With more than 1,700 universities in the United States, and an estimated 28,000 worldwide, the Global Council for Science and the Environment (GCSE) recognizes an underutilized opportunity to engage the university-based scientific enterprise to enhance community resilience. At this moment in time, accentuated by the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, stronger linkages between the university knowledge enterprise and decision-makers can lead to mutual benefit, creating a durable feedback loop that results in cutting-edge science and evidence-informed decisions that advance the resilience of communities in a sustained manner.
The GCSE Resilience Collaborative Initiative provides an opportunity for GCSE Members to engage in the development and execution of several new programs that will leverage the untapped potential of universities as partners in community resilience, and that align strategically with other GCSE initiatives, such as the Applied Solutions Science Advisories. The work of the GCSE Resilience Collaborative Initiative will take a multi-pronged approach in the coming years, centered on building capacity and leading research.
Resilience Conservation Service Corps (RCSC)
In order to support our networks of universities and Applied Solutions’ local governments), GCSE is launching a pilot of the GCSE Resilience Conservation Service Corps (RCSC) in partnership with Groundwork USA and Long Island University (LIU). Modeled off AmeriCorps, the RCSC will link students (ages 16-25) with local and state governments across the United States to work on resilience projects. These immersion experiences will create sustained systemic capacity that unites scientists and decision-makers in a real-world resilience setting. At a time when the coronavirus is thwarting job opportunities and stretching government capacity to deal with the fallout, the RCSC will provide meaningful work experience for students and critical capacity for local government projects and programs. GCSE will act as the RCSC’s program developer and coordinator, in addition to providing pre-immersion training that emphasizes a co-learning approach.
Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge Networks and Vulnerable Communities
As part of GCSE’s commitment to becoming an antiracist, multicultural and inclusive organization, GCSE will focus significantly on including and integrating Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) into the organization and across all of GCSE’s work. Of specific priority, building a dialogue with indigenous scientists is critical to enable the knowledge-sharing of both Western science and indigenous research towards improved decision-making for resilience. This will be a long-arc engagement, one that involves a sustained effort to build bridges with tribal and native universities, engage in substantive dialogue and listening, and design opportunities for university scientists and tribal leaders to work collaboratively on community resilience.
National Research Agenda on Resilience
GCSE intends to play a role in both articulating the questions that can frame and shape a broader research agenda on resilience. The national resilience research agenda will focus on questions and issues that are transdisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and pluridisciplinary -- leading with some of the challenges in integrating the social and natural sciences. The goal of this research agenda will be to identify key questions and challenge traditional approaches to more siloed funding mechanisms. GCSE will outline a path forward that accelerates convergence opportunities with respect to funding approaches by federal agencies.
GCSE is leading an effort to map the emergence of resilience education as a discipline across higher education in the U.S. and align these findings with place-based consideration for different job sectors. The goal of this work is to understand how higher education can grow and support a future workforce that is ready to engage in rapidly growing fields — such as clean energy, sustainability, regenerative agriculture, and others.
University-Industry Partnerships for Environmental Risk Resilience
GCSE is collaborating with Arizona State University and Penn State University, who are leading an effort that would bring together industry and academia to advance risk management, data analytics, and resilient management tools, as well as build skills for a science and engineering workforce.