Examples of community based life sciences research?
June 28, 2019 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Hi, I'm trying to find examples of scientific research (life sciences preferred) happening in places or communities that one might not generally associate with scientific research, (so outside of universities, biotech companies, etc..), that has some sort of benefit or relevance to the surrounding community. Thank you!
posted by stanleyhuff to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Are you thinking of something like citizen science, or trained scientists working in unexpected organizations? An example of the latter might be Canadian Blood Services - I suspect many people don't know it does scientific research in addition to providing blood products.
posted by randomnity at 12:47 PM on June 28, 2019

Best answer: It might be helpful to further define what kind of research and what contexts you are interested in.

Are you strictly interested in biology or is psycho-social health science research within the scope of your question? If you are defining the term life sciences fairly broadly, community-based participatory research may be of interest to you. (An article from the CDC on this.) It is often conducted by academic researchers and community organizations, together, but not always. Using this term, you should be able to identify many community-based research efforts looking at many different kinds of communities.

I'm not sure what kind of groups you would think are usually associated with scientific research, but some would be surprised to know that many nonprofit organizations undertake their own research. I could provide a couple of examples of this, if that would be helpful.
posted by reren at 1:31 PM on June 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Locally to me, the Mystic River Watershed Association monitors the herring migration on the Mystic River, and volunteers are solicited to count herring.
posted by gideonfrog at 1:41 PM on June 28, 2019

There's computational biology and computational medicine research going on at firms that not really biotech firms.
posted by grouse at 2:07 PM on June 28, 2019

Response by poster: Fasincating, I wasn't aware of community-based participatory research. This is very interesting. (Thank you everyone btw for the responses, this is all great.)

Really, I guess I am looking for something sort of in between citizen science and CBPR. More specifically, I am looking for project examples where there is a good central figure/protagonist who might be in an interesting profile subject; an individual (who could be trained or amateur) who is doing research to aid their community.
posted by stanleyhuff at 2:10 PM on June 28, 2019

A great deal of research has been conducted concerning the Downtown East Side (DTES) in Vancouver, BC. Lately, there has been a focus on community participation in research given a troubled history in research by outsiders. See this manifesto and this research portal.
posted by lookoutbelow at 2:34 PM on June 28, 2019

See also the projects discussed here related to indigenous communities in BC. Some involve life sciences research related to traditional harvesting activities.
posted by lookoutbelow at 2:37 PM on June 28, 2019

Matt Might could be a good example. Mark2Cure is a citizen science initiative that I believe he was involved in founding.
posted by karbonokapi at 2:58 PM on June 28, 2019

D E Shaw Research is a private research firm run by the founder of a hedge fund. The rumors I have heard is that the pure academics view(ed) them as unsubtle people who blast their way to solutions using massive computing power, but that may also be sheer jealousy.
posted by Comrade_robot at 3:02 PM on June 28, 2019

Some Native American tribes employ tribal archaeologists and tribal geneticists who conduct research and advocate for their communities when scientists outside the tribe are interested in working on/with their communities.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:58 PM on June 28, 2019

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