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Co-Producing Knowledge with Communities: Equity in Federal Research Programs

Thursday, May 12, 4-6 pm

A conversation with White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Dr. Alondra Nelson followed by an interactive community forum and reception

Join White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Dr. Alondra Nelson at 4 pm on Thursday, May 12th for a discussion of equitable community participation in federally funded research. Dr. Nelson’s talk on this multi-dimensional science policy issue will be followed by an interactive forum featuring the experiences and perspectives of community members, researchers, funders, and other stakeholders.

Unlike basic science, where knowledge generation is the domain of scientists alone, research conducted for the purpose of decision-making involves broad publics with their own knowledge systems and values. Since the 1990s, the U.S. federal government has established climate research and decision-support programs to produce science that supports local, regional, and national policies. Federal agencies are increasingly using the term co-production to describe engagement with diverse groups of stakeholders in which new knowledge or products are created within these types of programs. One of the challenges, however, is developing equitable processes that address the needs of all communities, facilitating their ability to meaningfully participate.

Since February 2022, Dr. Nelson has been performing the duties of the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). As OSTP’s first deputy director for science and society and a leading scholar in science, technology, medicine, and social inequality, Dr. Nelson will give a keynote presentation on co-producing knowledge with communities, followed by a moderated discussion. During the second hour, representatives from American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange will lead a forum in which audience members will have opportunities to speak about their own experiences, answering the question “What does equitable co-production look like in practice?” and “Optimally, what should it look like?” Representatives from the National Academies will also be on hand with reports and information related to their work with communities.

This event is co-hosted by the National Academies Board on Environmental Change and Society (BECS) with George Mason University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Staff from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange are also participating in conjunction with a National Science Foundation-funded initiative

Thursday, May 12, 4-7 pm

Event host and moderator: Dr. Julian Reyes, National Coordinator, USDA Climate Hubs program

4 pm—Welcome 
Dr. Carlotta Arthur, Executive Director, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

4:05 pm—Research institutions as community partners 
Dr. Mark R. Ginsberg, Provost and Executive Vice President of George Mason University

4:10 pm—Partnerships with Tribal nations
Dr. Charlene Stern, Vice Chancellor for Rural, Community and Native Education, University of Alaska Fairbanks

4:15-4:45 pm—Keynote address and moderated Q&A 
Dr. Alondra Nelson, performing the duties of the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)  

4:45-4:50 pm—Transition to the second portion of the program in the Great Hall; 
hors d’oeuvres and refreshments 

5:00-6:00 pm—What does equitable co-production look like in practice? A discussion
In a moderated forum in the Great Hall, audience members will have opportunities to speak and take questions on their experiences and perspectives on what co-production of knowledge with communities optimally should look like in order to be equitable.

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