Supporting Interdisciplinary Resilience Research
We live in a time of accelerated social and environmental change. Around the globe, different regions face distinct challenges and opportunities to respond to global dynamics such as climate change. The Pacific Northwest is no exception. Climate change is increasingly putting Northwest landscapes and communities at risk through declining snowpack, increasing drought and wildfire, and ocean acidification, as well as emerging risks, such as climate refugees. These emerging climate-driven challenges sit on top of longstanding natural hazards due the ecological and geologic dynamics of Cascadia. At the same time, the Pacific Northwest — with its unique ecosystems, energy regime, and political context — has the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies that can both be uniquely adapted to our environment and serve as a testing ground for globally relevant solutions.
Our goal is to create a region that is more resilient to climate change and other natural hazards in ways that improve human well-being and ecological conditions.
We will do this by:
- Engaging in highly-impactful, interdisciplinary scholarship
- Building new collaborations among diverse disciplines and key stakeholders across the region
- Creating real-world solutions, whether they be new technologies and designs, law and policy, or business practices.
- Engaging with communities, policy makers, and private industry
- Fostering transformational change
As a first step to achieve these goals, we need strengthen the relationships between faculty, build new collaborations, and seed research, outreach, and engagement around the questions and problems our faculty consider most urgent and compelling to address. To that end, we will pursue two immediate tactics. In April and May of 2019, we will organize series of semi-structured coffees that will build new relationships and identify urgent and intriguing questions. On May 20, we will hold a 1-day event to bring together faculty from across the campus to use this pre-work to identify major issues areas for further engagement. At this event, the Vice President for Research and Innovation will announce seed funding program (with an initial fall 2019 deadline) to support work on the research questions and collaborations that emerge from this event and the collaboration that follows.
Interdisciplinary Social-Environmental Research
We aim to facilitate new research collaborations that leverage knowledge from environmental, social sciences, and design to prepare for, respond to, recover from, mitigate, and adapt to both sudden shocks and slow moving transformations. Scholarship on climate change, sustainability, and social-environmental adaptation demands interdisciplinary engagement, systems thinking, and innovative inquiry at multiple organizational and temporal scales. Work in this space is grounded in theory and basic scientific inquiry but addresses practical societal challenges.
These efforts to leverage our areas of excellence in research and build new interdisciplinary collaborations emerged through the work of a a faculty visioning committee. The committee identified the following guiding principles for our efforts to support research, scholarship and engagement activities. Work supported by this initiatve should be:
- Data-driven and evidence-based
- Grounded in the principles of ethical leadership, and social and environmental justice
- Focused on creating impact
- Viewed through the lens of our geography, of our people, and of our place.
Why the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is uniquely poised to lead in this space. because our reputation as a “green” university and considerable strength in climate change, sustainability and environmental studies across multiple colleges. This project will build on those strengths by making strategic investments in collaborative research and scholarship and leverage other key institutional initiatives to create a broad umbrella under which we will catalyze and support dozens of faculty to increase our institutional impact.
— For more information on the UO Resilience Initiative please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.