The Integration and Application Network (IAN) is a dedicated group of scientists intent on solving, not just studying environmental problems. IAN is an initiative of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. IAN's mission is to inspire, manage and produce timely syntheses and assessments on key environmental issues, with a special emphasis on Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. IAN is a network which includes different agencies and institutions in different locations. IAN staff are physically located at the following sites:
The IAN building is on the campus of Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay overlooking the Choptank River, near Cambridge, Maryland.
The Chesapeake Bay Program, a partnership run by the Environmental Protection Agency, which includes federal agencies and academic partners is located at the mouth of the Severn River in the Eastport section of Annapolis on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay.
MD Department of Natural Resources, a partnership between UMCES and DNR on climate change projects.
UMCES Annapolis Office with staff and conference facilities located in downtown historic Annapolis on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay.
Main IAN Office
University of Maryland Center
for Environmental Science
PO Box 775
2020 Horns Point Rd
Cambridge, MD 21613, USA
UMCES Annapolis Office
1 Park Place
Annapolis, MD 21401, USA
Chesapeake Bay Program
410 Severn Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21403 USA
Department of Natural Resources
Tawes State Office Building, E-3
580 Taylor Ave
Annapolis, MD 21401 USA
The name "Integration and Application Network" is partially derived from the four tenets of scholarship articulated in Scholarship Revisited: Priorities of the Professoriate (Boyer, 1990; Carnegie Foundation). In this influential treatment, the four tenets of academic scholarship are redefined as discovery, integration, application and teaching, replacing the more traditional research, teaching and service. IAN focuses on the scholarship of integration and application, which includes conducting integration and application activities as well as studying, teaching and publishing about these enterprises. The network component of IAN refers to the different agencies and institutions that comprise IAN—it is not a center or an institution, rather a distributed network of partners and collaborating entities. Another reason for the acronym IAN was to commemorate the charismatic scientist Dr. Ian Morris, who was the head of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science from 1981-1988. Ian was committed to conducting good science and making it relevant, so working for IAN (or Ian) is consistent with his vision.
IAN personnel can be grouped into the following general categories: Science Integrators, Science Communicators, Science Analysts, and administrative support. Science Integrators have PhD training as research scientists and have developed synthesis skills and work closely with various partners to apply scientific results. Science Communicators have Masters training or equivalent science training and have developed graphical design and layout skills. Science Analysts have a variety of educational backgrounds with specific training and skills, such as geographic information science, modeling, web design, statistical and data analysis. Administrative support includes providing information technology, financial accounting, travel arrangements for IAN staff. The importance of science integration and application within the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is reflected in the creation in 2002 of a novel position, Vice President for Science Applications, who is charged with developing IAN. IAN also has an intern program in which recent graduates with Bachelor degrees spend one or two semesters mentored by Science Communicators.
IAN actively recruits new partners and generates increasing income from grants and contracts. IAN has had an increasing number and diversity of grants and contracts to support integration and application activities. The staff levels of IAN have steadily increased to the present two dozen people. IAN produces some ten proposals per year and enjoys a relatively high success rate.
IAN teaches science communication at various locations nationally (e.g., Florida, Ohio, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, South Dakota, Louisiana) and globally (e.g., Thailand, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Indonesia, Palau, Samoa). IAN has trained over 500 scientists from over 200 agencies or institutions.
IAN Press was launched in 2009 to facilitate the inexpensive dissemination of science communication products. IAN Press is committed to producing practical, reading-friendly communications that foster a better understanding of science and enable readers to pursue new opportunities in research, education and environmental problem-solving. IAN Press provides online access to view or download all 395 science communication products, at no charge except for a few IAN Press books, which are available both as hard copy and as electronic books. The charge for the IAN Press books is minimal; with pricing dictated by printing costs.
Four page design layout newsletters are produced frequently (~10/year), capturing workshop outcomes, providing updates on research findings, or synthesizing key issues. Peer review publications, focused on scientific synthesis are published in the scientific literature (~6/year). Posters are produced for scientific conferences or workshops (~6/year). Booklets and book chapters are also produced (~1/year each). IAN books, employing science communication principles, are produced for thematic or geographic topics (~1/year). Collectively, IAN produces a large volume and variety of publications.
