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Research Review: Agenda setting articles and their approaches to couplings, complexity, and a functional diversity.
After a few weeks of hearing practice job talks and learning about visiting scholar Karin Ingold’s work, the folks associated with the Center for Environmental Behavior and Policy discussed two articles of suggested by Kelly Garabach. Both the Liu et al. (2007) and Diaz et al. (2011) articles were short articles that we classified as most useful in their ability to contribute to ‘agenda setting’ in research related to social-ecological systems. Due to illness, Kelly was not present to lead the discussion however, I was pleased to later learn that she had intended the discussion to center around the utility of agenda setting papers and their relevance to the way our lab frames its research interests and priorities. As a group, we talked about the ability of both frameworks to appropriately embody social-ecological research questions and the challenges of collaborative research in all its disciplinary forms.
I recently responded to a broadcast call from the US Environmental Protection Agency to provide input into the shape of their social and behavioral science research agenda. I just finished an interview with the consultant they hired to gather input. The interview was conducted by a general environmental consultant firm under contract with EPA. It consisted of a few semi-structured interview questions that were very general, for example "what are the most important questions studied by social and behavioral sciences?" So one answer to that question that is basically useless is "how do humans behave?" There we some more focused questions though, for example what are the top 5 environmental problems facing the globe that EPA should be studying and how should social and behavioral sciences be involved.
Mark and I have been collaborating with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from Michigan State, Rutgers, UC Berkeley, Penn and Xerces Society on a USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grant. We are gearing up to submit the 5-year project proposal for review this week. Our SCRI research will evaluate the role of native pollinators in providing important ecosystem services in specialty crops including almonds, cherries, blueberries, and cucurbits. The most exciting part of the project has been developing a farmer survey, which will be implemented in specialty crop hot spots in CA, MI, and Pennsylvania. The survey will link farmer decision-making on pollinator management and ecological outcomes for levels of pollination in three regions of the U.S. Check out more on our project website, http://www.icpbees.org/