and Human Services).10 Furthermore, it is critical to ensure that funding structures support data sharing, encourage citability, and so on, but at the same time, an emphasis on sharing should be balanced with the need for researchers actually to collect data and to begin solving problems.

Another role that funding agencies can play is to fund longer-term projects and to be tolerant of risk, particularly in these multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary, potentially high-impact research areas. It may be useful to target special funds that encourage the switching of focus to sustainability challenges and to incentivize grounded, domain-specific collaboration and training.11

PRINCIPLE: Refine funding and programmatic options to reinforce and provide incentives for the necessary boundary crossing and integration in CS research to address sustainability challenges. In particular, funding, promotion, and review and assessment (peer review) models should emphasize in-depth integration with data and deployments from the constituent domains.

PRINCIPLE: There should be strong incentives at all stages of research for focusing on solving real problems whose solution can make a substantial contribution to sustainability challenges, along with in-depth metrics and evaluative criteria to assess progress.

Another critical issue for structuring research is to build in evaluation tools for prioritizing efforts and evaluating meaningful impact. The committee offers an evaluative framework below.


One of the greatest challenges in multidisciplinary research is to establish evaluation metrics that are both actionable and meaningful across the constituent disciplines. This chapter concludes by identifying methodological opportunities for optimizing research outcomes and impacts. Each of the recommended areas for evaluation necessarily incorporates


10An example of such a program is NSF’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Program.

11An illustrative example is the National Institutes of Health Mentored Quantitative Research Development Award (K25), which serves to fund quantitatively trained researchers so that they can learn about an area of biomedical science (see These awards require the identification of a mentor in the substantive area and a plan for training; they provide funding for a commitment of at least 75 percent time.

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