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The Innovators podcast, a product of Harris Search Associates, features interesting conversations with global thought leaders in the areas of higher education and research, engineering, technology, and the health sciences and provides our listeners an opportunity to benefit from lessons learned from the national leaders changing the landscape of innovation and discovery. Visit the Harris Search Associates website here.

Aug 30, 2022

While the dispute over the causes and sources of climate change continues, few doubt the need for action to deal with the consequences of climate change. And action can best be guided by findings from solid scientific research. 

James Arnott, Ph.D. makes the case that science can contribute to not only policy but action. But for that to occur, science will need to be more transparent and inclusive to meet the challenge of coping with the effects of climate change.

Dr. Arnott earned his doctorate in Environment and Sustainability from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Principia College. His research explores how science can become more actionable for decision making. This involves studying how different approaches to collaboration, science translation, and funding can influence how research becomes used and to what end.

Listen to his comments and responses to the following questions:

  1. Is it too cynical to argue that the failure to marshal collective efforts to deal with climate change is a matter of politics and economics, not science; that there are vested interests for maintaining the status quo, not challenges to research or the scientific method?
  2. Is it the case that even the very best science being devoted to climate change struggles to be interpreted in terms lay persons and governmental officials can comprehend fully?
  3. What is “actionable science”? How does it differ from what scientists do now and with what effect? Do you view it as something akin to what Thomas Kuhn termed a “paradigm shift” in science?
  4. If actionable science calls for researchers who either have experience with and/or understand the perspectives of those persons to whom the scientific results are presented, how might ways change in order to prepare the next generation of scientists?
  5. Actionable research in the contexts of achieving community, national, and global sustainability is compelling in many respects. How does adopting such an approach influence the attributes of those persons who lead scientific centers and laboratories with emphases on climate change? 

Innovators is a podcast production of Harris Search Associates. 

*The views and opinions shared by the guests on Innovators do not necessarily reflect the views of the interviewee's institution or organization.*