search priorities, and the key step in this process will be a national workshop on “discovery science” in March 2008.
One of the key findings of the Task 1 preliminary assessment was that “our understanding of the impact of climate changes on human well-being and vulnerabilities … is much less developed than our understanding of the natural climate system,” a conclusion that echoed findings of the earlier NRC review of the CCSP Draft Strategic Plan (NRC, 2004). For the March workshop, the Committee on Strategic Advice on the U.S. Climate Change Science Program commissioned two discussion papers on research priorities for climate change science. At least partly reflecting the finding from its first report, one of the papers is focused on underlying research priorities for human systems science, including the social sciences. The other is an equivalent summary of priorities related to the natural sciences.
As initially articulated by Strategic Advice committee member Charles Kolstad, the assignment was to prepare a “paper on social science priorities” as an input to the workshop, identifying up to 10 top priorities and considering ways to increase the engagement of core disciplines as well as multidisciplinary researchers. Thus defined, the priorities were to be focused on relatively basic research rather than applied research. For the assignment, the Committee on Strategic Advice to the U.S. Climate Change Science Program enlisted the assistance of members of the NRC Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change (CHDGC), who discussed the assignment in detail at the November 2007 CHDGC meeting. The result was a draft paper—an informal communication from the staff director of CHDGC.
The draft was discussed at the January meeting of the Strategic Advice committee, which asked that its scope be expanded to add an additional set of research priorities lying closer to the interests of mission agencies in the CCSP and comments on some implementation issues. This paper is the result.