October 20, 2014
Many major universities around the U.S. are conducting research on dozens of topics at any one time. However, if you’re a student, community member or fellow researcher, it may be hard to know exactly what’s going on around the science quad. Communication can be siloed within specific departments, and many people don’t know about the work going on until something is published.
Boston University is trying to remedy that issue with the launch of a website called “Research”, which highlights the research, researchers and funding at the university via a user-friendly, online magazine filled with videos, articles and infographics. The website is hosted on the university’s main URL, BU.edu, and is currently in beta.
“This site will shine a bright light on the efforts of researchers, scientists, and doctoral students across the University,” Gloria Waters, vice president and associate provost for research, said in BU Today. “We hope it serves not only as a valuable resource, but as an inspiration for cross-disciplinary collaboration.”
Interdisciplinary research has been successful for the university in the past, BU Today explained, so the school wanted a tool to improve communication among departments. Not only is the hope that students will be able to go onto this site and see the work their colleagues and peers are doing, but it’s also intended to be viewed by politicians, media outlets and those interested in giving funding for specific projects.
Sara Rimer, a former Boston bureau chief for The New York Times, is the current marketing and communications director of research communications at BU and the editor of the site. Celebrated science writer and BU graduate Barbara Moran will be the senior science writer, according to BU Today.
Current research on campus
This new website spices up the often drab and difficult-to-navigate research sections of many universities’ science websites, allowing visitors to easily tell what types of work is being done at BU. Here are a few of the current projects highlighted by the new site.
- Examining e-cigarettes – The first feature story on the website highlights the work of Avrum Spira, who is researching the safety of e-cigarettes, and Michael Siegel, who has worked separately to advocate the devices as a public good. Spira was one of the first in the country to receive federal funding for work on the topic.
- Ebola and BU – Research linked to a video on public broadcast station WGBH’s website, where BU’s infectious disease specialist Ron Corley discussed how BU’s Biolab could help improve Ebola research.
- Ed Kearns and neutrinos – One of the website’s first Q&As looks at professor Ed Kearns and his international work on neutrinos, including an explanation of the Super-Kamiokande in Japan.