GCSE is building programs that harness this untapped potential of universities to contribute to local community resilience. In 2019, GCSE officially absorbed Applied Solutions, a standing network of over 150 local governments across the United States.
Launched in 2008, Applied Solutions was a nonprofit organization that brought together local governments throughout the United States to help communities build a clean economy through implementing sustainable water and energy technology. Applied Solutions provided information to its affiliates through newsletters, webinars, a clean economy knowledge center, and technical guidebooks.
With Applied Solutions affiliates now a part of the GCSE network, GCSE is working to create a program to grow systemic capacity that links scientists and decision-makers. These connections will provide capacity to local governments and ultimately help transform the institutional relationships between universities and local communities to benefit sustained climate resilience.
Applied Solutions Science Advisories: Science and Public Service in the 21st Century
The Applied Solutions Science Advisory Initiative: Science and Public Service in the 21st Century will establish permanent mechanisms for the local academic scientific enterprise to engage collaboratively with local governments to provide ongoing science advisory support. This initiative addresses the critical need to span the boundaries between science and decision-making at the local level; leverages the under-utilized asset of intellectual capital nested in universities; grows the value for science and how to use it in decision-making as well as how to make science more useable; nurtures a deeper understanding through experience for public service and the role of science in society; and creates a continuous loop of knowledge that is current and often place-based.
The proposed structural innovation would leverage the local capital of university science to provide evidence and data that informs environmental decision-making. Chief Science Advisors (CSAs) or Local Science Advisories (LSAs) would offer an established and ongoing connection by a university (or a cluster of universities and community colleges) to the city/county or region where it is located. GCSE plans to launch a pilot program in 2021.