Box 6 - Long-Term Investments in Capacity
While none of the cases provided exemplary systemic investments and commitments to building long-term capacity, several of the cases included examples of parts of what a systematic effort might look like:
PEAC made long-term investment in capacity building among both information users and PEAC information providers. They learned together how the climate system worked locally and what climate information could be produced and proved useful. At a higher level of technical capacity building, fellowships for new local weather service employees in the Freely Associated States and increases in National Weather Service staff in the territories have also contributed. Graduate assistantships at the University of Hawai’i also provided knowledge and experience with climate forecasting for the University of Hawai’i Meteorology Department graduate students, but much of that knowledge and experience will likely be lost to other regions of the world because of the limited number of positions in the field. In addition, many staff members at University of Hawai’i are trained as science translators and problem solvers.
The Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington has begun a systematic process of education to train students to undertake an interdisciplinary course of study. Interdisciplinary problems will be the focus of dissertations and other projects with the idea that the students will eventually move into agencies at every level (municipal, state, and federal). Students can get recognition/awards for the interdisciplinary work, and innovative coursework has been developed and implemented. In 2001, the Climate Impacts Group introduced a course that has since been taught every year and is cross-listed with several units. The purpose is to teach students how to do integrated assessment using the Pacific Northwest as a case study (Climate Impacts on the Pacific Northwest). In spring 2003, three more courses were introduced, two in the Evans School of Public Affairs (The Role of Science in Environmental Decisions; and Decision Making in the Face of Uncertainty: Practitioner Views on Environmental Resource Challenges) and one in the School of Marine Affairs (Integrated Assessment Applied to Marine Policy Problems). The School of Marine Affairs course is now integrated into the curriculum Marine Affairs Practice.