skip to main content

Title: Ideas and perspectives: Biogeochemistry – some key foci for the future
Abstract. Biogeochemistry has an important role to play in manyenvironmental issues of current concern related to global change and air,water, and soil quality. However, reliable predictions and tangibleimplementation of solutions, offered by biogeochemistry, will need furtherintegration of disciplines. Here, we refocus on how further developing andstrengthening ties between biology, geology, chemistry, and social scienceswill advance biogeochemistry through (1) better incorporation of mechanisms,including contemporary evolutionary adaptation, to predict changingbiogeochemical cycles, and (2) implementing new and developing insights fromsocial sciences to better understand how sustainable and equitable responsesby society are achieved. The challenges for biogeochemists in the 21stcentury are formidable and will require both the capacity to respond fast topressing issues (e.g., catastrophic weather events and pandemics) andintense collaboration with government officials, the public, andinternationally funded programs. Keys to success will be the degree to whichbiogeochemistry can make biogeochemical knowledge more available to policymakers and educators about predicting future changes in the biosphere, ontimescales from seasons to centuries, in response to climate change andother anthropogenic impacts. Biogeochemistry also has a place infacilitating sustainable and equitable responses by society.
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1637661 1855277 1637685 1832221
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
3005 to 3013
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Societal challenges can be addressed not only by experts, but also by crowds. Crowdsourcing provides a way to engage the general crowd to contribute to the solutions of the biggest challenges of our times: how to cut our carbon footprint, how to address worldwide epidemic of chronic disease, and how to achieve sustainable development. Isolated crowd-based solutions in online communities are not always creative and innovative. Hence, remixing has been developed as a way to enable idea evolution and integration, and to harness reusable innovative solutions. Understanding the generativity of remixing is essential to leveraging the wisdom of the crowd to solve societal challenges. At its best, remixing can promote online community engagement, as well as support comprehensive and innovative solution generation. Organizers can maintain an active online community; community members can collectively innovate and learn; and as a result, society may find new ways to solve important problems. What affects the generativity of a remix? We address this by revisiting the knowledge reuse process for innovation model. We analyze the reuse of proposals in an online innovation community which aims to address global climate change issues, Climate CoLab. We apply several analytical methods to study factors that may contributemore »to the generativity of a remix and uncover that remixes that include prevalent topics and integration metaknowledge are more generative. Our findings suggest strategies and tools that can help online communities to better harness collective intelligence for addressing societal challenges.« less
  2. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools and technologies are increasingly prevalent in society. Many teens interact with AI devices on a daily basis but often have a limited understanding of how AI works, as well as how it impacts society more broadly. It is critical to develop youths’ understanding of AI, cultivate ethical awareness, and support diverse youth in pursuing computer science to help ensure future development of more equitable AI technologies. Here, we share our experiences developing and remotely facilitating an interdisciplinary AI ethics program for secondary students designed to increase teens’ awareness and understanding of AI and its societal impacts. Students discussed stories with embedded ethical dilemmas, engaged with AI media and simulations, and created digital products to express their stance on an AI ethics issue. Across four iterations in formal and informal settings, we found students to be engaged in AI stories and invested in learning about AI and its societal impacts. Short stories were effective in raising awareness, focusing discussion and supporting students in developing a more nuanced understanding of AI ethics issues, such as fairness, bias and privacy.
  3. How can the public sector use AI ethically and responsibly for the benefit of people? The sustainable development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) in the public sector requires dialogue and deliberation between developers, decision makers, deployers, end users, and the public. This paper contributes to the debate on how to develop persuasive government approaches for steering the development and use of AI. We examine the ethical issues and the role of the public in the debate on developing public sector governance of socially and democratically sustainable and technology-intensive societies. To concretize this discussion, we study the co-development of a Finnish national AI program AuroraAI, which aims to provide citizens with tailored and timely services for different life situations, utilizing AI. With the help of this case study, we investigate the challenges posed by the development and use of AI in the service of public administration. We draw particular attention to the efforts made by the AuroraAI Ethics Board in deliberating the AuroraAI solution options and working toward a sustainable and inclusive AI society.
