“Working with local and regional stakeholders takes time and requires realistic expectations,” says Melissa Kenney. As an Anchorassistant research professor in environmental decision support science at the University of Maryland, Kenney is building relationships with municipalities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to help craft research that’s relevant to local stakeholders and to test decision-making tools and processes on-the-ground. She emphasizes that communities need scientists who are available to answer questions related to science-based problems and solutions, including potential climate impacts. Kenney acknowledges that this level of engagement requires a sustained commitment from researchers to building these long-term relationships, but it helps ensure science has a seat at the policymaking table.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science applauded congressional leaders for their bipartisan support in backing fiscal 2017 funding for research and development programs, according to a letter AAAS sent to House and Senate leaders on Tuesday.
Tracey Holloway believes stakeholders should be part of the research process itself. That’s why for more than a decade, she has not only shared her air quality data with city, state and federal agencies who manage air pollution, she asks for their input on research projects as they are evolving. She wants to ensure her work “fills the gaps between existing science and stakeholders’ needs,” and isn’t just “scientists speaking to scientists.” These partnerships have been fruitful for Holloway, who says nearly all of her research contains some elements inspired by the air quality managers she works with.