Sophia Rettl (SITE4Society Intern – 2021)

Hello, my name is Sophia and I recently graduated from Maastricht University with a degree in Economics and Strategies in Emerging Markets. During the last semester of my Masters, I was able to do a Thesis Internship Program (TIP) with SITE4Society. My thesis was dedicated to the Green Academy Project (GAP) in Ghana, and I investigated how teacher education can be imparted to fulfil the UNESCO vision of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

It was my desire to write a thesis that addresses a relevant topic and adds value. I am glad that I was able to contribute to the GAP. I really enjoyed working on the project and interacting with the Ghanaian teachers. SITE4Society made this experience possible for me, which I am very grateful for.

Kingsley Amoah (SITE4Society – Event 8)

I am the Executive Director of Defence Network for Democracy in Ghana and I had the chance to actively participate at the SITE4Society event held in Ghana, on 17 October. The conference really boosted my professional advocacy skills and rekindled my unrelenting efforts and commitment as a staunch policy advocate and campaigner for the Goal 6 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), towards my robust advancement of  the cause of ensuring the availability and sustainability of water and sanitation management in Ghana and across the African Continent. The ingenuity of this initiative is that it is aiding the academia, policymakers and policy practitioners, civil society activists, grassroots campaigners and advocates, the media and all local and international stakeholders in finding the most sustainable and economically prudent ways of managing waste in entirety for the betterment of society worldwide.

Omorotionmwan Jolanda Edwards (SITE4Society – Event 6)
I am a UNU alumna working for a municipality in the Netherlands and was very excited to see UNU-MERIT researchers on the speakers list at the SDG Global Festival of Action I attended. The workshop Squaring Up for a Circular Economy hosted by Ms. Maria Tomai, Dr. Sanae Okamoto and Prof. Hiroshan Hettiarachchi was very well put together, informative and inspiring. The municipality I work for is planning to transition into a circular economy and wants to pay more attention to the Sustainable Development Goals. I found that the workshop helped me understand better how to do this while catering to the needs and issues of our citizens. 
The presentations were concise and well-constructed. The interactive portion gave participants the opportunity to discuss ideas and show creativity. What was quite unique and refreshing compared to other sessions was that we did not just discuss general solutions, but we also had to discover what was truly at the core of the issues, making it more practical than many of the also interesting but more idealistic sessions offered at the festival. During the part where we asked questions, one woman stood up to say that this was the best session she attended at the festival and the woman sitting next to me whispered to me that she agreed. I also believe that this session had the best structure, time management and interactive aspect of the festival. I think we all walked out with new knowledge and new ideas. 

Geraldine Rodríguez Nieto (SITE4Society – Brief 18)
SITE4Society is a great initiative for sharing the outcomes of academic research with the general public, which has been neglected in spite of its importance.

It was a pleasure to participate!


Sofi Popivanova (SITE4Society – Event 5)
I am currently doing my Masters in Economics and Strategy in Emerging Markets at the School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University. On January 17th, 2019 I attended the event called Value4waste – Meet our circular economy champions!, organized by SITE4Society. I was impressed by the keynote speakers who were all coming from different backgrounds. Not only they inspired me for my future career orientation but also for my personal growth and development. Furthermore, the knowledge I acquired thanks to the event during the workshops came in handy for my Masters’ course in Governance in Emerging Markets. Particularly, solving the challenge faced by the Dutch government and the different municipalities where I learnt about the competition vs co-operation dilemma. The workshops included brainstorming and discussion sessions with entrepreneurs operating in the circular economy, municipality representatives from the city of Maastricht, researchers and students from UNU-Merit and Maastricht university alike. Thanks to the event I also managed to meet very interesting people with whom I was able to discuss current world development challenges and opportunities.

aurinoElisabetta Aurino (SITE4Society – Brief 12)
Writing a blog post for Site4Society has been really a constructive experience for me and my co-authors. The format of the brief challenged us in thinking outside the academic style and write up for a general audience in a concise and effective way. The feedback we received from the Site4Society team was very helpful and strengthened the effectiveness of the communication of our research. I really hope Site4Society can be fruitfully used by policy-makers, practitioners and the broader public to learn and act on key global challenges.

manasi-newS. Manasi (SITE4Society – Brief 9)
It was a great learning experience for me to write the publication brief. It aided in getting the essence of our article and the uniqueness of the experiment in health care. I thank Prof. Shyama profusely for all the hard work she put in without losing patience as she worked through the drafts and for making it happen. As mentioned by her, there is not much time for people to read, and publication briefs capture the essence of articles in a short time, making it reach out to more people. Thanks to her for all her enthusiasm and interest always, it’s very inspiring.


