New article highlights Mitchell Center’s efforts to align research with societal needs

Fogler Library UMaineA recent article by Mitchell Center Director David Hart and Senior Fellow Linda Silka tells the story of the decade-long effort to grow UMaine’s capacities in stakeholder-engaged, solutions-driven, interdisciplinary research. The invited article appears in Issues in Science and Technology, the policy forum of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Rebuilding the Ivory Tower: A Bottom-Up Experiment in Aligning Research with Societal Needs” calls attention to UMaine’s leadership in building productive collaborations between researchers and diverse stakeholders. It outlines the long-term, shared commitment of UMaine faculty to conduct research that supports the concerns and aspirations of Maine communities regarding their environmental, social and economic future, often requiring a dual focus on improving human well-being and protecting the environment.

In his editorial, editor-in-chief Daniel Sarewitz offered these thoughts about the value of the Mitchell Center’s work:

“David Hart and Linda Silka…tell a story of long-term, shared commitment by faculty scientists at the University of Maine to conducting research that directly benefits the citizens of that state. This means slow science that builds on strong, trusting social networks—among scientists in many disciplines, and with outside stakeholders from across society. It’s also a story of how the incentives of the publish-or-perish culture can be overcome by harnessing the underlying desire of many academic scientists to contribute to making a better world.”