OOS 26-1 - Creating science that makes a difference

Wednesday, August 10, 2011: 1:30 PM
16B, Austin Convention Center
Lori A. Hidinger, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Background/Question/Methods and Results/Conclusions

In 2011, the US government will spend over $10 billion on research and development in the biological and ecological sciences. That research has important implications for the wide variety of problems facing our society including environmental and climate change, rapid urbanization, and public health. Given the complexity and the significance of such challenges, how can those involved in designing, directing, or conducting research effectively do so to make progress toward desired social goals? The Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University and its partners are developing tools to better enable scientists to make a difference. The Usable Science project addresses the challenge of creating science to meet the changing needs of decision makers, by understanding and connecting with potential users of science in setting the course of research. The fundamental conclusion of our work is that science best meets the needs of decision makers when those needs are considered throughout the institutions, policies, and processes that constitute the scientific enterprise. Another part of creating science that makes a difference is creating scientists who think differently, who think beyond the iterative steps they are making in their research to look at the research enterprise holistically. In addition to working with established scientists interested in the policy relevancy of their work, CSPO is training science and engineering graduate students to look at the broader policy, societal, legal, and ethical implications of their own work and that of the research agenda, in hopes of creating scientists who have the capacity to engage with these broader aspects throughout their careers.

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