Category Archives: Events

Dinner parties and sandpits: Intensive retreats to catalyze science collaborations

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, in the last of a three part series of reflections on the Science of Team Science 2017 conference, Fellow Jennifer Davison explores several intensive retreat models for scientific collaboration.

Posted by Jennifer Davison, Program Manager at Urban@UW

Food in bowls
Carefully selected ingredients make the best dinner-
and team building retreat. Credit: “Housewarming Party” by Mikko Kuhna, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The art and practice of providing specific conditions designed to spark novel projects is not new. Business incubators, science parks, and innovation districts are each designed to bring a diverse array of bright people into the same space and to facilitate their interaction, in order to trigger and support new collaborations. At Science of Team Science, many conversations explored how to cultivate research collaborations in a specific, similar way: through themed, time-constrained, highly curated, retreat-like events. I love these events when I’ve joined them, even though they may feel a bit scripted, because the potential of the partnerships and ideas is felt so strongly. And as program manager for Urban@UW, one of my roles is to encourage such collaborations, through as efficient means as possible. So I was interested in both the best practices for setting up such events, and the evidence for their effectiveness.

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A how-to guide for training scientific teams: More reflections on SciTS 2017

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, in part 2 of a three part series of reflections on the Science of Team Science 2017 conference, Fellow Jennifer Davison shares tips on how to train a scientific team.

Posted by Jennifer Davison, Program Manager at Urban@UW

Although I work as a community manager, I am trained as an ecologist. In graduate school, along with studying climate change and its impacts on plant and animal communities, I learned skills like experimental design, geographic information systems, and statistical methodologies: relatively transferrable skills that are important for being an effective scientist. I was also taught that what’s most valued in academic research are peer-reviewed papers, preferably where you are the first or only author, in the highest-impact journal in which you can get your work accepted. By contrast, I did not receive much instruction or mentorship around skills like teamwork, conflict management, facilitation, or cultural competency.

And yet, it turns out that these kinds of skills are what can make or break collaborative research—a type of scholarship that is becoming more and more important as the challenges we face continue to complexify. (that’s a new word I just made up.) So, it’s not surprising that at the Science of Team Science annual conference there was a lot of discussion about how to train scholars to collaborate.

Continue reading A how-to guide for training scientific teams: More reflections on SciTS 2017

Supporting science collaborations in higher education: a community manager’s perspective

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, Fellow Jennifer Davison shares the first in a three part series of reflections Science of Team Science 2017 conference.

Posted by Jennifer Davison, Program Manager at Urban@UW

As we all remember from group projects in high school, working together is usually more challenging than going it alone. However, collaborative projects almost always lead to more awesome results. The differences within the collaborating group can lead to a more integrated understanding of the project, and a more robust approach to an outcome. With our society facing increasingly complex challenges, more perspectives are sorely needed. This is where research collaborations—aka team science—come in.

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Collaborative technologies – facilitating how we conduct research together

Posted by Lou Woodley, Community Engagement Director – Trellis and Program Director – AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program

3 people using laptops. Two have letters and numbers obscuring their heads.
Illustration from Think Quarterly by Matt Taylor

Last week I attended the Science of Team Science (SciTS) conference in Clearwater Beach, Florida where I took part in a couple of sessions, and moderated a third. Here I’m going to share some reflections from the first session which focused on collaborative technologies for academic collaborations.

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Trellis on the road: Summer 2017

Hand with pen circling locations on a map
Map” by rawpixel.com

The Trellis team is getting ready for a summer of conferences, webinars, and workshops. We’ll be showcasing the scientific community engagement training framework that we developed for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP) and learning from others interested in the field. Keep an eye on the blog for reports from the Trellis team and CEFP Fellows who’ll be attending some of these events as well.

Here’s where you can find us (online and in person) this summer:

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Survey snapshot: Communications practices of small scale collaborations

Last week AAAS and Trellis hosted a three-day NSF-sponsored INCLUDES conference entitled: “The Technical and Human Infrastructure to Support Collective Impact of the INCLUDES Program at the Alliance and Network Levels”. The goal of the conference was to explore how small-scale pilot projects funded at the initial stage of the program might scale to larger collaborations.

