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Breakout Session C1: Integration of Disciplinary Areas


Deal with interdisciplinary work in grants and areas outside the BE program ... These can be framed as scenarios and placed in risk assessment framework. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Breakout Session C1: Integration of Disciplinary Areas

Breakout Session C1 Integration of Disciplinary
  • BE vs. be
  • Deal with interdisciplinary work in grants and
    areas outside the BE program
  • Emphasize priorities in complex environmental
    systems to disciplinary panels, esp. interacting
    human and natural systems (not to replace core

Session C1
Interdisciplinary Approaches (BE )
How Long Will This Take?
Next generations of researchers, But does this
lead to
Session C1
Scientific Questions
Session C1
ecologist economist Or economist
ecologist Vs. Real Collaboration
Session C1
To help future BE projects
Current Biocomplexity Studies
Really study current projects To see what
worked And what did not
Breakout Session C2 Environmental Synthesis
I Integration of disciplinary areas into broad
interdisciplinary approaches
Session C2
Researcher Networks
  • Assembling BE teams
  • -tendency toward checklist approach
  • -should be based on based on previous
  • -opportunities were limited before BE but this is
    now changing

Session C2 Researcher Networks (cont)
  • Continuing our collaborations
  • -Many teams will just be gaining momentum after 5
  • -Will there be opportunities to continue these
    interactions? What is the expected time horizon
    of individual projects?

Session C2 Synthesis
  • workshops, planning grants to summarize and
    synthesize results
  • follow up proposals for cross-site comparisons
  • conference like this one years from now when
    projects, results are more mature

Session C2 Infrastructure Developments
  • Some BE projects have developed extensive
    computing capability
  • Programmers are needed - draw on computer
    science students looking for projects?
  • Draw on NEON infrastructure if initiated
  • Directory of technical expertise and technology
    from BE instrumentation projects

Session C2 Water as a complex system
  • some concern that this significantly narrows the
    scope of BE
  • will this be one of several potential BE topics?

Breakout Session C3 Integration of Disciplinary
  • Reseacher Networks
  • Web site for posting BE abstracts, PI contact
    information, and links to individual project
  • Meeting/symposia on BE within existing
    professional societies
  • Newsletter
  • List of participants

Session C3
  • 2,3, and 4) Opportunities, Gaps, Synthesis, and
  • Organize/fund National Center for Biocomplexity
  • Model after similar for ecology (e.g., NCEAS)
  • Virtual and/or Real
  • Go there for research on existing data sets

Breakout Session C4 International Cooperation
for Sustainable Development
  • Unique international partnerships in BE ?
  • BE to benefit of international community ?

Session C4 Message!
  • Major benefits in international partnerships
  • Cool, but more than just cool
  • True collaborations (not scientific imperialism)
  • Int. collaborators bring expertise, alternate
    perspectives, gained from diverse cultural,
    environmental and scientific experience
  • With regard to LDC responsibility to support (or
    support development of) true collaborators
  • NSF should (continue to) support International
    collaboration !!

Session C4 Unique international partnerships in
BE ?
  • Many biocomplexity issues are global issues!
  • land, oceans and atmosphere land-use,
    biodiversity, pollution, economics, trade an
    international perspective is needed
  • BE and NSF allow fundamental (not only applied)
    research stimulating/enriching (especially for
    LDC collaborators), and provide better grounding
    for applied science.
  • Further - the systems approach implicit in BE is
    particularly suited to applied problems !
  • Great opportunities via IGBP, IHDP, WMO, ICSU
  • Provide an umbrella for collaborative science and
    sexed-up proposals
  • Funding and collaborative opportunities exist in
    the UN, NGO and Private Foundation arenas (but
    these can be v. hard to navigate!)

Session C4 BE to benefit of international
community ?
  • Scientist level
  • the benefits of collaborative science scientific
    advancement, career advancement, publications,
    etc. (and/or enhanced training opportunities in
    countries where student opportunities are
  • Engagement with international scientific
    community, international scientific networking
    and communication
  • Skills that contribute to teaching and research
    in home countries
  • National level
  • Policy and management understanding and tools
    that derive from the BE/systems approach
  • e.g. IVth Framework conventions carbon trading
  • Applied solutions to complex problems in the
    environment, development and sustainability

Session C4 Issues
  • Recognition and support for Int. collaborators
    can be difficult (Fastlane registration works!).
  • Were often forced to explore multiple and
    complex funding sources for International
  • Homeland Int. collaboration…? (visas!)
  • BE and NSF-INT (new INT funding for BE research?)
  • NSF Facilitation Role ?
  • For matching funds that support Int. partners
  • Sister agencies in other countries
  • Alternative funding sources for countries where
    research support limited (UN, foundations)

Session C4 Code of Practice for International
  • An NSF-INT workshop ?
  • Cutting through Scientific Imperialism

Breakout Session C5 International Cooperaton
BE research offers special opportunities for
addressing questions that are relevant to more
sustainable development, and international
projects provide both special rewards and
challenges to NSF research.
  • NSF could encourage more research and
    international collaborations that focus on
    sustainable development issues, and which
    therefore involve significant capacity-building
    components to the collaborations.

