[MRANTI Webinar] Convergence: A Holistic Approach To Meet Societal Challenges

Government agencies, research organisations, industrial organisations and community groups are coming together to devise long-lasting solutions to societal and environmental challenges. Moving away from the traditional single or interdisciplinary methods, the convergence method combines deep integration and dialogue among multiple disciplines from different stakeholder groups to produce outcomes that are more robust, resilient, inclusive, and innovative.

A critical factor to realise convergent approaches is to engage in meaningful and transparent dialogues with multiple individuals and groups to fashion novel tools, approaches, and technologies.

The goal for this session is to discuss the points for developing techniques that can assist in the creation of spaces in which true convergent dialogue can be achieved. We will also be highlighting an example of such an approach; the National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator.

As our global society encounters increasing complex issues concerning public health, environmental degradation, demands for better quality food and water, severe weather events, social justice needs and such, we must fashion adaptable, holistic and system-based approaches to successfully resolve them.

How does it work?

45 minutes presentation

15 minutes Q&A

Key takeaways

Why a new paradigm is critical

Traditional siloed approach VS. convergent approach

Distinction between collaborative, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and convergent approaches in meeting challenges

Depth and material cycle approach enabled through convergence

Steps for successful convergence

National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence Accelerator case study

Speaker Profile

Dr Nora Savage
Program Director for the Nanoscale Interactions Program, NSF

Dr Nora Savage obtained her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering in 1992 from Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. She received two Masters Degree (in Environmental Engineering and Environment Science) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, located in Madison, Wisconsin in1995, and a doctoral degree in Environmental Science from the same institution in 2000. Currently, she serves as Program Director for the Nanoscale Interactions Program housed within the Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems Division of the Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. Her responsibilities include the management and coordination of technical scientific review panels and management of a grant portfolio of environmental nanotechnology research projects. Additional responsibilities include budget coordination, science policy communication, preparation of technical documents and interactions with diverse stakeholders to communicate and implement the mission of the Foundation. These responsibilities necessitate convening meetings and workgroups composed of a variety of stakeholders to obtain consensus around convergent efforts which advance environmental science and engineering. Nora is one of the Foundation’s representatives on the Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council that implements and coordinates activities and strategies of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). She has served as a representative for the NSET since 2001 when she was employed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Nora is committed to increasing diversity in science and engineering fields. The pathway towards achieving a sustainable, healthy, and peaceful world lies in the involvement of, dialogue with and inclusion of all members of our global society.