Knowledge co-production in contested spaces: an evaluation of the North Slope Borough-Shell Baseline Studies Program

Authors: Nathan Kettle*, Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy
Topics: Sustainability Science, Polar Regions, Coastal and Marine
Keywords: co-production, contested spaces, Arctic, boundary organization, science-policy, rural and indegenous
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Developing trusted science is a significant challenge in contested spaces. This project evaluates a collaborate research agreement between the North Slope Borough of Alaska and Shell Exploration and Production Company, which was designed to improve data collection and management of information associated with the potential impacts of oil and gas development in the Arctic. The research is based on six knowledge co-production indicators: inputs, processes, outputs, outcomes, impacts, and external factors. Data sources for the analysis included interviews with steering committee members and external science managers (n=16). Findings suggested that governance arrangements, leveraged capacities, and the inclusion of traditional knowledge and western science were among the key input, process, and external variables that supported co-production of trusted science. Logistics, differences in cultures and decision contexts, and balancing tradeoffs were among the key challenges in supporting knowledge co-production. Recommendations for other emergent boundary organizations seeking to support knowledge co-production include developing adaptive governance arrangements, providing time to develop trust, and building capacity among scientists to translate community concerns into relevant research questions.

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