Paper Session: Creating Research Communities for Collaborative Science

Tuesday, August 2, 2022
11:30 PM - 12:45 PM ET

International Research Collaborations: An Analysis of Researchers' Perspectives in Japan and the United States

Takehito Kamata

Abstract: Previous studies have recognized the crucial responsibilities and roles of stakeholders in promoting international research collaborations; however, there has been little discussion that compares the individual perspectives of researchers and their collaborators on their collaborative research across the nations. The objective of this study is to develop a better understanding of the factors that influence international research collaborations and explore how to refine research policies at the institutional, national, and international levels across nations. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the government research funding and the structures and functions of Japanese-U.S. international research collaborations. The research question driving the analysis is as follows: In what ways do government policies, funding structures and mechanisms, and institutional factors affect international research collaborations? This study utilizes a qualitative research with the conceptual frameworks of key factors related to international research collaborations. This study focuses on examining three influencing factors that may affect international research collaborations: "Government policies," "Funding structures and mechanisms," and "Institutional factors" in the conceptual framework. The three concepts-"Initiation and establishment," "Implementation and procedures," and "Outcomes and products"-are defined as aspects of international collaborative research.  Figure 1 presents the refined conceptual framework for this research.The research subjects of this study are the principal investigators who received research funding from federal or national funding agencies while conducting collaborative research across nations. By applying a qualitative research methodology, this study examines researchers' perspectives and ideas collected through the interviews.There were sixteen researchers who participated in the interviews in this study: nine of them were affiliated with Japanese institutions, and seven of them were affiliated with American institutions. Thirteen interviewees were faculty members at higher education institutions; two members worked at government research institutes; and one member was connected to a nonprofit research institute. The results of this study analysis indicate that interview participants observed that government policies influenced all stakeholders through different settings.This study results will be beneficial to the three primary stakeholders such as higher education institutions and research institutes, funding agencies and organizations, and national governments and government agencies to understand how to advance research policies, refine research support structures, and explore for administrative and research support interventions.

Mapping the STEM Collaboration Ecosystem Part One: Human Infrastructure Case Studies

Katie Pratt, Lou Woodley

Abstract: Scientific community manager is a general term to describe roles within STEM that have the purpose of bringing together researchers, funders, technicians, educators, patients, and citizen scientists (and more) in a range of community configurations.. At the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement, we have a unique perspective on this interconnected ecosystem of collaborative work; engaging many of these community managers in our community of practice, creating professional development trainings, and working with a range of stakeholders through our consultancy work. As part of our research into the systems that support collaboration and community engagement in STEM, we have produced a series of 20+ case studies about individual community managers that describe their roles, paths into the career, and the challenges they face in their day-to-day work. Our preliminary findings suggest STEM community managers often take on multiple roles within their organization and are frequently the only person working to build or maintain a community. We also see a trend towards burnout in the profession, with community managers citing a lack of resources or unrealistic expectations from leadership as key challenges. Encouragingly, we also see a lot of enthusiasm for the work of connecting people within scientific communities, as well as community managers recognizing the impact they have on the way that collaborative science, and the culture of science in general, is changing. In this presentation, we will offer our initial analysis of the case studies, taking a landscape view of how each different role might fit onto a map of the STEM ecosystem and how to sustain and support this important human infrastructure.

Transdisciplinary Environmental Justice Research: A Case Study

Jonny Abdal, Antoinette Shirley, Linnea Vicari

Abstract: According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, environmental justice (EJ) is "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies."1 EJ operates at different scales; for example, it can be understood to apply to communities, which qualify as victims of environmental injustice if environmental laws, regulations, and policies are enacted or enforced in ways that fail to secure fair treatment or meaningful involvement of all people in them. Furthermore, for communities that are victims of environmental injustice, there are many challenges that can prevent them from accessing the resources they need to identify and combat these injustices, such as inefficient policy, obstacles to direct access problems, and knowledge gaps. In this project, our transdisciplinary research team aims to identify environmental injustices that affect communities within three counties in central Michigan. Our team comprises Ph.D. students from four departments at Michigan State University - Community Sustainability, English, Forestry, and Philosophy - and a community partner, the Capital Area Sustainability Partnership (CASP), that includes government employees, educators, and business leaders as members. In our research, we use multidisciplinary methods in theory and practice to identify the greatest environmental needs of the Capital Area of Michigan, which includes rural and urban communities in Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties. One important aspect of our research is the dual focus on environmental injustices that affect rural and urban areas that are in close proximity to one another. Our research approach will involve integration of different methodologies, such as conceptual clarification, reviews of current theories of sustainable justice, and geographic information systems, to inform the development of a survey about EJ that will be administered to members of communities in Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties in Michigan. We anticipate preliminary results identifying the environmental injustices faced by people in both urban and rural environments.In addition to supplying specific EJ information for CASP, this project can provide methodological insight for transdisciplinary teams working on EJ issues. This research should also enhance the skillsets of the individual team members and community members as they each have uniquely distinct research backgrounds. The community-engaged and contextualized nature of the project may offer insights for other researchers, policymakers, and communities concerning EJ and enhance the role of transdisciplinary teams in building EJ in application and theory to better address the needs of communities.EPA (2021). Learn about environmental justice. Online at