Translational training for tomorrow’s environmental scientists
Environmental science exists to seek solutions to problems related to human-nature interactions. Unfortunately, in many cases, environmental research findings are not effectively used because scientists are not able to convey their knowledge effectively to policy makers and the public, and/or because the questions they address are not directly linked to the answers stakeholders need. To address this issue, Schlesinger (2010) called for development of a “translational ecology” that would be understandable and usable by decision-makers, interest groups, and citizens. A barrier to usable science is that researchers are not usually trained to be translational. We convened a multi-disciplinary group of scholars to identify a comprehensive pedagogical approach for training doctoral students to be translational scientists. From this work has emerged a list of 53 skills, content areas, and dispositional attributes that lead to translational research in environmental science, as well as a set of instructional approaches that can be used to build those competencies. Future work will identify examples of how instructional activities can be linked to competencies to provide accessible tools and activities in support of a “community of practice” whose work enhances social-ecological resilience through translational environmental science.
KeywordsTranslational ecology Graduate education Social-ecological systems Usable science
This work was supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) under funding received from the National Science Foundation DBI-1052875.
- Bammer G (2005) Integration and implementation sciences: building a new specialization. Ecol Soc 10(2):6. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol10/iss2/art6/
- Clauset A, Arbesman S et al (2015) Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks. Science Advances 1(12Feb), e1400005. http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/1/e1400005.short
- Coimbra Group (2012) Survey on PhD program structures and administration in Europe and North America. http://www.coimbra-group.eu/transdoc/index.php?page=survey.
- Cronin B (2005) The hand of science: academic writing and its rewards. Scarecrow PressGoogle Scholar
- Hirsch Hadorn G, Hoffmann-Riem H et al (eds) (2008) Handbook of transdisciplinary research. Springer, ZurichGoogle Scholar
- Mankoff SP, Brander C, et al (2004) Lost in translation: obstacles to translational medicine. J Translational Med 2:14. http://www.translational-medicine.com/content/2/1/14
- Marincola FM (2003) Translational medicine: a two-way road. J Translational Med 1:1. http://www.translational-medicine.com/content/1/1/1
- SPARC (2010) Usable science: a handbook for science policy decision makers. http://cstpr.colorado.edu/sparc/outreach/sparc_handbook/
- Stokes DE (2007) Pasteur’s quadrant: basic science and technological innovation. Brookings Institution, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- Whitmer A, Ogden L et al (2010) The engaged university: providing a platform for research that transforms society. Frontiers Ecol Environ 8:314–21. doi:10.1890.090241Google Scholar