Toolbox Presentations at the Nanoinformatics Workshop 2015 & Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Conference 2015

November 18, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Drs. Michael O’Rourke and Stephanie E. Vasko traveled to Portland, OR from November 6-9, 2015 to participate in the 2015 Nanoinformatics Workshop & 2015 Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO) Conference . O’Rourke’s presented at the Nanoinformatics Workshop, introducing ways that the Toolbox Project could be involved in this community and the contribution, by way of an observation-based survey, of the Toolbox Project to the Nanoinformatics Workshop over the weekend.

Vasko’s talk on the first day of the SNO Conference (“Applying The Toolbox Project for Research Community Building: Early Thoughts and Planning Processes”) introduced the wider SNO community to the Toolbox approach and presented some of the preliminary findings of a short survey on zeta potential measurements, reproducibility, and relevance. The Toolbox Project is looking forward to continuing our interactions with the Nanoinformatics and SNO communities!

Toolbox at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature

November 8, 2015 at 3:13 am

RIHN-posterDrs. Michael O’Rourke and Brian  recently spoke and conducted Toolbox workshops with the environmental researchers at the national Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) in Kyoto, Japan

On the first day, they spoke on problems of communication and collaboration in cross-disciplinary research. As a way of introducing the problem, Robinson compared inter- and transdisciplinary research (collectively cross-disciplinary research, CDR) to the game Double Cranko, which comes from an old episode of M*A*S*H. The game is a cross between chess, checker, poker, and gin (both the drink and the rummy).RIHN2There are no rules; players make them up as they go along. The problem for CDR is much worse. Imagine 2 scientists from different disciplines working on a research project and 2 non-research stakeholders in that project (say one from government and another from business). Each knows one game only, and all the rules, terms, and objectives of that game. In collaborating on this project, they have to develop a way to integrate 4 different games (chess, checker, poker, and gin) into one game. But they don’t even speak the same game language. A point O’Rourke and Robinson emphasized over the two days with the RIHN researchers is the need for a co-creation of meaning of ambiguous terms or concepts for effective collaboration.

In the morning workshop of the first day, O’Rourke and Robinson facilitated dialogues among the researchers to begin that process of co-creation of meaning. They had to negotiate various ambiguous terms that we gave them in a set of prompts. In the afternoon session, the researchers broke into their research teams to produce a concept map of their projects from which to find project-specific ambiguous terms or concepts that will have to be negotiated with their projects’ non-research stakeholders.

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