Taylor & Francis news

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ researcher, new podcast series shows

The finale of How Researchers Changed the World, now available as a complete podcast series, concludes with an inspiring personal story leading to research with real-world impact. Former Indian Army officer Colonel Divakaran Padma Kumar Pillay was severely wounded in counter insurgency operations, leaving him fighting for his life and questioning the purpose of defending his country. His life-changing experience led him towards the view that National Security should go beyond defending borders and protect people’s security in all forms – protecting the environment, water security, healthcare, and preventing malnutrition.

This final episode explores the inspiring and unique route Col. Divakaran Padma Kumar Pillay took to complete research which argues the need for an urgent overhaul of food security systems in India to drastically reduce malnutrition affecting millions across India.

His individual story is just one of 12 passionate accounts of world-changing research which has altered public thought, influenced policy, and revolutionized practices around the world.

How Researchers Changed the World dives into the detail of key research stories which have enacted change on a wide variety of issues which affect us all – climate change, education, mental health, and the role of artificial intelligence.

As well as a diverse range of research topics, standing out across the complete series are the many different backgrounds and routes into academia the 12 researchers took. From practising clinician Orii McDermott exploring solutions for measuring the effectiveness of music therapy programs, through to mature student Ella Kahu proposing a new framework to better understand student engagement, to former exotic dancer Siobhan Brooks highlighting inequality in the framing of same sex marriage in the black community, each individual researcher’s unique mix of personal background, interests and experiences demonstrate that there’s no such thing as a “typical” route into academic research. In fact, the uniqueness of each individual’s journey is the strength that enabled them to approach their area of interest with such innovation.