  4. This research paper focuses on the effect of recent national events on first-year engineering students’ attitudes about their political identity, social welfare, perspectives of diversity, and approaches to social situations. Engineering classrooms and cultures often focus on mastery of content and technical expertise with little prioritization given to integrating social issues into engineering. This depoliticization (i.e., the removal of social issues) in engineering removes the importance of issues related to including diverse individuals in engineering, working in diverse teams, and developing cultural sensitivity. This study resulted from the shift in the national discourse, during the 2016 presidential election, around diversity and identities in and out of the academy. We were collecting interview data as a part of a larger study on students attitudes about diversity in teams. Because these national events could affect students’ perceptions of our research topic, we changed a portion of our interviews to discuss national events in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classrooms and how students viewed these events in relation to engineering. We interviewed first-year undergraduate students (n = 12) who indicated large differences of attitudes towards diverse individuals, experiences with diverse team members, and/or residing at the intersection of multiple diversity markers. Wemore »asked participants during the Spring of 2017 to reflect on the personal impact of recent national events and how political discussions have or have not been integrated into their STEM classrooms. During interviews students were asked: 1) Have recent national events impacted you in any way? 2) Have national events been discussed in your STEM classes? 3) If so, what was discussed and how was it discussed? 4) Do these conversations have a place in STEM classes? 5) Are there events you wish were discussed that have not been? Inductive coding was used to analyze interviews and develop themes that were audited for quality by the author team. Two preliminary themes emerged from analysis: political awareness and future-self impact. Students expressed awareness of current political events at the local, national and global levels. They recognized personal and social impacts that these events imposed on close friends, family members, and society. However, students were unsure of how to interpret political dialogue as it relates to policy in engineering disciplines and practices. This uncertainty led students to question their future-selves or careers in engineering. As participants continued to discuss their uncertainty, they expressed a desire to make explicit connections between politics and STEM and their eventual careers in STEM. These findings suggest that depoliticization in the classroom results in engineering students having limited consciousness of how political issues are relevant to their field. This disconnect of political discourse in the classroom gives us a better understanding of how engineering students make sense of current national events in the face of depoliticization. By re-politicising STEM classrooms in a way relevant to students’ futures, educators can better utilize important dialogues to help students understand how their role as engineers influence society and how the experiences of society can influence their practice of engineering.« less
  5. Three diverse public universities(North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina Charlotte, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University)have adapted and implemented an institutional change model that proposes five core elements for achieving cultural change in colleges and universities to increase the percentage of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty in STEM fields. Since URM doctoral students spend most of their time exposed to the culture of their academic department as they take classes, conduct research, and interact with departmental faculty, staff, and other graduate students, the climate they experience and the support they receive at the departmental level can have a major impact on their success. When interventions address students directly, once they graduate, there may be no lasting change in the department. However, when faculty attitudes and mentoring practices along with departmental processes and procedures change, the changes are likely to be more sustainable. Using institutional theory as the analytical lens, the purpose of this paper is to examine how one collaborative project implements a faculty-led institutional change model for diversifying the STEM professoriate. Each participating doctoral granting department has a volunteer faculty member interested in URM success designated as a Faculty Fellow. The Fellow receives programmatic support tomore »increase their understanding of the issues facing URMs in doctoral programs and assessment support to identify the departmental practices that may be hindering URM student success. Together with their department head and director of graduate programs, they work with the departmental faculty to understand graduate student pathways, identify practices and policies that promote success, and diagnose trouble spots. Based on this study of the graduate student experience in their own department, the Fellow develops a departmental initiative designed to address departmental weaknesses. The faculty as a whole develop a departmental diversity plan to build these insights into departmental practices and procedures. This paper will explore the process of developing the departmental initiatives and diversity plans as well as report on some initiatives and plans developed. The benefits and drawbacks of the approach are discussed along with best practices identified to this point« less