CAMERAS NewsREEL - Spring 2012


CAMERAS Newsletter

This is a time of transition for the CAMERAS partnership.  At the end of March Dr Susan Walker stepped down as Chair of the Board and will be replaced by a new, soon to be appointed, Scottish Government Chief Scientific Adviser for Rural Affairs and the Environment.  In addition to this, work is now underway to deliver the CAMERAS work programme for 2012-13 , which is a collection of projects designed to deliver the aims of the initiative, and the CAMERAS Coordination and Engagement Group (CEG) are intending to review and refresh some of the existing CAMERAS communication channels, including this newsletter.  We cannot provide much detail of the changes at this moment in time but we can say that this will be the final version of newsREEL, in its current format, and the plan is to refocus the newsletter with more of an emphasis on providing opportunities for collaboration across the partnership and sharing good practice.  The new newsletter will be lauched in the summer.

We also have the 3rd Annual CAMERAS Conference taking place on 18 April 2012 at the SNH conference centre in Battleby.  The theme of the event this year is 'Maximising our collective impact' and speakers include Sir Peter Housden, Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government and Professor Iain Gordon, Chief Executive and Director of the James Hutton Institute.  The event is almost at full capacity but there are a couple of free places, so if you want you attend you will have to be very quick and email to book your place.

So, we have a busy time ahead of us but there are a lot of opportunities for staff to get involved in some interesting and important pieces of work.
Kevin Rae, CAMERAS Programme Coordinator

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Spring 2012

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A farewell from the CAMERAS Chair  

As I step down as the Independent Chair of the CAMERAS Board it is inevitably a time of reflection. At Board meetings we sometimes have been frustrated by how far there is to go, but if we step back and look at what has been achieved, like I have over recent weeks, it is impressive to see how far we have come, together and in a relatively short time.
When I was asked to Chair the CAMERAS Board, in the summer of 2009, we still did not know if there was even an appetite for the collaboration that was proposed. Clearly there was!  Early meetings considered whether CAMERAS should only cover research or broader science. In my view rightly, the Board decided there were opportunities for collaboration and alignment of the partners across the breadth of science we collectively do.
We also thought about who should be part of the initiative and invited other  key organisations such as the Forestry Commission  and Scottish Water to join us to allow us to cover the breadth of marine, environment and rural affairs science. I was especially pleased that Historic Scotland joined us as an observer, allowing CAMERAS to reach out beyond its traditional boundaries.
Since those early days, CAMERAS has moved on apace, with the development (and now implementation) of the Focus documents. We organised successful workshops on a range of themes; held our well regarded annual conferences; initiated collaborative workstreams across a number of diverse areas from environmental monitoring to citizen science and many more. All showing that we can deliver more and better if we collaborate across organisations rather than do it alone within our own. This will become ever more important as we all face continuing downward pressure on budgets and staff resources.
Particular themes that I have been especially pleased to see further develop within CAMERAS are citizen science, the issue of communicating our science to non scientists (incidentally an area that I think we still have a long way to go in) and engaging with other scientists in the sector e.g. within the NGO network.
I would like to thank past and present CAMERAS Board Members for their enthusiasm and drive, for Colin Galbraith and Kevin Rae and more recently Chris Rich for their efforts in facilitating and co-ordinating our collective activity.
Most of all though, I would like to thank the staff in CAMERAS organisations, because it is they who have made CAMERAS the success it already is and will continue to deliver the potential it has for the future. Yes, CAMERAS is the various specific workstreams to deliver particular outcomes, but more importantly it is a way of working. It means that it becomes second nature when we are each undertaking a piece of work to consider and involve whoever else in the partnership might have an interest too and each and every member of staff involved in science in a CAMERAS partner can and is increasingly doing just that. I am especially heartened by the enthusiasm and commitment of the Communication and Engagement Group in facilitating the embedding of CAMERAS deep within partner organisations.
As I step down, I send best wishes to the CAMERAS Board and wish all the staff involved in CAMERAS increasing success through collaboration in the future.

Dr Susan Walker March 2012

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CAMERAS Work Programme 2012-13 

The CAMERAS Board has recently agreed a work programme covering 2012-13.  The work covers a variety of areas relevant to the interests of the CAMERAS partners and includes the implementation of the Scottish Marine Science Strategy, the Scottish Environmental Monitoring Strategy and the Freshwater Science Focus Paper.  The work has been split into three categories, each demanding a slightly different amount of Board level oversight, to allow a proportionate programme management approach to be taken .  The categories are:

  • Core projects- these workstreams make up the core work required to allow the key aims of CAMERAS to be delivered.  They require a full programme management oversight by the Board
  • Events- these are CAMERAS events that have been initiated by the Board such as workshops and conferences
  • Watching briefs- these are relevant, ongoing pieces of collaborative work that are of importance to the CAMERAS initiative, and would benefit from Board level oversight, but do not require programme management by the Board.  However, by being kept abreast of developments in these areas the Board will be able to provide a strategic steer and identify opportunities for further collaboration. 
Further information on the various workstreams, including contact details for the workstream leads can be found on the CAMERAS website: CAMERAS Work Programme 2012-13

For any other information please contact the CAMERAS Programme Coordinator, Kevin Rae, on 0131 244 9251 (


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CAMERAS Coordination and Engagement Group

Staff in CAMERAS partner organisations should hopefully be aware that each partner organisation now has a CAMERAS Coordinator.  These coordinators have been tasked to help further embed the CAMERAS initiative by raising awareness within each partner organisation and by working together to identify ways to support better collaborative working.  The coordinators form the CAMERAS Coordination and Engagement Group (CEG) and this group supports the work of the CAMERAS Board by:

  • Identifying interventions aimed at embedding the CAMERAS initiative within the partner organisations
  • Facilitating effective communication between CAMERAS partners
  • Overseeing the delivery of communication channels such as the newsletter and website
Over the coming months the CEG will be looking at communications across the partnership, with a major refocusing of this newsletter and a refresh of the website, and work will also be undertaken to identify and remove some of the barriers that make it more difficult for our staff to work collaboratively across organisational boundaries. 

Further information on the work of the CEG and the contact details for the CAMERAS Coordinators can be found here: CAMERAS Coordination and Engagement Group


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