Early Career Researcher Mind Map

By Virginia Capmourteres

As part of GIER’s first Annual Symposium, we organized a Mind Map event for early career researchers (ECR). The objective of this Mind Map exercise was to hear and document the thoughts of ECR on various issues related to environmental research, including the incorporation of interdisciplinarity, knowledge mobilization, and Indigenous knowledge in their work. This event was open to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from all departments and colleges of UofG and we are happy to have received input from ECR from diverse disciplines —from natural sciences to social sciences, arts and humanities, and engineering. We partnered with Visual Talks to create a unique graphic recording piece that summarizes the ideas shared by ECR through a combination of keywords and drawings.

Some of the major points brought up and discussed by ECR during this Mind Map exercise were:

  • ECR use a variety of strategies to incorporate interdisciplinarity in their research. They suggest, for example, reading from authors with different disciplinary backgrounds, involving research partners early on in the project, having honest conversations with colleagues and partners, and participating in working groups or seminars from other disciplines.
  • ECR consider there is a need for further engagement among academics and between academics and society. In particular, they would like to see a greater blending of the arts and the sciences, as well as more meaningful relationships with underrepresented groups, youth, rural and agricultural communities, Indigenous peoples, and businesses and start-ups.
  • ECR think that weaving Indigenous knowledge and Western Science in a collaborative, respectful, and ethical manner is paramount. ECR value different ontologies and epistemologies, and recognize the importance of post-humanist theories. In addition, ECR expressed interest in learning more about Indigenous pedagogies and principles such as the Dish With One Spoon covenant and Two-Eyed Seeing.
  • ECR would appreciate more opportunities for knowledge mobilization, so their research has an greater impact on society and policy. Regarding the importance of building bridges with society, ECR are eager to inspire new generations of environmental leaders.
  • ECR would like to see science communication and knowledge mobilization incorporated into graduate curricula and postdoctoral opportunities. ECR would like to take courses (for credit) from other disciplines, as well as experience land- and place-based learning, and learn from mentors and instructors from outside academia.

If you are an ECR with an interest for the environment and interdisciplinary thinking and doing, we would love to have you join our early career affiliate group. Please email us: info.gier@uoguelph.ca.

And without further ado, here is our collaborative ECR Mind Map!

Banner photo credit: Luis Tosta on Unsplash.

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