Session C5
  • NSF should encourage BE (and other) investigators
    working in developing countries to acknowledge
    special responsibilities to ensure that foreign
    researchers who become involved in NSF-supported
    projects are not exploited. Issues to be
    considered include the formulation of research
    questions, authorship of publications,
    compensation, educational or career benefits, as
    well as scientific benefits to the societies
    where research takes place.
  • In particular, compensation rules and guidelines
    (e.g., whats allowed, whats not, Best
    Practices) require greater clarity consistency,
    since different programs at NSF have different
    requirements or interpretations.
  • (In some cases, a compensation-for-output model
    of support was recommended over a development
    style of bulk payment.)
  • Professional societies codes of ethics could be
    reflected and reinforced.
  • Although data-sharing with host countries is an
    important goal in general, NSF should allow the
    discretion of researchers, balancing risks
    harms, to withhold data about particularly
    sensitive issues (e.g., the locations of at risk
    species, habitats, or human communities).
  • Concerns about contributing to brain drain in
    host countries were discussed.
  • Results of Prior Support should include
    accomplishments in areas of capacity building.

Session C5
  • NSF should facilitate the communication of
    relevant research results to other agencies
    (e.g., USAID) to help guide development efforts.
  • This could help make development efforts more
  • And help create the basic human and physical
    infrastructure that is beyond the
    capacity-building efforts of single research
  • NSF should consider ways of providing greater
    budgetary flexibility to international projects.
  • changes in currency exchange rates over the
    course of a project may greatly alter the ability
    to support the proposed research.
  • Following international protocols (e.g.,
    prolonged in-country visits for
    capacity-building) may increase project costs

Session C5
BE research, building on regional and global data
products and research from such agencies as NASA
and NOAA, offers opportunities to address
transboundary dynamics in highly integrative
ways. US-funded research can thereby contribute
to solving complex transboundary
problems. US-based researchers can serve as
cultural ambassadors in international settings,
providing positive individual role-models to
people whose other associations with US policy
may be less positive.
Breakout Session C6 The Future of Biocomplexity
  • Programmatic issues
  • Forecasting issues
  • Tools
  • What should we have learned by 2010
  • What should BE look like in 2010

Session C6 Programmatic Issues
  • Potential for renewal or new grants from current
  • Maybe program should be permanent
  • Do we need an institute (maybe like NCEAS) on
    complex environmental systems as a
    training/resource center?
  • Sense that CNH is particularly unique within BE
    and should be on-going.
  • Need more social scientists at the table.

Session C6 Forecasting Issues
  • We need to go beyond hypothesis testing toward
    science-based decision making.
  • models of everything are problematic
  • Forecasting drives development of models, but
    feedbacks, path dependence, multiple equillibria
    make prediction difficult
  • Question could be recast to what can we and what
    can we not know or predict?

Session C6 Forecasting Issues (cont.)
  • Dealing with questions of sustainability in
    current systems often becomes politicized.
  • Balance between basic and applied nature of
    research is important. Often breaks down to
    dealing with long- vs. short-term problems.
  • Hurricane prediction a good example of need to
    link model outputs with understanding of behavior
    (predictions tempered by possibility of being
    wrong i.e., crying wolf).

Session C6 Tools
  • BE could consider setting up virtual centers from
    projects that are topically similar, perhaps
    toward the end of the program. These could
    address data and cultural issues discussed
  • Distributed/mobile sensor networks needed on

Session C6 What should we know by 2010?
  • To what degree are some earth systems resilient
    to human perturbations of various magnitudes?
  • What patterns of human settlements are most
  • To what degree can policies be tuned to the
    spatial and temporal scales of social and
    environmental processes?
  • How can multiple policies be implemented such
    that they are compatible for various ends?

Session C6 What should we know by 2010? (cont.)
  • A slew of examples in which dynamics of a system
    learned through a BE project have improved
    function/ management of that system.
  • Be able to explain what Biocomplexity is to
  • Be able to demonstrate how biocomplexity
    perspective complements traditional perspectives
    in the natural sciences.

Session C6 What should BE look like in 2010?
  • A 1 billion / year permanent program.

Breakout Sessions C7 and C8 The Future of
Question 1.
  • Forecasting versus predicting
  • Agent-based modeling approaches are promising
  • Historians are important experts than can help
    inform modeling activities.
  • How well can we explore the probabilities of
    outcomes (game theory, market models)
  • Expert judgment/Delphi techniques can be valuable
  • View human systems as part of the natural
    system ? they are not different
  • Need to address assumption of forecasting goal.
    It is likely that there are multiple states.
    These can be framed as scenarios and placed in
    risk assessment framework.
  • Need to reconstruct models that might consider
  • Is there a lack of a common theory that ties
    human systems to natural systems? Resilience,
    panarchy, tipping points.
  • Detailed historical studies. Lack of
    experiments that integrate human and natural

Sessions C7 and C8
  • Question 2.
  • Answered above. All to the list cited.
  • Faster computers.
  • Methods that integrate social science, and bio-
    and physical science approaches (surveys and
  • Question 3
  • Advance ability of disciplines to communicate
    with one another.
  • Have humans more integrated into the natural
  • More unified theory of how humans integrate
    natural systems.

Sessions C7 and C8
  • By 2010, we must be able to test BE hypotheses
    with greater certainty
  • Going beyond discovery-based science?
  • By 2010, we must have more, well-trained
    scientists that can take on cross-cutting BE