BioSS delivers knowledge exchange in various forms, including consultancy advice and collaboration, publications and presentations of research, training courses and workshops for scientists, supervision of PhD students, engagement with schools, and communications through the media. It is involved in several co-operative initiatives with its fellow RESAS Main Research Providers (MRPs) or SEFARI (Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutions).
BioSS is a portfolio parter of SEFARI Gateway. SEFARI Gateway is the knowledge exchange (KE) and impact hub involving all of the MRPs and RESAS funded Centres of Expertise. SEFARI Gateway reaches out to policymakers, end-users, and the general public through events, its own website, and funding for KE project calls. It is funded by the Scottish Government to provide proactive engagement and support the development of collaborations.
Centre of Expertise in Animal Disease Outbreaks
Another important collaborative activity, which BioSS supports, is the Scottish Government-funded Centre of Expertise in Animal Disease Outbreaks (EPIC). BioSS has led a series of workshop events with stakeholders to elicit opinions about the future of the Scottish cattle and sheep industries. Using what is known as a 'scenario planning' framework, farmers, veterinarians, government officials, retail specialists, and representatives of other key stakeholder groups can review the principal drivers of change in the livestock industries, then develop narratives describing plausible 'future histories' for these industries over a 25-year time window. Outputs from these exercises have been collated as reports for a general audience, circulated to major stakeholders as hard copies, and made available to the general public via the EPIC website. The co-construction of these scenarios has proven to be an excellent way to promote knowledge exchange between the EPIC scientists, policy customers, and the wider stakeholder community.
Knowledge Exchange with the general public
BioSS interacts with the general public in a variety of ways. Some staff members have visited schools to talk about their interest in quantitative science and the importance of school subjects in the real world. BioSS has multiple STEM Ambassadors, who have participated in 'I'm a Scientist Get Me Out of Here' programmes with school classrooms, and initiatives of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland. These events aim to inspire young people to take an interest in science and to consider careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Moreover, BioSS' research reaches its widest audience through the media. By establishing a social media presence, BioSS maintains more immediate contact with its growing number of followers.