OOS 74-5
Safeguards, sustainability, security: How USAID puts 'useable science' to work

Thursday, August 13, 2015: 2:50 PM
317, Baltimore Convention Center
Alexis C. Erwin, Office of Sustainable Development, USAID/Africa Bureau
Background/Question/Methods: Usable (or translational) science is the co-creation of knowledge in an adaptive, iterative manner that yields mutual learning and utility for stakeholders. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) advances both the theory and practice of usable science through its mission to “partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity.” This mission affords many opportunities to bring ecological data and approaches to bear on both the causes and consequences of poverty.

Results/Conclusions: This talk will present President Obama’s Feed the Future and Power Africa Initiatives as case studies in usable science. Around the world, 800 million people go to bed hungry every night. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, 650 million people lack access to reliable, affordable power. While addressing food insecurity and power limitations demands much more than ecology, ecologists play an important role at USAID by designing environmental and social safeguards; enhancing the sustainability of local agro-economic systems; and fostering the scientific enterprise of developing countries. These multi-stakeholder approaches represent both science for development and science as development. They respond to the needs of local communities while advancing our security. Thus, working in international development offers ecologists an exciting opportunity to leverage their research and worldview for societal benefit.