To provide context for the discussions of collaboration infrastructure at the conference, we conducted a survey of tools and communication practices of the INCLUDES pilots. Here are three key takeaways based on 33 responses, covering 27 of the 37 total pilot projects.

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Beyond the March for Science: Science advocacy on Trellis

Crowd with one person holding "We <3 Science" sign
Stand Up For Science_4” by Peg Hunter under CC BY-NC 2.0

This Saturday scientists and science advocates will march on Washington in a call for science-based policies and a public celebration of science. But what happens next? AAAS and Trellis are committed to providing opportunities for participants to continue to engage with science advocacy and public engagement.

Yesterday, AAAS announced the release of an advocacy toolkit with resources for communicating science effectively, connecting with other science advocates, and working with congress. We’ll be exploring these themes on Trellis over the next few months. Read on to find out about several communities where you can learn more, build connections, and get involved.
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Building the infrastructure to support collaboration with NSF INCLUDES

NSF, Trellis, and AAAS logos

In September 2016 The National Science Foundation (NSF) issued the first round of awards for the NSF INCLUDES program. It gave out 37 pilot grants and 11 conference grants to applicants who seek to improve access to STEM education and career pathways for under-represented minorities. Trellis is excited to be a part of the INCLUDES initiative – contributing to it in two ways. Firstly, we’re providing the platform for synthesizing insights and reflections across the projects involved in the pilot phase of the program, using a private Trellis group for INCLUDES grantees. Secondly, several members of the Trellis team are involved with hosting one of the INCLUDES conferences.

This Wednesday, April 12th AAAS is hosting a three-day NSF-sponsored INCLUDES conference entitled: “The Technical and Human Infrastructure to Support Collective Impact of the INCLUDES Program at the Alliance and Network Levels”. The conference is being coordinated by Trellis’s founding general manager, Josh Freeman, Trellis’ Director for Community Engagement, Lou Woodley and AAAS Director of Education and Human Resources Programs Shirley Malcom. We’ll be delving deeper into the tools and communication needs of the pilot projects and how these might scale in order to successfully create an NSF INCLUDES 
National Network Backbone.

Over 70 participants are expected at the conference, with at least 25 different pilot projects represented. Items on the agenda include insights from the Science of Team Science movement and discussion of a pre-conference survey which looked at the current tools and communication patterns of the pilot grantees. Stay tuned as we report back on those conversations next week.

How the NSF promotes international collaboration

Posted by Dan Richman, Program Assistant for the Community Engagement Fellows Program.

"The ALMA fox" by Alessandro Caproni, licensed under CC BY 2.0. ALMA is one of the international collaborations in which the NSF is involved.
The ALMA fox” by Alessandro Caproni, licensed under CC BY 2.0. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array is an international collaboration in which the NSF is involved.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) International Center, a neighbor of AAAS here in Washington, DC, provides resources that help scientists in all fields prepare for the challenges of global scientific collaboration. For those who aren’t in town, they also offer their lectures as webinars. Back in June, I reported on a webinar that offered practical advice for working with globally distributed and multicultural teams.

As the District cooled off in late September, I visited the ACS headquarters in person to hear Dr. Rebecca Spyke Keiser, Head of the Office of International Science and Engineering of the National Science Foundation (NSF), give a talk titled “International Collaboration at NSF: Expanding the Frontiers of Research and Creating a Globally Engaged Workforce”. In this post I report back with some highlights from that talk.

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Building interdisciplinary communities – what hurdles do we need to overcome?

Posted by Lou Woodley, Trellis’ Community Engagement Director.

Runners jumping over hurdles
Determination Wallpaper” by Alisa Cooper is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Last week I took part in a session at the ESOF16 conference on building interdisciplinary communities. ESOF – the EuroScience Open Forum – is a biennial conference focusing on various European science and science communication activities, with a mixture of different session formats.

In our session, one of the other presenters, Ismael Rafols, gave a good overview of some of the different barriers to successfully building community, which I’ve listed out below (taken directly from his slides).

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