Nothing in science has any value to society if it is not communicated
—Anne Roe, The Making of a Scientist (1953)
Much of the work supported by the Centre for Innovation is published as articles in scientific and medical journals. These journal articles are designed to be read and understood by other experts, so it can be challenging for anyone who is not familiar with the subject to glean valuable information. To bridge this gap and help make our research findings more accessible, the “Research Units” were developed.
How do Research Units help make the findings published in a scientific journal more accessible?
For a start Research Units are shorter. But they also provide a concise summary of the most important aspects of a study, asking: “What is this research about?”; “What did the researchers do?”; “What did the researchers find?”; and perhaps most importantly, “How can you use this research?”. Research Units provide details about the research team and information about the original journal article for the reader that wants to learn more. Scientific jargon, often a barrier to non-expert readers, is removed or clearly explained.
Fifty Research Units and counting
The first Research Unit was published in March 2013 and described a study by Centre for Innovation Engineer, Dr. John Blake, to understand how changes to blood manufacturing and distribution services would impact availability of blood products at hospitals. Dr. Blake’s work is also the subject of our 50th Research Unit, which was published just recently. This latest Research Unit, “One in a million: Modelling rare blood flow” describes a recent study with Canadian Blood Services associate medical director, Dr. Gwen Clarke, to help meet the needs of Canadians with rare blood. Drs. Blake and Clarke analyzed supply and demand for rare blood types and used simulation modelling to understand how to optimize the blood operator’s inventory of rare blood types to meet demand. The study showed that keeping a modest inventory of frozen rare blood types, combined with increased screening of donors for rare blood types, provides the greatest chance of ensuring that Canadian patients with rare blood have access to red blood cell transfusions when they need them. To learn more, read the full Research Unit here.
Photo by Rupert Britton on Unsplash
A milestone and a makeover
To coincide with this milestone, we gave the downloadable (PDF) format of the Research Units a makeover! The new look Research Unit is clean, fresh and aligns with our renewed Canadian Blood Services brand.
Visit our Research Units page to explore the diversity of the Centre for Innovation's work, and discover which of the 50 summaries pique your interest.
Related blog posts
For the latest instalment of “Meet the researcher” we chatted with Dr. John Blake, Canadian Blood Services’ research engineer and also known as “the numbers guy”.
On the surface of our red blood cells are proteins called antigens. There are more than 600 known antigens — and some combinations of antigens are far less common than others.