Lessons from the Field - Center Directors’ Perspectives on Catalyzing Convergence
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Synopsis: Research teams that pursue convergence will confront a variety of difficulties. To help identify and cope with some of these difficulties, NSF has assembled a panel of experts who have led large research centers, and so have experience with convergence at a variety of scales. Whether it’s a single science team, a team of teams, or an entire research center, our panelists have gleaned insights from years of experience catalyzing convergence.
Enabling Conditions for Convergence Science: The Role of Formal Interventions
Presented by Maritza Salazar Campo, Assistant Professor of Organization and Management, Paul Merage School of Business, University of California-Irvine
May 27, 2021
Synopsis: The complexity of scientific problems, coupled with a growing need for specialized expertise, requires the formation of teams of experts who collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to generate scientific breakthroughs. The variety of knowledge available in convergence science teams provides the breadth of expertise to tackle complex problems that would be intractable by a single discipline.Â This presentation demonstrates the use of formal interventions to support early-stage discovery collaborations focused on curing devastating diseases. To advance their objectives, these collaborations must overcome profound differences in members' specialized knowledge while simultaneously having little familiarity and limited prior histories of collaboration with one another to build from.
CONVERGE: Coming Together to Advance Hazards and Disaster Research
Presented by Lori Peek - Professor, Department of Sociology Director, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado Boulder
April 22, 2021
Synopsis: The United States is caught in a disaster loss spiral. The increasing frequency and intensity of disasters, coupled with the growth of the field of disaster research, suggests an urgent need for a more coherent convergence-oriented approach to help guide what we study, who we study, how we conduct studies, and who is involved in the research process itself. The NSF-funded CONVERGE facility—which was established in 2018 as the first social science-led component of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI)—advances convergence research for the hazards and disaster community. This presentation describes the activities of CONVERGE and showcases the various available resources such as online training modules, research check sheets, and convergence research agendas. It also highlights how CONVERGE is building the social infrastructure that brings together networks of researchers from geotechnical engineering, the social sciences, structural engineering, nearshore science, operations and systems engineering, environmental engineering, and interdisciplinary science and engineering.
The Concept of Convergence, with Illustration to Emerging Technologies
Presented by Mihail C. Roco - Senior Advisor for Science and Engineering National Science Foundation
March 25, 2021
Synopsis: Convergence trends have been inherent in knowledge and human development. Convergence is a problem-solving strategy to holistically understand and transform a system for reaching a compelling common goal, such as advancing an emerging technology in society. The convergence approach typically begins with deep integration of previously separate fields, communities, and modes of thinking, to form and improve a new system, from where solutions diverge to previously unattainable applications and outcomes. Basic principles and methods to facilitate convergence and examples of their application were presented.
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