Section 5 Collaborations and Engagement Working Group
Research has shown that strong interactions between scientists and stakeholders are critical for incorporation and use of new scientific information into decision-making, as end-users must perceive the information to be salient, credible, and legitimate.1 Early engagement with stakeholders, sustained attention, and appropriate acknowledgement are key components of achieving these goals. Stakeholders relevant to the ABoVE field campaign include local community members, indigenous/tribal organizations and governments, and other decision-makers such as land and wildlife managers across a range of scales.
A list of current collaborators can be found here >>
The Collaborations and Engagement Working Group (CE WG) will facilitate interactions between the ABoVE Science Team and potential end-users of ABoVE research products. The CE WG will aid in the identification of existing and potential stakeholders for ABoVE research activities, coordinate engagement activities among project teams and stakeholder, and help ensure that useful data becomes usable data. Some of these objectives may be achieved by collaborating with researchers at decision-making institutions, while in other cases Project Teams may additionally engage with decision-makers themselves. Project Teams are also encouraged to take advantage of the networking and engagement expertise of existing boundary organizations in the ABoVE study domain (e.g., Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, Polar Knowledge Canada, AK Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, etc.).
Communication and outreach to stakeholders are important components of engagement. The CE WG will help the CCE Office and Project Teams plan meetings and/or workshops to learn about the research needs of stakeholders, inform stakeholders of planned research activities, discuss research results, and evaluate the utility of the decision-support products.
It is recognized that ABoVE projects may span the continuum between basic and applied research, with some projects more focused on enhancing foundational science and others working to develop specific products for use by decision-makers. ABoVE will use the Applications Readiness Level (ARL) metrics to evaluate projects and potential progress over the funding period towards ARL goals. All projects, regardless of initial and goal ARLs, can benefit from stakeholder interaction by learning about decision-makers’ information needs and understanding the decision-making processes, including potential organizational challenges and human process issues.
There are many people conducting research in the AboVE Domain that are embedded in decision-making institutions (e.g., USDA Forest Service, AK Fish and Game, Government of Northwest Territories, etc.). When feasible, Project Teams are encouraged to interact and collaborate with these researchers directly. Other important means of engaging with other researchers include participation in research networks (e.g. SEARCH, Changing Cold Regions Network, etc.), and working with boundary organizations such as the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives. The CE WG and CCE Office can suggest and facilitate these interactions.
Research in ABoVE, both by individual PIs and by the Science Team as a whole, spans a variety of spatial scales and thus the roster of relevant stakeholder groups includes organizations with tribal/indigenous, local, state, regional, and federal interests. Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and many communities there and in Alaska have established protocols for all research conducted on their lands. It is essential that Project Teams familiarize themselves with these prior to conducting any research.
The CE WG and CCE Office can help with the identification of appropriate stakeholders and planning of engagement activities for Project Teams. The CE WG can aid Science Team members seeking guidance on contacting stakeholders, navigating institutional networks and interactions, and designing and implementation of engagement activities.
The CCE Office will maintain a master calendar of both field and engagement activities, potentially suggesting modifying of combining activities in order to avoid duplication of effort and “research(er)” fatigue. Therefore, it is vital that all Project Teams report planned activities to the CCE Office well in advance. Of course, some engagement with stakeholders may be more spontaneous and/or casual in nature, and such interactions are always encouraged. To submit activities to the CCE engagement calendar, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- ABoVE PI Name
- ABoVE Project Name
- Description of Collaboration/Engagement Activity
- ABoVE Project Team members participating
- Dates of planned activities
- Location of planned activities