Stakeholder Engagement in Environmental Model Development and Science Communication
Scientific research is key to understanding complex environmental systems and informing decisions about natural resource management in the context of climate change. However, when environmental science research is conducted without active stakeholder engagement, the result is typically development of new knowledge that does not directly serve the needs of individuals, industries and organizations that make decisions about environmental policy and resource management. Recent decades have seen rapidly expanding efforts to conduct environmental science research that directly informs government policies and private decision-makers’ management plans, yet significant barriers remain in the pursuit of usable climate science. Strategies for effective collaboration among researchers and stakeholders, who have diverse needs and expertise, are not well developed. Metrics are needed for evaluating approaches to usable climate science production. This research advances understanding of how to foster effective stakeholder engagement for usable climate science outputs, focusing on regional environmental modeling efforts based at universities. By tracking researchers’ perceptions about stakeholder engagement over the course of a 5-year project, assessing stakeholders’ information needs and perceptions of research and identifying characteristics of effective boundary-spanning organizations, this work suggests strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of efforts to produce usable climate science and identifies strategies for academic scientists to develop their capacity to bridge boundaries between research and decision-making.
One-time Alaskan fisheries observer, Peace Corps volunteer teacher in rural Armenia, wetland invertebrate researcher, bartender and bagel baker. These days I'm studying interactions among scientists engaged in regional earth systems model development and stakeholders in government, industry and NGOs. Currently I divide my time between Massachusetts and the Pacific Northwest. I'm interested in understanding how we can structure environmental research programs to inform policy decision making. A tangential interest is in the role that art can play in bridging communication gaps around climate science.
Publications and Presentations:
Extension Publication Fact Sheet: Allen, E., Yorgey, G., Rajagopalan, K., Kruger, C. 2015. Modeling environmental change: a guide to understanding model results that explore the impacts of climate change on regional environmental systems. Washington State University Extension, issuing body.
Georgine, Y., Kruger, C., Kantor, S., Zimmerman, T., Adam, J., Barber, M., Brady, M. Rajagopalan, K., Allen, E. 2012. Enhancing stateholder feedback on the 2011 long-term forecast of water supply and demand for the Columbia River basin. Washington State University (poster).