Supporting Convergence Research at the NNA-CO
The NNA-CO is committed to furthering convergence research—research that solves vexing and complex research challenges that are pivotal for addressing societal needs. NSF identifies two key characteristics of convergence research. First, convergence research is driven by a specific and compelling problem that is generally inspired by the need to address a specific challenge or opportunity, which may develop from deep scientific questions or critical societal needs. Second, convergence research is formed from deep integration across disciplines. The NNA initiative emphasizes convergence across the physical environment, social systems, and the built environment, though all disciplines and knowledge systems are welcome in addressing the challenges of a rapidly changing Arctic. As individuals across fields work together, knowledge, ideas, methods, and languages intermingle, expanding the possibilities to find transformational new frameworks and to sustain long-term collaboration across communities.
Several NNA-CO activities will encourage and support successful convergence research. Staggered Convergence Working Groups will bring together representatives across NNA projects (including Early Career Fellows) to tackle important community issues, explore and/or establish best practices, connect with new and expanded stakeholders, and bring their findings to the broader community. To enhance knowledge exchange and spur new connections, the NNA-CO will host monthly online webinars from NNA investigators and collaborators. Recognizing the collective responsibility of the NNA community to engage within policy and decision making, the NNA-CO will also collaborate with the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) on creating a new forum for sharing. Finally, the NNA-CO will co-develop a ‘science for society’ storytelling framework that, as an adaption of the ‘science policy brief’ concept, will help to convey the state of NNA science and its societal importance through narratives and visualizations.
Convergence Research at the National Science Foundation
Growing Convergence Research was identified by the NSF in 2016 as one of the 10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments, and NSF is emphasizing convergence across the Foundation’s activities. To understand how NSF views Convergence Research, they provide information on what it is, reports and references that address convergence, characteristics of convergence projects, and examples of convergence projects.
Convergence Research and Navigating the New Arctic
Many resources and reports that began to use the phrase ‘convergence research’ and to discuss it within the sciences were focused on links across technology, life sciences, and physical sciences. The concepts of convergence research, however, are more widely applicable. While not yet well-represented in the scientific and academic literature, convergence research may underpin many successful projects that address the changing Arctic.
Articles addressing Convergence Research in the Arctic include:
- ‘On the Road to Convergence Research’ by Niki Wilson
- ‘Is A Common Goal A False Hope in Convergence Research?: Opportunities and Challenges of International Convergence Research to Address Arctic Change’ by Ernakovich et al.
We welcome community recommendations for additional resources.