Praachi Kumar (SITE4Society – Brief 8)
Today, it’s the scientists who need to hold the loudspeakers that tell the truth. That’s my perception of this team’s vision. Prof. Shyama Ramani has not only taught me how to write research from different perspectives, but how to deliver it so that it makes an impact! Through her tireless efforts from 7000 miles away, learning about science communication has been immensely valuable and has given me the confidence to write with greater freedom and purpose.

 0Shankhajit Sen (Site4Society – Brief 6)

“To recapitulate and communicate my experience of learning from writing this blog for Site4society, I would resort to Tagore’s’ Gitanjali,

“…Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit…”

This is what Prof. Shyama follows and made me do! What I began with and the final blog subjected to the above process entails not only my efforts, but Prof Shyama’s tireless striving and my tireless wandering offs! The exercise of publication review requires a most precise understanding of the written piece, which often remains at the subconscious, lost in elaboration. This process is revival of the subconscious of a publication.


Manish Anand (Site4Society – Brief 5)
SITE4Society is where the thinking meets the process of doing (praxis), derived from both theoretical and practical knowledge.”

 “Being new to the blogosphere, it did take some effort to translate my work into a brief. But, I must admit it was worth sweating it. Crafting a catchy headline, trimming the fat to make it more clear and concise for a wider audience,..it was all a great learning experience. This helped improved my capability to communicate my research more effectively. An important webSITE 4 scholars to get closer to SOCIETY!”


Eduardo Urias (SITE4Society – Brief 4 and 16)
“I will write more!!!

This is the way of future. Nowadays the impact of a researcher is not only measured by her/his publication quantity and quality – but also outreach.

IMG-20170627-WA0017Anurag Kanaujia (SITE4Society – Brief 3)
“It took a lot of work on Prof. Shyama’s side to make this post possible. Although it looked very trivial at first but as we discussed, I realized the difference between academic writing and blog post. A few points that I took from writing this piece were, use of simple and easy to understand language, using relevant images to contextualize the article, and importance of data to qualify statements.

Most of all, the quality that can be brought by having differences in opinion and deliberating over it is worth the effort. I thought sharing this experience would be useful for all as, everyone is going to write many more blog posts soon. I also take this opportunity to thank Prof. Shyama for guiding me in coming up with my write-up for the blog.”


Nanditha Mathew (SITE4Society – Brief 2)
“It was great working with Shyama on the blog. We are used to write academic articles (at least in my case, it was so) that sometimes are not easily communicable to a common man. We cannot expect policy makers to be experts in theory and existing literature, so it is important to phrase our findings in such a way that it is easily communicable to policy makers. I am happy that I learned a lot during the process and I enjoyed it absolutely.”

Shyama_2015_p2Shyama V. Ramani (SITE4Society – Brief 1)

“Why am I doing this? For many reasons, among which the following seem most important to me: 

1. As academics, our livelihoods are being supported ultimately by tax payers. Shouldn’t we give back to society by communicating our research findings in a simple understandable way?

2. What’s the point of simply talking to fellow academics? Very very few in the academic world are in the race for the Nobel Prize or other forms of stardom. But, I think all of us are generating at least some interesting results. Little drops of water make an ocean. And each humble result has the possibility of triggering ideas in others – policy makers, NGOs, student, future Noble laureates – so why not share our knowledge with others to promote their creativity and contribute to future solution designs?

3. There is a knowledge divide that is created by the quality of the academic institute that one has the luck to study or work in. The quality of the academic institute is given by the quality of the curriculum, institutional infrastructure, teaching, student learning, mode of examination, history, context of the region and its general culture of learning. By creating a publication brief, we are bringing the essence of validated publications to all, thus providing a support to both teachers and students – for free – via their mobile phones!

4. In a post-truth world, young people and not so young people are reading less of articles (I won’t even talk about books!) and they are dipping all the time into non-validated information floating on the internet. Now, while lying by omission and by falsification is not uncommon among academics, the publication brief series is founded on the assumption that peer-reviewed material is likely to contain no or minimal intentional lies.

5. Why a publication brief rather than a blog? A publication brief takes more work on the part of the researcher, but it permits a minimum traceability for replication and further experimentation. Thus, it is likely to be more effective in stimulating further research and providing support as a classroom teaching aid.