Southeast Cluster Initiative: R&D

Cluster Co-chairs: Dave D’Amore, Pacific Northwest Research Station, USFS, and Shannon Atkinson, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, UAF

Southeast Alaska Research & Development Action Initiatives

Cluster Co-Chairs: Dave D’Amore, USFS and Shannon Atkinson, UAF/UAS

Develop a collaborative research network focused on key themes in Southeast Alaska

Champion: Dave D’Amore, Pacific Northwest Research Station, USFS
The goal of this initiative is to improve regional communication and coordination regarding research and development opportunities and needs in Southeast Alaska. In 2013, this initiative laid out an action plan to achieving its goals, and in partnership with the ACRC, has begun a brown-bag lunchtime lecture series on a bi-weekly basis.  In 2014, the initiative will continue to develop these pilot research activities to improve coordination between research entities in Southeast Alaska.
Link industry needs to local researchers in Southeast Alaska
Champion: Kurt Fredriksson
The goal of this initiative is to leverage existing networks and create new ones in order to raise awareness among community stakeholders of the diverse capabilities and availability of research in our region. The outcome will be to connect the local research community to stakeholder needs, bringing new funding sources and more money for research into the region. In 2013, the initiative team developed an action plan to set up joint teleconferences with the other active Cluster working groups to get input and support regarding the continuation of current research projects and the initiation of new ones through research-industry partnerships.  In 2014, this initiative will focus on those meetings and start developing research-industry partnerships to help bring in funding for research around Southeast Alaska.

Connect Research to Communities

Champion: Jim Powell
This initiative will strengthen awareness of research, connection to research and develop talent for future researchers within Southeast Alaska’s remote rural communities by creating a mechanism for communication between rural SE communities and research establishments. In 2013, this initiative has developed and begun to pilot a survey of research needs in rural communities in Southeast Alaska.  In early 2014, the initiative will be collecting those results, re-tailoring the survey based on feedback, and developing a strategy to implement this survey in communities throughout Southeast Alaska with the ultimate goal of collecting information on priority research needs in rural communities.  This information will be useful for developing research-industry partnerships, and developing local economies through targeted research projects and funding.

Market the unique geographic, natural and infrastructure features of our region

Champion: Allison Bidlack, Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center

The objective of this initiative is to strengthen relationships within the existing regional network of research facilities in Southeast Alaska, elevate network visibility and profiles, make improvements in local infrastructure, and adopt institutional practices that allow sharing of facilities and logistics support.

In 2013, the initiative has begun mapping research facilities available in Southeast Alaska and the economic impact of those facilities.  Additionally, the initiative has begun partnering with local media organizations in an effort to increase the publication of research projects happening around Southeast Alaska, with the ultimate goal of marketing those projects, and the research community as a whole, to potential research entities outside of Alaska, and attracting investment in R&D in the region.

Promote STEM Education in our Region
Interim Champion: Chip McMillan, UAS
The goal of this initiative is to augment STEM literacy in the regional education system by expanding STEM out-of-school learning opportunities for K-12 and post-secondary students. A model after school program for elementary school children will be developed and introduced in the Juneau School District and high school and college internship opportunities will be expanded. The vision is for more local research scientists to play a role in delivering STEM education. This will be accomplished through a volunteer-driven after school STEM program that will take advantage of employment mandated community service hours for STEM research scientists and grant support for STEM education. Professional development and lesson plans will be developed to support this STEM program. If the model program is successful, it will be introduced to other schools in Juneau and region-wide, both elementary and middle school. At the high school level, internship opportunities will be developed in cooperation with area research laboratories. The internships will be offered as an option for community service hours for students. In 2013, the initiative has attempted to integrate STEM professionals into school programs, first the RALLY program, and subsequently into classrooms through an Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum.  The RALLY program was determined to not be an effective starting point for the integration of STEM professionals.  In January 2014, the initiative will train a number of STEM professionals as EiE volunteers, and will look to align the initiative with the STEM programming already taking place through JEDC.

Become SCoR (State Committee on Research) Area of Excellence

Champion:  Shannon Atkinson, UAF/UAS
The purpose of this initiative is to help develop the infrastructure to facilitate and coordinate research in SE AK. Specifically, the infrastructure for grant management within the southeast region needs to be expanded. The vision is for there to be a recognizable entity that obtains formal recognition as the vehicle for achieving the aims of the SCoR plan in Southeast. This initiative has been waiting on action from the State SCoR committee and has had little activity in 2013.  The initiative team will be seeking feedback from the Lieutenant Governor on the SCoR initiative at the 2014 Innovation Summit.