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Why your research project needs a scientific advisory board

A scientific advisory board may feel like an unnecessary luxury, but it can be crucial for the success of any large, complex project, says Maria Maunula of the University of Turku in Finland.

Maria’s top tips

  • A scientific advisory board can be useful throughout the lifetime of a project, from proposal development to final report.
  • The cost of an advisory board is small compared with the benefits it can bring to a project.
  • Make sure your advisory board includes both friends and critics, and that it represents all fields in an interdisciplinary project.
  • When inviting members to take part, give them time to consider it, and give them as much information as you can about the project.

Funders are becoming increasingly risk averse. Most need some reassurance that researchers have in place systems or structures that can deal with any weaknesses or problems they encounter in their work. One important way that academics can reassure funders is by having a scientific advisory board as part of their projects. 

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