Evaluation for learning and innovation in actionable science for climate adaptation

Project Start Year

Principal Investigators


The impacts of climate change are already being observed and felt in our ecosystems and communities. Land and resource managers, planners, and decision-makers are looking for the best scientific information to guide their decisions about adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change now and in the future. To address this need, a primary goal of the Southwest Climate Science Center is to develop actionable science – scientific information that can be easily used to inform these decisions.
Evidence shows that more collaborative forms of knowledge development and exchange between scientists and decision makers tend to produce information that is considered more trusted and usable, and lead to higher-quality decisions about environmental management. However, there is still a need for more effective ways to integrate collaboration and co-production of knowledge into established research programs and organizational frameworks. There is also a need for a process to effectively evaluate projects that no longer resemble standard academic research because they integrate decision-makers in a full and collaborative manner.
The project researchers have developed a framework for the evaluation of collaboratively produced climate science that specifically addresses the process of producing and outcomes of actionable science. Through this project, the team is using this framework to evaluate a sample of projects funded by the Southwest CSC to determine: 1) To what extent the science is being applied to management decisions in the Southwest region, 2) What the barriers are to the use of science, and 3) Which practices or strategies are most associated with the production of actionable science.
The information garnered from this project can then be used to further develop processes for conducting and evaluating co-production of science. 

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