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Final Comments on the Science Plan for the North Pacific Research Board Comments on NPRB Draft Science Plan – Chapter 4 Chapter 4 discusses planned NPRB partnerships including but not limited to the strategy that will be developed to gather and utilize Local and Traditional Knowledge (LTK).1 These important outreach programs will provide opportunities to enhance the NPRB mission and to broaden its support base. The proposed partnerships with the fishery industry and plans to involve teachers and students with NPRB research were exemplary. The committee also suggests that final reports of the NPRB-funded studies include lay as well as technical summaries. This will simplify the task of communicating results to the lay public. Overall, the committee felt that this chapter was thoughtful and well prepared. The committee commends the Board for their planned use of LTK, but also reminds them of the potential challenges. In this regard it is imperative to engage the target Alaska native communities from the start to foster trust and meaningful collaborations. The NPRB project must be a “two-way” street, or it will not succeed. The plan articulated in Chapter 4 is a very good start. As mentioned previously, the NPRB will be a stronger program if it builds relationships with other entities and programs, as discussed in the draft Science Plan in section 4.2. Two particularly timely activities are the recently released Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (2004) and planning for the International Polar Year 2007-2008 (NRC, 2004a). Both share the goal of increasing understanding of biological, physical, and social processes in polar regions. Education and outreach are key components of most science programs and in this regard NPRB is no exception. However it is one thing to acknowledge this and another to actually carry out these important missions. The committee believes that the NPRB should establish explicit performance goals that can be compared to actual achievement in these areas. In this regard, the Committee urges the NPRB to consider contracting with a professional education research and development organization to provide formative and summative evaluation services, at the program’s inception and at five-year intervals thereafter. The external organization could provide guidance on all aspects of the NPRB’s success from basic and applied research to education and outreach. 1 The NPRB uses the term Local and Traditional Knowledge to connote the experimental knowledge of all local residents, including Alaska Natives and others with experience-gained knowledge such as commercial fishers. This is a slightly different concept than the more common seen term “Traditional and Ecological Knowledge” (TEK).
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Final Comments on the Science Plan for the North Pacific Research Board RECOMMENDATIONS: The final reports for NPRB-funded research should include both a technical and a lay summary. The latter will be invaluable as a means of public information about NPRB’s mission. Performance measures for outreach and education should be established, and a non-profit education organization should be contracted to provide a periodic formal review of the NPRB’s success in education and outreach.
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