Good question. For me…part of my research is about the communication of risk and uncertainty…so if I won – being able to increase peoples’ awareness (both in UK and abroad) could lead to some interesting research results. My work looks at ways of involving people in monitoring volcanoes, so that they learn more and have more trust in the scientists. So any efforts I make to increase awareness or communicate my work, have an immediate effect on my work! Its the best possible situation!
Most of what I would like to do is awareness but there will be research as well. I would like to run focus groups with school children from a range of ages, and teachers to see what they would like to learn about and what they find interesting rather than just me deciding what would be the best thing to teach.
So the research I would do would be on what people would like to learn about the ocean and what they find interesting.
The blunt truth is that in terms of scientific research the prize money would not go very far. Scientific research is very expensive requiring a combination of lots of man hours and machinery. If the prize money was used solely to fund some research venture it would get quickly consumed and very little would result from it. It would, in effect, be wasted.
This is the reason why raising awareness is a better strategy; because as the more people become interested in science, question things and want to work in the scientific field the more funding will come from governmental bodies (the guys with the money really). This is because the potential in science in feeding economic growth will be plain to see.
So its a win-win situation.
I would like to use the money for awareness…I’d like to give half of it to charity too. As Glyn says, the money would not go very far if it was used for research. For example, I was recently given £15,000 for a project and it will only pay for two experiments! Yes, they are pretty big experiments but you can still see how expensive research can be. So I think awareness is a really important thing and definitely worth spending money on.
Hi Zaclev. That would depend on the school. It would be nice to organise a mini research project (£500 doesn’t buy you a lot of research!) for the pupils. Doing a little project is a much better way to learn about science as you have to learn how to think about what your doing and what your results mean. It would take a lot of coordination with the school though, so its not something I have an exact plan for right now.