The University of Oklahoma
660 Parrington Oval,
Norman, OK 73019-0390
A Workshop to Integrate Understanding and Improve Societal Response
Q: All expenses are paid? Really?
A: Yes, travel, lodging and meals will be covered, up to standard, Federal reimbursable rates. For more information: Travel Information
Q: Will a Group Travel Request (for Federal employees only) be created for this workshop?
A: Yes, if a GTR is needed, we will create it.
Q: Who can I contact regarding special needs I have (e.g., physical access, dietary, audio/video, etc.)?
Q: If I can’t attend, can I send someone in my place?
A: Certainly, but we would ask that the replacement be a faculty member or senior researcher involved in your same area of expertise and that they have a strong interest in engaging with the community and interdisciplinary activities as we move forward.
Q: Can I bring a student or collaborator with me if they pay their own way?
A: Yes, but check first with Alicia Knoedler at email@example.com about how many people you’d like to bring. There are space limitations we must consider.
Q: Would it be possible to extend an invitation to an M.S. student who has a keen interest in the workshop theme (but is not the student of an invitee)?
A: Yes, but you will be responsible for travel costs. Also, check with Alicia Knoedler at firstname.lastname@example.org before you extend the invitation. There are space limitations we must consider.
Q: I’ve heard about this sort of thing before but have been disappointed that physical science and engineering continue to pay lip service to the social, behavioral and economic sciences (SBES). Why should I believe differently about this event?
A: We are taking great care to ensure SBES - applied to physical science challenges - is the focus of this workshop. As the physical sciences have grown to learn and appreciate the value SBES can bring to the table, the dialogue and interaction has improved. Our aim is to continue that trend and engage the SBES at the outset of the research exploration rather than trying to incorporate their disciplines as an afterthought.
Q: Most workshops I have attended along these lines fail because they are unable to sustain the momentum and good will created during the event. How will this workshop be different?
A: We share your concern and have had similar experiences. Learning from those experiences, our approach is to utilize a variety of tools for sustaining dialog in ways that focus directly upon the value proposition to individuals within the community we are building. This includes (but is not limited to) “collaborator finding” tools, forums, exchange of announcements of opportunity, regular video and conference calls, and “champions” within the community who will maintain close personal contact with a smaller group of individuals.
Q: My university does not provide as much credit for multidisciplinary activities, or publishing in journals beyond my specific field, as for discipline-focused efforts. Thus, I am not highly incentivized to participate in the activities you describe.
A: This is an important question for us to consider more broadly as part of building our community. Indeed, institutions are very much persuaded to change by virtue of actions taken by NSF and other agencies, which send strong signals about the value proposition of multidisciplinary research. We hope this effort can encourage steps in that direction.
Q: Is this sort of activity a priority for the National Weather Service or private weather providers? Who will be listening to what we have to say?
A: The NWS and America’s Weather Industry are quite interested in forging relationships with communities of practice such as we are seeking to develop, as evidenced by increasing investments in social and behavioral science research by NOAA and the involvement of both groups in recent professional association activities. Key members of the operational forecasting profession will be active in this workshop.
Q: I have participated in Weather Ready Nation activities and thought the engagement with the social sciences had already begun in earnest. Is that not the case? Why is this workshop needed in light of previous efforts along these lines? Does this activity relate to or build on previous Weather Ready nation activities, or are they mutually exclusive?
A: The engagement with the social science community is well-underway and while there are a number of social science activities in progress, there are many more areas where the social science research community can and should engage and participate.
The two Weather-Ready Nation Workshops: 1) Weather-Ready Nation: A Vital Conversation on Tornadoes and Severe Weather Workshop, held in Norman, Oklahoma in December 2011, and 2) Science Imperatives for Severe Thunderstorm Research Workshop held in Birmingham, Alabama, in April 2012, began the national conversation and added a needed boost to the varied efforts to integrate the physical and social sciences. However, those Workshops were never intended to be the culmination of all efforts. We view this workshop as building upon the work that has been done and filling the gaps that still remain, including ensuring all social science disciplines and efforts are brought into full collaboration on understanding and improving societal response to extreme weather. One outcome of the workshop is a report that will help agencies assess research priorities and understand capabilities and gaps both within the existing body of knowledge as well as in the research community. Ultimately, this assessment will help agencies determine research priorities and the need for future funding initiatives in which the research community would be engaged.
Q: Is there NSF (or other) funding identified for research that grows from this workshop?
A: Not at this time, but NSF sponsors workshops such as this with the expectation of receiving guidance about community priorities from which research programs MIGHT be crafted. That opportunity is strengthened when the community speaks with one voice about key research questions and the broader impacts of the research.
Q: Why go through all this effort without research funding commitments from Federal agencies already in-place?
A: The fact that Federal agencies, like NOAA and NSF, are willing to sponsor a workshop like this is an important signal of the value they place in the topic and in the effort. Both are also encouraging the establishment of a community of collaborators who share a common vision for progress in an area important to the Nation, and a framework for identifying and addressing important research questions upon which that progress depends.
Q: Will seed funding be available to initiate small pilot projects that might be suggested during the workshop, or for follow-on trips to build collaborations? My university has very limited resources for such things.
A: This is an important point to be discussed during the workshop, as many possible avenues exist, ranging from creation of a shared pool of resources by several universities to initial seed funding from Federal agencies. We should not fear being creative about making suggestions.
Q: Will Federal agency program officers, or program managers from private foundations, be attending this workshop?
A: Yes, but on a limited basis for those who are truly agency/foundation advocates, especially in light of current Federal travel restrictions. We wanted to ensure the community has a chance to form without extensive influence from these important entities.
Q: What obligation do I undertake for the future, real or perceived, by participating in this workshop?
A: While there is no explicit obligation, our expectation is that this workshop will generate interest in developing a “community of practice” within which it members might be inspired to conduct work related to outcomes and research questions derived from the workshop.
For questions not answered in the FAQ, please complete the form below.
National Weather Center
120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072
National Center for Employee Development (NCED)
2701 E. Imhoff Rd., Norman, OK 73071