CLEVER Annual Meeting: In-person collaboration as the secret to catalyse innovation

In today’s tech-driven world, where Zoom calls and virtual meet-ups are the norm, there’s still something magical about good old face-to-face collaboration. It is true that digital tools have made it easier for researchers to team up from different corners of the globe, but we should not forget the unique benefits of in-person collaboration in fostering innovation and advancing the frontiers of knowledge. In-person collaboration provides an environment where minds can converge, ideas can be exchanged seamlessly, and the sparks of creativity can ignite.

The CLEVER group experienced these benefits while meeting in-person for the II CLEVER Annual Meeting, last November in Vienna, Austria, hosted by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). CLEVER is a global project, implemented by 12 participant organisations in 8 different countries, and this in-person meeting sought, in particular, to increase interaction among the Work Packages, and take quick decisive actions on future joint activities. Mission accomplished: now, scenario modellers want to consider stakeholders’ perspectives on governance, while biodiversity scientists work together with economists to combine their data; both with a plan of activities for next year.

Beyond all the scientific achievements of the meeting, the main lesson that remains for me is that while virtual collaboration has its merits, the importance of in-person collaboration in research cannot be overstated. The synergy that arises from shared physical spaces, the spontaneity of face-to-face discussions, and the depth of human connection contribute to a collaborative environment that propels research to new heights. In-person interactions allow researchers to build trust, understand each other’s working styles, and establish a rapport that goes beyond the professional realm. Cheers to the magic of in-person collaboration: the secret that will take CLEVER research to the next level.

Researchers at the II CLEVER Annual Meeting: Advances in measuring and governing impacts on biodiversity in global biomass value chains

(photos by Rosa Castañeda)

Written by Fernanda Martinelli / University of Bonn