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Integrating Social Science into National Science
Foundation Observatories
An RFF Workshop
January 24-26, 2007 

In 2001, the National Research Council (NRC) identified eight "grand challenges" in environmental science research. These challenges define key research questions which require significant and sustained multidisciplinary collaboration. Effectively responding to these challenges further requires both new social science research and its full integration into ongoing environmental science and engineering research and practice.

For a variety of reasons, this multidisciplinary integration process, as it is occurring in NSF Observatories (specifically CLEANER and CUAHSI (merged into WATERS), and NEON) and in the Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTER), needs improvement and encouragement. The objectives of the workshop are to identify the fundamental organizational, informational, infrastructural, and financial structures required to effectively support integrated social and natural science evaluations of coupled human-natural systems.

Additionally, this workshop focuses on clarifying the analytical research questions and identifying the substantive linkages between these two sets of disciplines in the Observatory context. It is also hoped that this workshop will help to build consensus among social and natural scientists and the relevant NSF directorates on a broad research and implementation agenda for advancing the role of social science research at the observatories.

The following workshop documents are available in PDF format:

      

link to report

Rising to the Challenge: Integrating Social Science into NSF Environmental Observatories
September 2007

 

Day 1 - State of Play: Social Science at NSF Observatories

Welcome and Introduction - Goals of the Workshop

  • Alan Krupnick, Resources for the Future
  • Patrick Brezonik, National Science Foundation

NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Welcome

  • Edward Hackett, National Science Foundation


Introduction
  • David Lightfoot, National Science Foundation
The Case for Integration
  • Rita Colwell, University of Maryland


 

 

Link to presentation


Elements of Integration
(overview of the four key white paper topics: planning/organization, funding/support, infrastructure/facilities, data/information)

 

  • Alan Krupnick, Resources for the Future
  • Shalini Vajjhala, Resources for the Future
   

Link to presentation


Experiences with Integration at NSF Observatories


CLEANER/WATERS: Barbara Minsker, University of Illinois
Link to presentation

CLEANER/WATERS: Mitchell Small, Carnegie Mellon University
Link to presentation
CUAHSI/WATERS: Richard Hooper, CUAHSI Link to Presentation

LTER: Dan Childers, Florida International University
Link to presentation

NEON: Bruce Hayden, University of Virginia

 

NEON: Morgan Grove, USDA Forest Service


Ingredients of Multidisciplinary Success

 

  • Granger Morgan, Carnegie Mellon University
Link to presentation


Key Topic 1: Planning/Organization

 

  • Alan Krupnick, Resources for the Future
Link to presentation

 


Key Topic 2: Information/Core Data

 

  • Shalini Vajjhala, Resources for the Future


 

 

Link to presentation


Breakout Sessions

Note: The following original presentations were created in real time, to reflect the participants' discussion.
Steering Committee Member Moderators:
  • Morgan Grove, USDA Forest Service
Link to presentation
  • Patricia McDowell, University of Oregon
Link to presentation
  • Leonard Shabman, Resources for the Future
Link to presentation
  • Mitchell Small, Carnegie Mellon University
Link to presentation

Concluding Remarks
  • Alan Krupnick, Resources for the Future
  • Mitchell Small, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Patrick Brezonik, National Science Foundation


 

 

     
    
Day 2 - Plan for Implementation: Integrating Social Sciences into Observatories


Key Topic 3: Social Science Infrastructure Needs

 

Introduction and Overview

 

  • Patricia McDowell, University of Oregon


 

 

Link to presentation

Human Sensing

 

  • Joseph Paradiso, MIT
   

Link to presentation

Decision Theatres

 

  • Rick Shangraw, Arizona State University
Link to presentation


Key Topic 4: Government Initiatives and Social Sciences Support

 

Introduction

 

  • Alan Krupnick, Resources for the Future
Overview of MREFC Process

 

  • Jean McGovern, National Science Foundation
Link to presentation


Environmental Social Science and "Greening" the NSF
  • Robert O'Connor, National Science Foundation
  • Thomas Baerwald, National Science Foundation
Link to presentation


"The intersection of natural resources and social science: one agency's perspective"

 

  • Ann Bartuska, USDA Forest Service
Link to presentation


Breakout Sessions

Note: The following original presentations were created in real time, to reflect the participants' discussion.
Steering Committee Member Moderators:
  • Morgan Grove, USDA Forest Service
Link to presentation
  • Patricia McDowell, University of Oregon
Link to presentation
  • Leonard Shabman, Resources for the Future
Link to presentation
  • Mitchell Small, Carnegie Mellon University
Link to presentation

Concluding Remarks -  Thoughts for the White Paper
  • Steering Committee
  • Feedback to/from participants
  • Summary and next steps


 

 

Going Forward

Immediately following the workshop, the steering committee met to review
the results of the workshop, outline a series of recommendations, and set
goals for the upcoming months. During this meeting, an agenda for
disseminating the workshop output and results was outlined, and plans
formed to move forward with a strategic vision for achieving integration at
the Observatories.

To this end, the first order of business for the steering committee is to
compile, edit, and synthesize the recommendations and ideas that were
raised throughout the two-day Workshop in a revision of the White Paper.

The final report is now available.


 

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