WWA Research Themes

Designing Organizations and Networks for Usable Science

How do we design organizations, institutions, and information networks to build climate resilience across a variety of contexts?

RISA programs and other entities have been prototyping climate engagement processes, research methods, and tools for almost twenty years. Over the past few decades there have been significant efforts to study and experiment with how to produce actionable science for society. Studies of successful examples show that information is used when it is relevant to the context of the problem, credible and of high quality, and legitimate in that users of the information perceive it to be unbiased.

We can think of the broader process of creating a better fit between the science that is produced and that which is needed as “reconciling supply of and demand for science” or co-production of knowledge. Studies show that co-production is achieved through intentional, ongoing engagement between scientists and decision makers that assesses information needs, builds social and technical capital and creates mutual learning. There has been less focus, however, on how research institutions and organizations should be designed so that they can foster the generation of usable knowledge, and how this design might vary according to the characteristics of the intended users of information.

Effective decision support and the creation of actionable science are context specific activities. Thus, few attempts have been made to systematically analyze ongoing climate engagement and services across scales, sectors, and decision needs. In this theme, we will build on WWA experience in prototyping climate information and tools and explore how to shape climate science research and outreach activities at the regional scale to produce usable information for stakeholders. The ultimate goal of this theme is to generate processes and procedures that can inform other entities in our region and nationally who seek to engage in the development and delivery of climate services.

Current Research Projects