You know what’s great? Science. You know what’s even better? Having the chance to share it with others. All you have to do is look at the back of an SSRN mug to know that we like to share new ideas. We admit that so far this has mostly meant digital sharing and conferences, but earlier this year we started looking more into the possibility of joining taste of science. A few phone calls and a Slack team later, we were on our way to doing just that.
If you haven’t heard of taste of science before, now’s the time. It’s a national research festival that takes place in cities around the United States, powered by Scientists, Inc. Admittedly, we were a little jealous of some of our sister companies that get to sponsor and enjoy this type of festival in their home cities (we’re looking at you CellPress and Mendeley). We’ve been sharing research on an international scale for so long that perhaps we’ve been somewhat neglectful of the research going on in our own backyard. I’m embarrassed to say that more than one SSRN employee has encountered local SSRN users who were amazed to learn that we are based in their city. That was a problem we needed to solve.
Since Rochester, NY did not already have a festival planned, we took the usual sponsorship a bit further. We partnered with taste of science and immediately started planning an event. We wanted to hold a stand-alone event to introduce the idea to Rochester as quickly as possible and we were eager to get started.
The great thing about taste of science is that it promotes quality research in a social, engaging environment. SSRN loves research and we much prefer the pace of a pub to an auditorium. So, we held our first event at Hogan’s Hideway, a newly reopened local restaurant, that so generously donated space and food (much to the delight of our hungry attendees). Their back bar area offered the relaxed, social atmosphere we were aiming for while providing the private listening space we needed.
The star of the evening was Dr. Rob Rice, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and professor at St. John Fisher College. Having several Fisher alumni on the SSRN staff (including our managing director) it felt good to have one of their faculty members interested in the concept of taste of science. Dr. Rice presented his research on using video games and technology as a form of psychotherapy for individuals with anxiety, OCD, autism, and other repetitive behavior disorders.
The audience ranged from teachers to parents of children with autism to former students of Dr. Rice who took advantage of the chance for another lecture. It was good to see people gather who had a common interest in the subject matter, if not a common academic background in the material. Dr. Rice’s intriguing presentation kept rapt attention from his intro to the keywords on slide 1 of his presi to the Guinness he ordered during the Q&A.
The overall accomplishment in starting this festival in Rochester is that we have a unique chance to bring the research to the people. Research is too often limited to stuffy conference rooms. It’s time that scholarly sources make their way into popular culture. If taste of science can do that one city at a time, then we are glad to be on board.
We also have to admit that Rochester, NY is a phenomenal place for taste of science. Not only are we a city full of festival lovers, but we are also a city full of nerds, and we mean that in a pandering way. With more than 20 colleges and universities in the surrounding area and many, many small businesses Rochester is home for the academic spirit, the entrepreneurial heart, and the research mentality. We can serve up something Rochester’s been craving – legitimate insight on relevant topics coupled with a chance to have a pint with a scientist. As much as we love distributing eJournals it’s nice to give our neighborhood researchers something a little more personal.
We’re already planning some exciting things for the full festival come April. Subscribe to the Rochester page to keep up-to-date with developments and if you’re in the area let us know! We love a chance to chat with our users face-to-face.