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Collective Advice for Advancing the Success of Collaborative Research

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In recent years, the scientific community has become increasingly aware of the need to address a gap between scientific research and policy and management decisions. Collaborative research, which integrates scientists and decision makers into the research process and fosters two-way communication and learning, presents an alternative to traditional research that can help bridge this gap.

In November of 2017, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative team organized a workshop for their research and integrated assessment grant recipients. Participants included 37 people that lead or co-lead 20 projects funded by the Science Collaborative in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Workshop discussions were facilitated by Dr. Julia Wondolleck, a professor of environmental policy and planning at the University of Michigan and a member of the Science Collaborative team.

We have captured the collective findings and advice of workshop participants in this guidance document in hopes that it can serve as a resource for those interested in developing end user-driven collaborative research projects, both in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and beyond.

This summary document is organized into three sections.

Section I. Factors that enable effective end user-focused collaborative science
Section II. Challenges and strategies associated with collaborative science
Section III. Potential strategies for funders