Scientists should aspire to have skills that would make them leaders in their field and enable them to bridge the gap between science and its practice in society, said Margaret Krebs at a presentation on leadership at FABI on 14 September. Krebs is the programme manager of the Leopold Leadership Program at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment in Stanford University, California.

The Leopold Leadership Program arms academic researchers with skills to transfer their knowledge into action and to communicate science to industry and decision-makers to address environmental challenges. Her audience included FABIans and representatives from the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation and the Department of Research and Innovation Support at the University of Pretoria and the South African Young Academy of Science.

Krebs spoke about the transformation that the programme has undergone since its inception in 1999 and the benefits of networks not only in scientific collaborations but also in communicating science to those who drive policies and to communities. Though researchers couldn’t shoulder the burden of sharing scientific information alone, they had the responsibility to ensure that the information they communicated was reliable, credible and legitimate, said Krebs. She said science graduates would benefit from professional development training similar to that offered to law students to help them with challenges they face in their careers.