Ezra's Round Table/Systems Seminar - Erika Palmer: Radical Collaboration, 2/25/2022
From E. Cornelius
The concept of radical collaboration is highlighted in mission statements, initiatives, and high-level directives of many universities, research organizations and funding agencies. Yet when radical collaboration happens, it is the exception, and also exceptional – as these collaborations are producing the most impactful research.
So how does radical collaboration happen? Why are some disciplinary relationships easier to foster than others?
This talk is the story of one warrior’s crusade to get engineering, the social sciences and the humanities into a collaborative relationship. And as in most ambiguous campaigns, the journey through the battlefield yields more information about the problem rather than the solution. Though some battles are won, wandering goalposts, misdirection and hostility are the norm. There is reason for hope however, and those on the frontlines are making progress.
Using a social systems approach and examples from the intersection of policy and engineering, this talk will give insight into the pitfalls as well as signs of hope and success for radical collaborative research bringing meaningful impact to society and the environment.
Erika Palmer is a transdisciplinary social/sociotechnical systems expert and currently a research scientist at Sintef in Trondheim, Norway (soon joining the Cornell Systems Engineering faculty). She holds a PhD in Systems Engineering and Social Policy from the University of Bergen (Norway), an MSc in Industrial Ecology/ Environmental Engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), an MSc in Biological Anthropology from University College London (UCL) and a BA in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Palmer is the founder and co-chair of the Social Systems Working Group (SocWG) and regional lead for Empowering Women Leaders in Systems Engineering (EWLSE) of the International Council for Systems Engineering (INCOSE). She is the Thread Chair for Psychology and Human Behavior for the International System Dynamics Conference (ISDC). Through her research projects, Palmer leads international, interdisciplinary modeling teams that work to address societal challenges. She takes a collaborative, stakeholder-centric systems engineering approach, where social scientists and humanities scholars are working hands-on together with engineers in a variety of application areas, such as agriculture/aquaculture, circular/blue/bio-economy, ethics, gender, social/public policy, historical dynamics, biotechnology, critical infrastructure and cybersecurity.