Bringing a National Research Festival to Our Own Backyard

There is an exciting transformation taking place in the worlds of research and education which is making more scientific knowledge available and accessible to more people, no matter their academic standing, than ever before. One of our favorites among these initiatives is the taste of science festival (or if you are based in the UK pint of science).

taste of science takes place in cities around the United States each year at the end of April. We became aware of it in 2017 and knew right away we wanted to get involved. We wanted to help bring those live, engaging, science-based events to Rochester, NY where our headquarters are. Yet, there was one problem. Rochester didn’t have a festival, to begin with!

Most businesses that we knew who were involved in the festival were donating money or other resources to an already existing festival. For SSRN, this simply wouldn’t be enough to make the festival happen in our home city. Instead, we joined in a partnership with the taste of science; meaning that instead of offering money and swag we gathered the people that were needed to make the festival possible.

Last year’s festival was such a success that we wanted to make it happen again in 2019. That’s exactly what we did!

Rochester, NY is home to an impressive number of colleges, universities, and hospital systems. We are in good company with a high population of academics, and even more curious and engaged learners who are always hungry for good research. So, we wanted to host events that were both relevant and accessible for our varied audience members. We decided on two events for this year’s festival with one speaker per event to offer attendees the chance to engage fully with the topic.

The first event titled The Workplace as Society: Utopia or Dystopia? featured Dr. Chad Newton. Dr. Newton took our audience through the typical workplace and how certain issues occur and influence other areas of workers’ lives. He discussed leadership versus management, and value differences between diverse employees. A lively conversation followed, including a question or two from our own managing director, Gregg Gordon.

The second night attracted an even larger audience, perhaps in spite of the NFL draft that took place that night! Dr. Helena Boersma both educated and captivated with her event Food & Mood: Understanding How Food Affects the Mind. Dr. Boersma explained certain psychological effects that occur in connection with diet and lifestyle. We were pleased to see firsthand how real research can directly influence the people who hear it (or read it on SSRN)!

At SSRN, we dedicate 365 days a year to serving researchers. However, being based almost entirely online (diligently traveling directors excluded) we don’t always have the chance to meet researchers in an environment where we can learn from and react to one another. taste of science has been a great way for us to do that.

Following these events, we’re feeling our mission distribute research even more passionately. Each of the seven individual events we’ve hosted so far has been an absolute whirlwind, but we continue to see the value of sharing science with our city. Those benefits outweigh any challenges each time.

We’re so pleased to have gotten involved with taste of science. It’s been wonderful to live out our mission in a live, first-hand way. It’s been even more beneficial for the people attending and the researchers presenting. Overall, we’d describe the experience as insightful, inspiring, and delicious.


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