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Akerlof Receives Award From NSF For Project On Equity In Scientific Co-Production Processes

Karen Akerlof, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science and Policy,received funding from the National Science Foundation for a project in which she will develop a framework for addressing equity concerns in the co-production of knowledge with University of Alaska Fairbanks co-PI Kristin Timm. Employing Q methodology techniques, the study will identify common discourses among U.S. regional climate science center scientists, stakeholders, and partners in governance, such as tribal nations. These data—collected through interviews and a survey—will serve as an initial draft of the framework to be vetted at a workshop held with co-production scholars, representatives of historically underserved communities, federal agency program managers, and the interviewed co-production scientist and stakeholder groups.

Publication of a special journal issue on equity and co-production will follow the workshop.

The project will contribute to the development of co-production and related literatures by empirically establishing differences in the ways that its processes and outcomes may be perceived, connecting normative and descriptive strands of a multidisciplinary field that crosses public administration, sustainability science, and science and technology studies (STS).

This project will leverage the experiences and perspectives of scientists and stakeholders who have worked with these programs to lend insights for the development of co-production processes that facilitate equitable partnerships with communities. By focusing on key federal programs and working in collaboration with an advisory board of agency staff and national organizations that support social justice, the project increases its transformative potential and likelihood of broader impacts to science policy and government investments.

Akerlof received an award of $206,765 from the National Science Foundation for this research. Funding began in July 2021 and will end in late September 2022.