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Publication Date
29 March 2024

New MSD Working Groups Announced


Working Groups are a central component of the MSD Community of Practice (CoP), where researchers from different disciplines, projects and institutions coordinate and innovate MSD research and support community development. The MSD CoP is pleased to announce the establishment of two new Working Groups.

Artificial Intelligence Working Group

This new working group will identify and quantify opportunities and risks associated with recent AI advances and their implementation in MSD science. Through webinars, trainings, conference sessions, and a community-wide data competition, the working group will investigate how AI can 1) expand the breadth and depth of data available for model development, 2) help us understand model structures, and 3) support model diagnostics of coupled model chains. We will also explore AI techniques that expand the current tools available for control problems (e.g., Reinforcement Learning), thereby allowing us to operate and plan highly nonlinear and interconnected Human-Earth systems.

This working group is chaired by Stefano Galelli (Cornell University) and David Gold (Utrecht University), with communications support from Jill Sturtevant (Baylor University). Membership is open to all researchers and practitioners interested in exploring emerging AI applications in MSD research, both within the US and internationally. Existing expertise in AI is not required to join this group, and we welcome new members interested in learning about how to apply and advance AI tools for MSD science. We aim to create a diverse team of experts from multiple MSD-related disciplines. Group members can be from any sector and background, including academia, industry, and government at any career stage.

It is an exciting time for both AI and MSD research. If you’re interested in exploring and advancing the latest AI innovations in MSD science, consider joining our group! To join, please contact Stefano Galelli, David Gold, or Jill Sturtevant.

Equity Working Group

This new working group aims to advance research on social equity in Multi-Sector Dynamics. The complex evolution of human-environment systems has important equity implications. Understanding these dynamics is essential to guiding infrastructure toward sustainable futures. While recent MSD research has progressed understanding of distributive impacts of interventions in human-environmental systems, important knowledge gaps remain. First, modeling advances are needed to capture distributive social impacts on systems with multiple stressors and interconnected risks. Second, there has been limited integration of modeling work with important related work in social sciences and humanities. Third, the equity implications of different collaborative knowledge processes have not been assessed. This WG will focus on assessing the current status of MSD equity research, identifying key research frontiers, and supporting community members in advancing these frontiers.

This working group is co-chaired by Sarah Fletcher (Stanford University), Amanda Giang (University of British Columbia), and Rebecca Saari (University of Waterloo). We welcome all interested in joining. We are interested in bringing together a group with diverse expertise and are particularly aiming to increase participation in the social science and humanities communities, serving as a bridge to fields currently underrepresented in MSD. Participants can be from any career stage and any sector, especially encouraging participation from community groups and practitioners. Similarly, working group members can have any level of background knowledge in social equity issues: we welcome those new to thinking about social equity issues in MSD research but interested in learning more. We encourage participation from researchers who have been historically and systematically underrepresented in human-environment systems research. If you are interested in the intersection of social equity and MSD research, please consider joining our working group! To join or learn more, please reach out to any of the co-chairs: Sarah Fletcher, Amanda Giang, and Rebecca Saari, or communications officer, Matt Sparks.

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This article is part of the MSD Community Newsletter. Read the full March 2024 edition.

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