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A collaboration identifies pathways to enhance social science integration in federal global change research

Through its Social Science Coordinating Committee (SSCC), USGCRP works to integrate social science methods, findings, and disciplinary perspectives into federal global change research programs. The social, behavioral, and economic sciences provide critical insights on the drivers and impacts of global change and inform mitigation, adaptation, and resilience decisions. 

In February 2019, in collaboration with the National Academies’ Board on Environmental Change and Society, the SSCC convened a seminar entitled “Climate Resilience Pathways and Social Science Research Actions.” Building on a March 2017 workshop examining social science perspectives on climate change and the subsequent publications, the seminar brought together over 200 participants from academia, federal agencies, and diverse state, local and civil society stakeholders. The participants discussed opportunities to advance interdisciplinary research in federal programs, and the use of social science research and insights for societal transformations to meet global change and sustainability challenges.  

The seminar presented recent interdisciplinary social science syntheses for understanding societal drivers of and vulnerability to climate change, and effective responses that consider a variety of socio-cultural and historic contexts. Academic researchers and federal agency and international program managers discussed the successes and challenges of social science integration and interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches in global change research and decision support. The seminar and subsequent discussions identified areas for potential future work, including enhancing institutional infrastructure to foster federal and academic interdisciplinary collaboration and connecting social science research with the environmental justice community and decision-making.