At Research Features, we strive to introduce a wealth of cutting-edge research from across the sciences and beyond. As part of this remit, we run the ‘Thought Leader’ series, interviewing esteemed thinkers, researchers, and communicators from world-leading organisations and a diverse array of disciplines. These interviews afford our readers the rare opportunity to hear about the latest research first-hand, without the technical jargon that might make academic papers seem incomprehensible to those outside the discipline. Perhaps more importantly, these interviews enable us to learn about the inspiring personal stories behind the studies.
For many people, the world of scientific research can seem forbiddingly inaccessible. This is not just because of research journals being prohibitively expensive for those outside of academic institutions, but it is also because the practicalities of scientific research can seem entirely alien. It is our intention with our Thought Leader interviews to demystify the world of academic research, by speaking directly to researchers about their work. We strive to ensure these interviews are accessible, so that everyone can understand and appreciate the research being discussed. These interviews offer leading scientists and researchers the chance to step back from the technicalities of their work, and to speak candidly about their motivations, successes, and hopes for the future.
Having conducted over 100 interviews with esteemed researchers, we are now able to look back at some of the interviews that inspired, provoked, and challenged us.
Over the years, we have published numerous powerful interviews related to environmental science and climate justice. We have spoken to a range of prominent individuals working for non-profits, charities, businesses, and research institutes, who are each approaching environmental crises in their own significant ways. Here, we spoke to CEO of UK Greenpeace, John Sauven, about the origins of the organisation, and about collective strategies for saving our planet.
The Royal Society has been promoting and celebrating excellence across the sciences for over three centuries. It has adapted its historical role to meet the pressing demands of our age – it is still the UK’s national academy of science, and it provides a fellowship to prominent scientists around the world. We spoke to the Executive Director of the Society, Dr Julie Maxton, CBE.
A large percentage of the research we publish is concerned with public health. The Institute for Integrative Health (TIIH) is a non-profit charitable organisation aiming to create a wellness model that shifts the focus of healthcare from managing disease to a more holistic approach of lifelong health.
We are keenly interested in the barriers and hurdles young people face when attempting to pursue a life in STEM. Many of our interviews have focused on individuals who are working tirelessly to counteract the persistent homogeneity of STEM research. Here, we speak to Dr Rebecca McKelvey, founder of In2scienceUK, which empowers 700 young people a year to gain opportunities and to undertake placements alongside academics and professionals.
The SOAS China Institute (SCI): A world-leading centre for China expertise
Importantly, our interviews are not confined to the sciences. We are keen to bring you cutting-edge thought from across the humanities, the arts, politics, economics, and beyond. Here, we speak to Professor Steve Tsang, Director of the SOAS China Institute, about the vital importance of Chinese research.
We are highly excited about the interviews we have lined up for the coming months. It is our intention to broaden the focus of our interviews, covering a wider range of disciplines and schools of thought. If you have anything you’d like to ask, or any suggestions, just get in touch with us through our social media channels!