A Framework for Convergence Research in the Hazards and Disaster Field: The Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure CONVERGE Facility

Lori Peek, Jennifer Tobin, Rachel M. Adams, Haorui Wu, Mason Clay Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this article is twofold: to clarify the tenets of convergence research and to motivate such research in the hazards and disaster field. Here, convergence research is defined as an approach to knowledge production and action that involves diverse teams working together in novel ways – transcending disciplinary and organizational boundaries – to address vexing social, economic, environmental, and technical challenges in an effort to reduce disaster losses and promote collective well-being. The increasing frequency and intensity of disasters coupled with the growth of the field suggests an urgent need for a more coherent approach to help guide what we study, who we study, how we conduct studies, and who is involved in the research process itself. This article is written through the lens of the activities of the National Science Foundation-supported CONVERGE facility, which was established in 2018 as the first social science-led component of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI). Convergence principles and the Science of Team Science undergird the work of CONVERGE, which brings together networks of researchers from geotechnical engineering, the social sciences, structural engineering, nearshore systems, operations and systems engineering, sustainable material management, and interdisciplinary science and engineering. CONVERGE supports and advances research that is conceptually integrative, and this article describes a convergence framework that includes the following elements: (1) identifying researchers; (2) educating and training researchers; (3) setting a convergence research agenda that is problem-focused and solutions-based; (4) connecting researchers and coordinating functionally and demographically diverse research teams; and (5) supporting and funding convergence research, data collection, data sharing, and solutions implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
JournalFrontiers in Built Environment
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 7 2020

Keywords

  • Science of Team Science
  • convergence research
  • disasters
  • interdisciplinary
  • natural hazards
  • research coordination networks
  • training
  • transdisciplinary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction
  • Urban Studies

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