Impact360 Alliance strives to build strong points of connection between natural hazards and disaster researchers and practitioners, while fostering integrative approaches that combine a diversity of scientific and professional disciplines. We believe building these two Impact360 pillars will bolster our third pillar of promoting inclusive, needs-based problem solving.

What We See and Hear

We have talked to many interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners to understand how to build their connections and help them fuse their approaches to reduce the impacts of natural hazards and impacts. The obstacles we most commonly hear are:

  • Lack of empathy,
  • Absence of trust,
  • And devaluing what our counterparts do or how they do it.

Practitioners told us that academics act like they know it all. Researchers told us that operational forecasters and emergency managers don’t value research enough to keep up with how it can improve their work.

In other words, our views of each other can get in the way of researchers and practitioners strengthening relationships, integrating approaches, and solving problems together. Sometimes, our academic training or professional experience can make this even worse because we don’t really understand another person’s views. This is also true within interdisciplinary research teams or multi-agency operations centers.

What We Can Do

Many of us have seen this at research conferences where an on-stage panel of practitioners tells the scientific audience their work isn’t practical or applicable to the real world. Conversely, we’ve attended campus workshops set up by academics to brief government officials and scientists about their research findings where the researchers reuse conference slide decks to present critiques of implemented policies, decisions, or operations.

We can each work together to increase our intellectual humility to ensure what we each know and how we know it doesn’t get in the way of our communication and collaboration. This means making sure our egos and preferred ways of working take a back seat to engaging and working together. Being willing to admit we don’t know everything or that we may be wrong goes a long way in allowing researchers and practitioners to strengthen our mutual empathy and trust so we can better co-create risk reduction solutions.

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Reducing natural hazard impacts and disaster risk requires better communication and collaboration between researchers and practitioners. We want to hear from you: What are the challenges and victories you encounter with integrating research and practice in your work?

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