding and managing the circumstances that facilitate or hinder the effectiveness of collaborative science and evaluating its outcomes,” said Dr. Bazan. “It is per se a cross-disciplinary field of study that is growing rapidly with the purpose of developing evidence-based and translational applications to help maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of team research.”
To help establish and manage the collaborative network, WARC has partnered with the Harris Centre to use their new version of Yaffle, Memorial’s knowledge mobilization tool for connecting those who have a particular knowledge or expertise with those who wish to know more about that field or research project.
“Our partnership with the Harris Centre goes beyond the use of its collaboration platform and has been instrumental in getting the consortium off the ground,” said Dr. Bazan. “WARC is an all-volunteer organization whose materialization and sustainability are only possible because of the efforts of many people: Dr. Stefana Egli, Amy Jones, Bojan Fürst, Dr. Kelly Vodden, Dr. Adrian Unc, among many others.”
For more information about WARC and to become involved in the consortium’s efforts visit warc.mun.ca.