27 January 2020
WASHINGTON—The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has been awarded a grant from The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop a new project, “Building an Enduring Grassroots Constituency for Science,” that will create science-community partnerships in eight communities across the United States.
These partnerships will be driven by the Thriving Earth Exchange, an AGU Centennial project which advances community science. Community science is when community leaders, scientists, and local organizations work together to design and implement projects that leverage science to produce local impact.
The project will focus on communities that are:
(1) advancing local priorities that could be replicated and have a wider impact
(2) excluded in setting scientific priorities and have been historically marginalized
(3) experiencing environmental injustice
(4) already are facing the impacts of climate change and are taking steps to adapt
“Community science is designed to make a tangible local impact. When done well, it can enhance community capacity, advance equity, enrich scientific practices, diversify the sciences, address global challenges, and build public trust and support for science,” said AGU Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Chris McEntee. “As the far-reaching impacts of global climate change continue to mount, this generous grant from The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will empower eight communities in the U.S. to take action to address these growing challenges.”
AGU will work with a strong network of existing community partners in the community selection process including National League of Cities, Public Lab, International County and City Managers Association, Flood Forum, Higher Ground, Environmental Justice Alliance, and ICLEI. Communities selected will work collaboratively with a community science fellow and AGU scientists and will participate in community outreach and engagement activities on behalf of their community-science partnership including addressing public audiences, media, and decision makers.
“All Thriving Earth Exchange projects start with the community. The grant from The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will equip these communities to more fully engage with science and scientists, to self-advocate, and develop sustainable and community-led solutions to community challenges,” said Thriving Earth Exchange Director Raj Pandya. “This project embodies AGU’s mission to promote discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity.”
“While sharing information related to advances in the Earth and space sciences directly with communities is invaluable, we are especially excited about this project’s potential to help communities articulate their insights and interests to scientists, and participate in setting scientific research agendas. Building from authentic community priorities and focusing on creating actionable solutions to real world problems is a novel approach to science education and engagement,” said Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Program Director Janet Coffey. “We look forward to learning from the successes and challenges of AGU’s effort and helping drive momentum for this promising approach.”
The outcomes of the “Building an Enduring Grassroots Constituency for Science” include the emergence of community leaders who understand and can talk about the value of science and who are willing to increase awareness of its role in community-led development; scientists who are equipped with the skills and savvy to work with communities and convey the value of that work and science in general to non-technical audiences and local leaders; and a set of descriptive materials and collateral that support local leaders and scientists in making the case for science and science-informed decision making, including local examples of how science makes a difference in the lives of citizens.
AGU is currently accepting applications for community leaders and community science fellows to join the 2020 Science, Policy, and Engagement Cohort that will support the “Building an Enduring Grassroots Constituency for Science” project. More information about Thriving Earth Exchange can be found at www.thrivingearthexchange.org.
Founded in 1919, AGU is a not-for-profit scientific society dedicated to advancing Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. We support 60,000 members, who reside in 135 countries, as well as our broader community, through high-quality scholarly publications, dynamic meetings, our dedication to science policy and science communications, and our commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce, as well as many other innovative programs. AGU is home to the award-winning news publication Eos, the Thriving Earth Exchange, where scientists and community leaders work together to tackle local issues, and a headquarters building that represents Washington, D.C.’s first net zero energy commercial renovation.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters path-breaking, scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements, and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area. Visit Moore.org and follow @MooreFound
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