US-ELTP Research Inclusion Initiative

Updated on February 7, 2023, 11:22 am

 

NEWS

The first release of the US-ELTP Toolkit of Collaborative Practice is available! The Toolkit provides information on best practices for mutually beneficial research collaborations. It will provide proposers with the necessary information to build effective research inclusion plans. It will also provide reivewers with recommendations for assessing and ranking research inclusion proposals. This is the first version of the Toolkit; subsequent versions with additional content will be available in the comming months. We are soliciting feedback on Toolkit use and content. Please see the Feedback link in the Toolkit.

Suggested Citation: Sacco, Timothy, and Norman, Dara. 2023. US-ELTP Toolkit of Collaborative Practice. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7603698

OVERVIEW

The US-ELTP Research Inclusion Initiative (RII) is designed to broaden participation of underrepresented astronomers as well as faculty and students from minority-serving, small, and underserved institutions. Research inclusion is not just a priority of the US-ELTP; the Decadal Survey report Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics in the 2020s set inclusion in research contexts as a top priority for the astronomical community. The US-ELTP RII strives to lead efforts to make astronomy and astrophysics more inclusive for those scholars traditionally underrepresented in the research process by fostering a more equitable research environment both in our program and in the discipline more broadly.

The RII aims to encourage the participation of astronomers currently underrepresented in the research process by focusing on four areas of research inclusion:

  1. Establishing policies and procedures that enable and encourage mutually beneficial partnerships between astronomical researchers at various-sized institutions
  2. Fostering opportunities for scientific network and collaboration building
  3. Developing technical infrastructure that enables broad participation in astronomical research
  4. Providing instructional engagement and other resources for researchers at all career stages to support their training needs.

WHAT THE RII WILL PROVIDE

The RII will provide the following:

  1. A review of collaborative practices in astronomy, astrophysics, and other STEM fields to help PIs draft strong research inclusion plans. Through this review, we will develop recommendations for positive and improved science outcomes. 
  2. A Research Inclusion Toolkit that provides information on best practices for mutually beneficial research collaborations. The RI Toolkit will provide proposers with the necessary information to build effective research inclusion plans. It will also provide reviewers with recommendations for assessing and ranking research inclusion proposals. 
  3. Recommendations and guidelines on how the US-ELTP can support networking and collaboration building
  4. Recommendations for effective science platform training activities

Image of musical band depicting open collaboration concept

Our Jazz Band motif represents the idea of an Open Collaboration, where each partner brings their unique talent to the group  to create something larger than the sum of the parts. However, if one partner doesn’t know or isn’t taught the song or is not incorporated into the group in a thoughtful and meaningful way, the result is not productive.  Our Toolkit of Collaborative Practice, which is part of our Research Inclusion Initiative, is meant to aid and support the community in understanding best practices for building a successful Open Collaboration to reach the group’s scientific goals.

 

CULTURAL INTERVENTIONS
The US-ELTP RII is working to promote broad cultural change around inclusion in the astronomy and astrophysics community in several ways. In addition to requiring that US-ELTP observing proposals include a Research Inclusion Plan and developing the RI Toolkit, the RII also promotes networking and collaboration building among astronomers at various-sized institutions. In particular, we are working to foster cross-institutional partnerships between scholars at research institutions and scholars at smaller institutions traditionally absent from the research process. Establishing cross-institutional partnerships is a key strategy for broadening participation of scholars from underrepresented backgrounds and at institutions traditionally absent from large, collaborative research projects.