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Basic or Applied? Applied and Basic! ------------------------------- Three Decades of Lessons from a Professional Who Happens to be a Researcher. Norm Ellstrand Professor of Genetics University of California, Riverside USA.

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Basic or Applied? Applied and Basic!-------------------------------Three Decades of Lessons from a Professional Who Happens to be a Researcher

Norm Ellstrand

Professor of Genetics

University of California, Riverside

USA

basic or applied applied and basic one professional s story with a little research thrown in
Basic or Applied? Applied and Basic!-------------------------------One Professional’s Story(with a little research thrown in)
  • The dilemma
  • Is it? A hybrid approach
  • Misconceptions or not?
    • Some empirical data
  • Some lessons about taking the basic x applied hybrid approach
realization of the dilemma
Realization of the dilemma…

“He wasn’t talking about botany;

he was talking about

aaaaaaaaaaaaaag-riculture!”

- S. M., March 1978

the dilemma
The dilemma
  • Basic research – the grand ivory tower, or angels dancing on the head of a pin?
  • Applied research – dirty or saving the world?
ut to duke to ucr september 1979

UT – to – Duke – to UCR, September 1979

Department of “Botany and Plant Sciences”

Applied or Basic?

department of botany plant sciences a brief history
Department of “Botany & Plant Sciences”? A brief history

1907

UC Citrus Experiment Station

1954

UC College of Letters & Sciences in Riverside

1960

UCR “General Campus”

department of botany plant sciences a brief history1
Department of “Botany & Plant Sciences”? A brief history

Separate Departments of

Horticulture

Agronomy

Vegetable Crops

“Botanists” in Department of Biology

Department of

Plant Sciences

Mid 1970’s

“Department of Botany & Plant Sciences”

slide8
Basic

Paternity

Gene flow

Applied

UCR
fusion
Basic

Applied

Fusion!

“Escape” of Transgenes into Natural Populations

Gene Flow & Conservation Genetics

Hybridization as a Stimulus for the Evolution of Invasiveness

basic x applied research
Basic x Applied Research
  • More interesting
  • Precedents
    • C. Darwin & G. Mendel
  • More funding sources
  • Outreach opportunities
  • Opportunities to

affect the evolution of science policy

national research council
National Research Council
  • Service arm of the National Academies
  • Tens of thousands of reports
  • The “Gold Standard” of Science Policy
nobody reads applied research
“Nobody Reads Applied Research”

Norm’s Top 20 Cited Publications

Crop-Wild (trans)gene Flow = 5

Conservation Genetics = 2

Evolution of Invasives = 2

(all of the above > 130 citations)

“Basic” = 11 (8 > 130 citations)

slide14
“Applied Research Means Taking Money from Industry/Interested Parties Who Will Seek to Influence Your Results/Interpretation”

Norm’s Financial “Conflicts of interest”

$150 honorarium from National Wildlife Federation (1991)

all applied researchers have a pre conceived notion of how the results should turn out

“All Applied Researchers Have a Pre-conceived Notion of How the Results Should Turn Out”

… and All Basic Researchers Never Have Pre-Conceived Notions?

slide16
“Doing applied work attracts the attention of the media, andmedia interviews make you say stupid things”

"It will probably happen in far less than 1% of the products," warns ecological geneticist Norm Ellstrand of the University of California at Riverside, "but within 10 years we will have a moderate-to-large scale ecological or economic catastrophe, because there will be so many [genetically modified] products being released".

- Science, 1996

some lessons about the media
Some lessons about the media…
  • Let the science lead
    • Don’t let your ideology interfere with the facts
  • Don’t be desperate to be quoted
  • Feel free to correct yourself or ask that a comment not be quoted
  • Be ready with the names of others who can do a better job answering the question
  • Be excited! Smile when you talk on the phone
credibility as a scientist comes from peer reviewed professional publications
“Credibility as a Scientist Comes From Peer-reviewed Professional Publications”

Europeans hold doctors and

scientists in high regard.

some more lessons
Some more lessons
  • “Are we having fun yet?” This is not trivial.
  • Follow your heart. “Do what gives you energy”
some more lessons continued
Some more lessons (continued)
  • If you are having fun and following your heart, then it is wise to give back for the opportunity
    • Examples: Advise the movie producer, speak to the Botanic Garden Friends, lead the fund-raising bird walk, write an op-ed, give $ to a cause that you know is good, work for that candidate…
some more lessons continued1
Some more lessons (continued)
  • Gaia loves you
  • The safe question gets funded; the best question gets cited.
  • Failure is fertilizer.
  • Your critics give you gifts.
  • Wherever you go, there you are.
some more lessons continued2

Some more lessons (continued)

All of this may be wrong

(“Don’t stop asking questions”)

basic or applied applied and basic
Basic or Applied? Applied and Basic!

A few more – of many – examples in BPSC

realization of the dilemma1
Realization of the dilemma…

“He wasn’t talking about botany;

he was talking about aaaaaaaaaaaaaag-

riculture”

- S. M., March 1978

Karma…2008

S. M.

[Ph.D. University of Texas]

Research Chemist

Agricultural Research Service

United States Department of Agriculture

basic or applied applied and basic one professional s story with a little research thrown in1
Basic or Applied? Applied and Basic!-------------------------------One Professional’s Story(with a little research thrown in)
  • The dilemma
  • Is it? A hybrid approach
  • Misconceptions or not?
    • Some empirical data
  • Some lessons about taking the basic x applied hybrid approach
thanks part one

Thanks! Part One

Sue Lee & the Guys at

UCR’s AgOps

----------------------

“It takes a village to do research”

thanks part two

Thanks! Part Two

Funding from U$DA, EPA, MWD, CCA, CAC, CDFG, SJFR, DANR, UCMEXUS, N$F, etc.

“Team Ellstrand”, including…

Janet Clegg Karen Goodell Diane Elam

Terrie Klinger Subray Hegde Bernie Devlin

Caroline Ridley Sylvia Heredia Diane Marshall

John Nason Roberto Guadagnuolo Paul Arriola

Janet Leak-Garcia Melinda Zaragoza Pace Lubinsky

Maile Neel Lesley Blancas Jutta Burger

Joanne Heraty Detlef Bartsch Marlyce Myers

And many more!