Navigating the boundary of science for decision making at the state and local level

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Scientific information should play a vital role in many decision making processes, yet issues incorporating geoscience information often arise due to inherent differences between how scientists and decision makers operate. Decision makers and scientists have different priorities, produce work at different rates, and often lack an understanding of each others institutional constraints. Boundary organizations, entities that facilitate collaboration and information flow across traditional boundaries such as that between scientists and decision makers, are in a unique position to improve the dialogue between disparate groups. The American Geosciences Institute (AGI), a nonprofit federation of 50 geoscience societies and organizations, is linking the geoscience and decision-making communities through its Critical Issues Program. AGIs Critical Issues program has first-hand experience in improving the transfer of information across the science-decision making boundary, particularly in areas pertaining to water resources and hazards. This presentation will focus on how, by collaborating with organizations representing the decision making and geoscience communities to inform our program development, we have created our three main content types website, webinar series, and research database to better meet the needs of the decision-making process. The program presents existing geoscience information in a way that makes the interconnected nature of geoscience topics more easily understood, encourages discussion between the scientific and decision-making communities, and has established a trusted source of impartial geoscience information. These efforts have focused on state and local decision maker groups that increasingly influence climate and risk-related decisions, yet often lack the resources to access and understand geoscience information.

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  • Leila Gonzales*
  • Charlotte Wood*
  • American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2015