Today I attended a luncheon to recognize research and innovation in BC, hosted by Premier Gordon Campbell. As he nears the end of his leadership for the BC Liberal Party, this was an opportunity to recognize one of the legacies he will leave for the province.
Back in 2002, the province created the BC Leading Edge Endowment Fund and invited proposals from Universities across the province to create Research and Innovation Chairs to add to the intellectual capital of the province in a variety of fields. The fund asked institutions to match funding from the province to create endowment funds that would support research positions in perpetuity. My chair position, the BC Regional Innovation Chair in Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development, was one of those funded in the province.
As I listened to some of the other accomplishments of the Chairs and the Premier, I was motivated to think boldly about the opportunities ahead in my position. Having a position funded “forever” and in a neutral body like the University allows for some certainty and consistency to pursue questions that need to be answered in rural development. I left the event tasking myself about the key research questions, the potential work and the legacy that the Chair can make for rural BC communities. I don’t have the answers yet, but there are a few ideas that I am going to bounce off some trusted colleagues and stakeholders in rural tourism development. I believe that good decisions are made with good information and my role in the system is to identify gaps in this knowledge and then work with others to fill those gaps and get information to those that can most benefit from it.
As I head back into the field to collect data for my current research project - this experience has reminded me of the privileged position I have in the larger picture and I plan to think boldly about how to make the best use of the opportunities before us. I am always open to hearing ideas – so if you are thinking boldly as well – I encourage you to share your thoughts with me.
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