A Three-Legged Stool or Race? Governance Models for NOAA RISAs, DOI CSCs, and USDA Climate Hubs

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015
Josh Foster, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, Corvallis, OR

NOAAs Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Teams, DOIs Climate Science Centers (CSCs), and USDAs Regional Climate Hubs (RCHs) have common missions of integrating climate and related knowledge across scientific disciplines and regions to create “actionable” information that decision-makes can use to manage climate risks and impacts at state and local scales. However, the sponsoring agency programs, university investigators, and local federal officials govern each differently. The three models of program and center governance are 1) exclusively university (RISAs), 2) a hybrid of Federal government and (host) university (CSCs), and 3) exclusively Federal (Hubs). Each model has it's advantages and disadvantages in terms of legal definition and authority, scientific mission requirements and strategies, flexibility and legitimacy to conduct research and to collaborate regionally with constituencies, leadership and governance approach and “friction points,”, staff capacity and ability to engage stakeholders, necessity to deliver products and services, bureaucratic oversight, performance evaluation, and political support at Congressional, state, and local levels. Using available sources of information and data, this paper will compare and contrast the strengths and weakness of these three regional applied climate science center governance models.