Green Umbrella welcomes Science Fellow and kicks off new program – Climate Research Incubator

CRI 10/2023 Training

Green Umbrella’s newest program, the Climate Research Incubator, was co-designed with Science Fellow and provides training to a cohort of researchers, ensuring they have the tools to successfully engage with the public on climate.

By Green Umbrella,

Published October 16, 2023

CRI 10/2023 Training
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Green Umbrella’s newest program, the Climate Research Incubator, provides training to a cohort of researchers, ensuring they have the tools to successfully engage with the public on climate. The program aims to leverage local knowledge and expertise to create a community of practice in response to climate-related challenges and opportunities. 

On October 11, Green Umbrella hosted the first workshop for the Climate Research Incubator.

The CRI runs annually, recruiting new scholars and connecting them to community partners and existing connections through previous cohort participants. Through trainings, an annual symposium, and project workshops, the CRI addresses barriers to authentic communication and fosters relationship-building skills that facilitate collaborative work between climate researchers, community leaders, and government officials. The goal is to create a long-term network where people from academic institutions, community organizations, and local governments can collaboratively engage in regional resilience work.

CRI provides a space and opportunity for individuals passionate about climate issues in the region to come together from different sectors, build knowledge, and take collective action. The primary objectives of the program include providing necessary training in science communication and public engagement, fostering relationship building among participants, and supporting actionable seed projects developed in partnership with communities. Other benefits include access to data and technical expertise, credibility with decision-makers, making voices heard on critical issues, building relationships with scientific and technical experts, and participating in scientific research.

The 2023-2024 cohort launched last week, hosting 16 researchers from Children’s Hospital, Mount St. Joseph University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati, and Xavier University. This fall will feature training that encourages researchers to consider how their research and science can advance specific climate priorities shared with the community. A symposium this winter will bring together community partners and public sector leaders, creating an opportunity to connect local and traditional knowledge, as well as catalyze participation by underrepresented groups in science and other disciplines and collaboration that may otherwise not be feasible due to scale, cost, or other reasons. A key aspiration of the cohort is to improve research questions and understanding of research findings and management priorities, and inspire public action and increased public involvement in decision-making. 

The CRI cohort will also assist in creating a regional climate action plan by engaging in a recently announced project, ThriveTogether: A Sustainability Playbook for Greater Cincinnati, led by OKI Regional Council of Governments, Green Umbrella, Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency, Northern Kentucky Area Development District, the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute, and the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environment & Sustainability.

Dr. Kristy Hopfensperger

The CRI was created in collaboration with Dr. Kristy Hopfensperger who is a Professor and Director of the Environmental Science program at Northern Kentucky University, as well as a 2023-2024 Science Fellow with Green Umbrella. Kristy led the first workshop, which focused on public engagement and best practices for participatory action, interdisciplinary research, and overcoming barriers to effective collaborative work in communities. To help researchers find commonalities and potential collaborators, Kristy encouraged participants to draw on their own interests and identities to forge common ground. The session ended with activities in rotating small groups within the cohort to further build genuine connections among the diverse group of participants.

To learn more, check out the Climate Research Incubator.

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