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Advancing science with a retreat

The Write Time

Scientists all over the world struggle with the Three R’s: reading, writing and research papers.

Researchers share their knowledge as academic papers, complete with comprehensive results and citations, and writing these papers – as well as having a life – means many academics are forced to carve out time away from everything else they’re doing.

BWA’s solution to this dilemma was to hold a three-day writing retreat in July, at the seaside suburb of Dromana on Melbourne’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula. The basics were all prepared – snacks, coffee, warm clothes and lots and lots of laptops. Tables were cleared and interruptions minimised so that twelve crack behavioural scientists (well, those that could get away for three days) could focus purely on writing papers. No phones, no office distractions.

The behavioural models adopted were ‘Heads Down Bottoms Up’, or ‘Shut Up and Write’. And write they did. The official stats came in as 83,181 words written and/or edited across 18 papers, plus work on a PhD and internal documents.

With the help of fresh sea air and restorative pizza, these hard-working researchers kept the pace up for the entire three days, producing a ‘wall of work’ which includes improving health research translation, spinal cord management, promoting honesty, better catheter care, fostering safety cultures, reducing prejudice, promoting social inclusion, reducing misdiagnosis in health care, environmental regulation, the role of behavioural science in sustainability, encouraging science thought leadership and optimising the use of community pharmacies.

And it doesn’t end there – the plan is to track all the writing retreat papers to publication.

This retreat could, in fact, advance behavioural science across a number of topics, proving that sometimes, a getaway from work can produce even more.

We look forward to seeing these papers make it to publication, and will celebrate BWA’s projects as they reach the final stages – stay tuned.

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