iSEE Seeks Critical Conversation Topic

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (iSEE) is soliciting ideas for a Critical Conversation to be held in Spring 2020 on a grand societal challenge related to environmental sustainability.

A Critical Conversation is a forum for identifying solutions to wicked problems that are difficult to solve because of many diverse interest groups, multiple and complex dimensions, uncertainty and incomplete knowledge of solutions. A Critical Conversation typically revolves around a point of conflict or disagreement among stakeholders.

The Institute is seeking topics of current interest on problems with conflicting implications for different stakeholders who we can bring together to have a facilitated, constructive, and inclusive discourse.

The first iSEE Critical Conversation in May 2018 focused on the challenge of reducing nitrogen runoff from agriculture, which is causing hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Our second Critical Conversation in May 2019 focused on ethical, environmental, and human health implications of the use of genetically modified mosquitoes for disease control.

These events have brought together leaders from industry, academia, government, and non-government organizations to share their viewpoints and identify potential technical, market, and policy pathways for finding a solution. More details about the structure of the conversation — and the first two events — are on our webpage >>>

iSEE staff members provide organizational and logistical, and iSEE bears all the direct costs for the event. The Institute will also arrange for an external moderator to facilitate the conversation. A Critical Conversation is expected to generate two products: 1) a scholarly article outlining the consensus solution or key next steps in pursuing a solution; and 2) an op-ed piece submitted to a prominent national media outlet for public dissemination. Outcomes from the Critical Conversation will also be shared via social media to spark further awareness and dialogue.

To suggest a topic for our 2020 Critical Conversation, please send an email by Aug. 30, 2019, to Madhu Khanna with Critical Conversation in the subject line. In the body of the email, include up to three sentences that describe the topic, why this is a wicked problem, and the major point of conflict among stakeholders. Include the name of three to five scholars on campus who would be interested in participating in this Critical Conversation.