NetSci High Participates in NSF Roundtable on Broader Impacts

in #DataNetSciK20, News
December 5th, 2015

On December 3, NetSci High’s Paul Trunfio participated in a roundtable discussion on broader impacts with Dr. Pramod Khargonekar, Assistant Director, NSF Directorate for Engineering, BU Associate Provost for Research Gloria Waters, and several STEM Education leaders at Boston University.

Paul’s remarks, which follow, focused on the goal of NetSci High to achieve broader impacts though program sustainability and scaling:

There are two core avenues for achieving broader impacts in terms of K-12 STEM education, acknowledging other impacts that may be intrinsic to the research itself, such as technological advances:

  • Standalone K-12 STEM education projects funded by the EHR directorate.
  • K-12 STEM activities related to science research projects, or more substantial activities through science research centers.

In practice, both avenues have limitations in terms of K-12 STEM impact – standalone education projects are more limited by sustainability, while science research projects are more limited by impact. These limitations, in our view, are driven by the “missing piece” of overlap between the two; they each cannot achieve their potential by staying separate. Purposeful coordination that strives to integrate broader impacts may provide a path for an appropriate balance between these two avenues, thereby leading to greater overall impact.

While NetSci High has been successful, we are grappling with sustainability and scaling, which we believe are coupled to the “missing piece”. We are now laying the groundwork for leveraging NetSci High to explore sustainable opportunities at the intersection of “cyberlearning” and data science, systems science and network science. We are exploring the best ideas and strategies to bridge university research, undergraduate education, industry partnerships, and K-12 students and teachers. Our aim is to grow institutional capacity of our broader impacts portfolio while also to strengthen partnerships outside of the University.

We will be hosting a strategic planning summit at BU in Winter 2016 funded by supplemental funding from NSF’s ITEST program. We have also started a Development Portal for strategic growth.

For more information, contact Paul Trunfio