Science as Actionable Knowledge Workshop

The Global Council for Science and the Environment (GCSE) hosted a virtual Science as Actionable Knowledge Workshop on how to co-produce solutions-oriented knowledge with researchers, community members, decision-makers, and other knowledge users. 

Watch the event recording here:

Workshop session summaries (not recorded):

Community Engagement for Actionable Knowledge - facilitated by Natalia Brown, former Climate Justice Program Manager at Catalyst MiamiLynée Turek-Hankins, Doctoral Student, Environmental Science & Policy, University of Miami, and Mayra Cruz, Doctoral Student, Environmental Science & Policy, University of Miami 

  • Workshop leaders shared that partnership with community members is a valuable way to identify research questions. The actionable knowledge research project led by Lynée Turek-Hankins and Mayra Cruz studied extreme heat in Miami, which had been a topic of primary concern to community members for years, but had been overlooked by local elected officials who were instead focused on and preparing for flooding. 
  • Workshop leaders shared that allowing community members to lead research questions results in co-production of more useful knowledge and data.
  • Workshop leaders said that community members are excellent messengers. Involvement in citizen science can give citizens the confidence to speak publicly about their concerns which can in turn lead to political will for addressing community concerns.

Skills and Attitudes for Success - facilitated by Esther Obonyo, Associate Professor and Director, Global Building Network, Penn State University and Patrick Keys, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University

  • Workshop leaders used a storytelling approach to help participants think about successes and failures in research through the lens of actionable knowledge.
  • Workshop leaders shared a graphic compilation of skills and attitudes that support actionable knowledge production, such as patience, cross-cultural awareness, empathy, and embracing failure.
  • Participants shared their experiences with failures or difficulties in producing actionable knowledge, and referenced what skills/attitudes could help overcome those challenges.

Bring Your Own Research - facilitated by Christine Kirchhoff, Associate Professor, Penn State University and Leah Nichols, Exec. Director of the Institute for a Sustainable Earth, George Mason University

  • Workshop participants from various backgrounds and fields shared current and prospective work around actionable knowledge and discussed strategies for doing and enabling actionable knowledge production for an institution and individual.
  • There was specific interest from workshop participants on how to get faculty engaged and incentivized to produce actionable knowledge. Leah Nichols shared valuable models for this work, including the Stanford Impact Labs and George Mason University’s Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE). ISE purposefully connects faculty with stakeholders (i.e. community members, researchers, scientists and users) to encourage active dialogue and inspite future research.
  • The session closed with a conversation on how various types of experts (from lab-based scientists to decision-makers) can employ the knowledge that they hold to advance actionable knowledge production and decision-making.


In 2022, in partnership with NASA, GCSE led a successful pilot program on actionable knowledge to support a cohort of researchers as they pursued applications-oriented work to enhance user uptake and use in decision-making. Through a framework that would provide researchers with tools and guidance for ensuring their work maximized user engagement and benefits, GCSE helped researchers enhance the relevance of their work to stakeholders, and built community across the cohort of PIs participating in the augmentation process to share knowledge and experiences, develop new skills, and build capacity for sustained collaboration and engagement. 

Leveraging the learnings of the pilot program, GCSE produced the Science as Actionable Knowledge Video Series, released in September 2023. Through real-world examples and advice from these experts, viewers will learn how to create actionable knowledge, the skills and attitudes needed for actionable knowledge, and tips for how to make research more diverse, inclusive, and culturally relevant.


NASA Grant Award Number - 80NSSC21K1202

What is Actionable Knowledge?

Actionable Knowledge is defined as "knowledge that fits the needs and decision environments of users of that knowledge".