Join our #Forests2015 social media team!

The #Forests2015 Blog

social-media-appAre you familiar with things like “Twitter”, “Facebook”, “blogging”, “vlogging”, “podcasting”,…? Join us!
Or if those words sound like gibberish to you, well… you are welcome too!

Experienced social media users, professionals, volunteers, journalists as well as novices are equally welcome in the social media team of the XIV World Forestry Congress (#Forests2015) held in Durban (South Africa), on 7-11 Sept 2015…

We are assembling a large team of social media volunteers to support the conference. The volunteers can participate either online, or at the event itself.

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Why America’s patent system is not killing innovation


“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” The old saying, often attributed to Mark Twain, is as applicable today as in his time. And in the intellectual property arena, a “good story” has been going around recounting the death of American innovation at the hands of an outmoded and obstructive patent system. But, again to paraphrase Twain, rumors of innovation’s death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, American innovation is thriving—and not in spite of patents but because of them.

When we look beyond the fairytales and examine the facts concerning the value of the American patent system, the real story is that patents have a demonstrably positive impact on American jobs, the economy and the innovation ecosystem. Opposition to the system is nothing new; the notion of granting exclusivity over ideas strikes some as inherently undemocratic. Yet the founders recognized that the extraordinary knowledge-sharing…

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Twenty tips for writing a research proposal

Proposal FormatThis post’s title might promise a lot, but it would be disingenuous of me to imply that I could cover all of the essential components of this massive topic in one blog post. Many people (my wife included) have made careers out of teaching people how to write successful grant proposals, so I won’t pretend to be comprehensive and insult their expertise. That said, I’ve been reasonably successful on the grants’ side of the science game, and I’ve assessed a fair few grant proposals in my day, so I think I can offer at least a few pointers. As usual, each person probably has her or his own way of doing things, so there’s unlikely to be a single, winning method. Approaches will also vary by funding agency and country of origin. I am therefore targeting the earlier-career people who have yet to get fully indoctrinated into the funding cycle…

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RUFORUM Fellow scores a double


Winner: Blessing Odugwu (Second left) Winner: Blessing Odugwu (Second left)

Blessing Adanta Odogwu, a Nigerian PhD student of Plant Breeding and Biotechnology at Makerere University, Uganda, has won the 2014 African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and the 2014 fall Norman Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Programme (LEAP) fellowships.

AWARD is a career-development program that equips top women agricultural scientists across sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate agricultural gains by strengthening their research and leadership skills, through tailored fellowships. Fellowships are competitive and awarded on the basis of intellectual merit, leadership capacity, and the potential of the scientist’s research to improve the daily lives of smallholder farmers, especially women. As a fellow, Mrs. Odogwu will benefit from a two-year career-development program focused on fostering mentoring partnerships, building science skills, and developing leadership capacity. She will be mentored by Dr. Mildred Ochwo-Ssemakula, a Lecturer and Coordinator for Graduate Studies at the School of Agricultural Sciences…

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Learning Soft Skills During Your PhD Training


We’ve all talked to PIs who express how surprised they are to leave the bench when they become assistant professors.  They lament how much grant writing and budgeting they do and that PhD training did not prepare them for the job.  Additionally, we hear from many PhDs that their program didn’t prepare them for a non-academic job.  However, this does not have to be the case.  With planning, PhD students can train in the numerous soft skills that will be useful for either academic or non-academic jobs.

  • Social media to promote science and build a brand (your brand or an employer’s brand). Not every platform is right for everybody; however, using social media can increase your individual reach.
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Storify
    • Instagram
    • Pintrest
  • Blogging to promote science outreach
  • Working with your university press office
    • Promote recently published papers with press releases
    • Media training
    • Working with your press office will force…

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10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea, from TED’s in-house expert

TED Blog

When your slides rock, your whole presentation pops to life. At TED2014, David Epstein created a clean, informative slide deck to support his talk on the changing bodies of athletes. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Aaron Weyenberg is the master of slide decks. Our UX Lead creates Keynote presentations that are both slick and charming—the kind that pull you in and keep you captivated, but in an understated way that helps you focus on what’s actually being said. He does this for his own presentations and for lots of other folks in the office. Yes, his coworkers ask him to design their slides, because he’s just that good.

We asked Aaron to bottle his Keynote mojo so that others could benefit from it. Here, 10 tips for making an effective slide deck, split into two parts: the big, overarching goals, and the little tips and tricks that make your presentation…

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8 tips for virtual collaboration, from TED’s tech team

TED Blog

TED tech team on telecommuting TED’s technology team is spread out across the country, so we rely on videoconferencing to do our work. But don’t let the image fool you — we rarely wear suits. Image courtesy of iStock

Our 29-member Technology Team is spread out. TED HQ is in New York, but our team includes developers who live in six other states — from Florida to Oregon, with a stopoff in South Dakota — and two other countries. (Yes, tech talent doesn’t always reside in New York and San Francisco.) There are big benefits to being so spread out: Our team’s growth isn’t constrained by the cost of office space, and local challenges like a hurricane or a power outage don’t halt our work entirely. But it also means we have to be very deliberate about how we work, because we rely on virtual collaboration.

We know we’re not alone. More and more workplaces are bringing together…

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