Milene Matos

Post-doctoral research fellow
Department of Biology/ CESAM
Universidade de Aveiro
Campus Universitário de Santiago
3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal

1. What are your personal perspectives as a researcher?

My view of science is that of public utility. Ultimately, every research aims at advancing collective knowledge and in some way seeks providing better life quality for all. Notwithstanding, this understanding is far from being commonly shared whithin societies. Scientists are still regarded as some closed academics, doing things no-one understands and of questionable utility. So, I think it is the researchers’ responsibility to change public perspective on the fundamental importance of their own work. Thus, in my opinion science communication is of overarching priority. There is plenty to do, for the sake of science itself, our work and, ultimately, for everyone!

2. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in your area of research?
In terms of conservation biology, the biggest challenges are the lack of funding, which in turn is related to the misperception of what “conservation” implies. Unfortunately, despite natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services are what support life itself, their management and conservation are far from being priorities in terms of governance. This leads to other challenges, in the field of science communication, scientific literacy and education for sustainability – there is an urgent need of improving these collective skills and perceptions.

3. Where are the strengths of the UA in your opinion?
No doubt that the most valuable strength of the UA is its openness to work in practical, straightforward and applied proximity with the society, in the most various aspects. It is an institution that perfectly combines science and cutting edge knowledge with public service and usefulness.

4. Could you give one idea to improve research in the UA?
I think that in this period of crisis, where science and technology are bottom public (non)priorities, UA is doing a good job, by improving interdepartmental collaborations, whether through formal platforms, or informal working groups. However, most young researchers rely too much on the national scientific system and funding, which is pretty much out of touch. Thus, UA should incite and support researchers even harder in searching for alternative sources of funding, improving collaborative funding with private companies and create even more international frameworks, presenting UA as a leading institution in new ways of making science.

última atualização a 14-05-2015

Milene Matos has a Degree and a PhD in Biology (both from University of Aveiro), and additional training in science communication (University of the West of England), scientific illustration, environmental education, forest ecology, sustainable forest management (University of Wageningen), protected areas management (Europarc Federation), among others. She specialized in conservation biology and natural resources management and currently is a post-doc researcher in the Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, being devoted to science communication and education for sustainability. She has been working in several protected areas, but her most renowned work is related to the promotion of Bussaco National Forest (central Portugal), where she has developed an award-winning educational project that aims at the promotion of natural values through public engagement and education. She has participated in several research projects and one ongoing Life + conservation project. She has published several books, one illustrated children book, peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals, and has presented over sixty peer-reviewed articles in conferences.

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