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Science plays a pivotal role in society’s ability to address environmental change, technology innovation, and inequality. However, segments of society doubt that science can meet modern challenges and distrust information they receive about science. I am the lead investigator of an effort to understand and enhance scientists' capacity to use transdisciplinary approaches to modern challenges.
Through this project, we hypothesize that issues of public trust in science stem from lack of connection, inspiration, and creativity among stakeholders. Social, cultural, visual, and communication disciplines are essential in cultivating adaptive capacity. This adaptive capacity is what universities work to inform and foster, but it is not clear to what extent our institution is presently able to do so.
Our current work includes: (a) a mixed methods approach (interviews, surveys) to understand how transdisicplinary research impacts are understood, reported, and supported and (b) experimental training programs to investigate how transdisciplinary training can enhance research creativity, community-based co-production, and effective sharing of research.
This work is supported in part by UW Grand Challenges, the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station's Global Perspectives Program, and the WyoGlobal Program.