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Building a Network of VAR (Vulnerability, Adaptation, Resilience) Researchers in the Intermountain West

Lisa Diling

The intermountain west is home to many researchers who study aspects of climate vulnerability, adaptation and resilience. Most of us attend national conferences such as AAG, AGU, AMS and the like, and many of us work within specialized networks such as fire, water, forest ecosystems, and so on. However, building resilience to climate change is a goal that requires bringing together different perspectives and sectors in order to ensure that system linkages are considered at the regional scale. Also, there is great synergy in linking together researchers at the regional scale, who might not otherwise be connected both to share research with each other, and to promote interactions with stakeholders who might help shape research agendas to produce usable science for decision making. Finally there is the opportunity to share ideas and resources across different research organizations throughout the intermountain west, from very large public universities such as CU Boulder, to smaller universities like Western State, to the various federally-funded centers and independent research organizations. To our knowledge, there is not currently any network regionally that cuts across all the sectors and focuses on the region as a whole for VAR research.

The work entailed some initial web research to develop a preliminary list of researchers to include in an initial proposed network. We then developed a short web-based survey to collect information on ongoing projects, region-based work, sector involvement, engagement with stakeholders, network connections, and interest in future activities. This survey will help to inform a website that will serve as an introduction to the VAR community capacity in the region, complete with illustrations of projects and listings of researchers.

This project would be the starting point for building a sustained network for resilience that links researchers and practitioners engaged in knowledge-action research across the region. Our goal is to make visible and develop the researcher network that we would then build on in future years to create a more complete practitioner/researcher network for engaged research.

Session at National Adaptation Forum 2019: Developing an Intermountain Region Resilience, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (RAV) Community of Practice, Dr. Corrie Knapp and Lisa Dilling