IAN produces an expanding array of annual ecohealth report cards. The Chesapeake Bay report card is produced annually (since 2006), with new indicators, analyses and web features added each year. The Maryland Coastal Bays report card is produced annually (since 2008) and both Chesapeake Bay and the Maryland Coastal Bays report cards are supported by extensive content-laden web materials. IAN is increasingly engaged in working with groups of citizen scientists to produce regional ecohealth report cards. IAN is also advising or working with other organizations around the world to produce ecohealth report cards.
IAN websites are actively evolving both content and functionality. The main IAN website (ian.umces.edu) is expansive and is actively growing content with constantly updated materials being posted. A monthly enewsletter has been produced since 2005, with other features added more recently (e.g., IAN Blog, facebook, and twitter added in 2009). IAN has produced several satellite websites, including the EcoCheck website (ian.umces.edu/ecocheck/) and the National Estuarine Eutrophication Assessment website (ian.umces.edu/neea/).
The IAN website is heavily utilized by increasing numbers of people. The IAN website attracts over 120,000 unique visitors per year and a large rise in visitations has been occurring since early in 2009. The IAN website has a global reach, with visitors coming from virtually every country on earth. We have had 85571 people download the IAN symbol libraries from 243 countries since 2004. The symbol libraries are comprised of 2782 vector symbols that can be used to create conceptual diagrams used in various science communication products. They are accompanied by a suite of online training materials, including tutorials, discussion forum, powerpoint slides, and examples. The rate of symbol library downloads has been relatively consistent over multiple years. The image library is comprised of 7452 photographs, symbols, video clips, and maps with 2861748 views and 279293 downloads since 2007.
IAN has been developing a public voice through the media. Since 2006, IAN has had 520 media citations, including National Public Radio, Reuters, Associated Press, United Press International, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Annapolis Capital, and various Washington and Baltimore television news programs. Some stories featuring IAN, especially environmental report cards, are given prominent notice (e.g., front page).
IAN maintains 'broad-band' communication, maximizing transparency internally and externally. A considerable effort is made to communicate within IAN as well as more broadly to IAN partners and interested individuals and organizations. Internally, IAN produces a weekly newsletter noting what is happening within the IAN group, IAN staff use shared computer drives to enhance collaboration, and instant messaging is used to maintain close communication. Each IAN location has access to interactive video. Working together on group projects and shared teaching duties also serves to enhance internal collaboration. IAN staff are equipped with laptops and mobile phones, so they frequently have co-located work days at the Annapolis Synthesis Center or in the IAN building on the Horn Point Laboratory campus. Externally, IAN produces a monthly enewsletter with 4 items/month (since mid-2005) which is disseminated to over 1,500 individuals and archived on the IAN website. The IAN website has file-sharing capabilities for collaborating with external partners. IAN staff regularly travel to visit partner work sites. IAN's media presence also serves to communicate activities.
IAN is unique in its focus, academic affiliation and capabilities. There really isn't anything quite like IAN. Four examples of similar types of organizations are used to illustrate how they differ in focus from IAN are the following:
- Academia elsewhere has either focused on discovery & teaching, and if they do have a science applications component, these applications are usually focused on policy, including white papers and legislative lobbying; IAN is more focused on synthesis and practical application than policy.
- SeaGrant is a well established network in coastal states created to link academic research with user groups not unlike IAN, but SeaGrant is a granting body with an outreach and extension focus; IAN does not provide grants and does not have extension agents, rather is more focused on science communication and integration than outreach & extension.
- Synthesis centers (e.g., National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California) are focused on high quality peer review publications; IAN is focused on science communication products that target a broader and different audience, including resource managers as well as scientists.
- Environmental non-government organizations (NGOs) are focused on implementation and empowerment of local communities; IAN is more focused on providing the tools and training and the scholarship of integration & application.
IAN does operate within an academic institution, often works with SeaGrant, has participated in synthesis center working groups and is increasingly partnering with environmental NGOs. However, none of these entities are quite what IAN has become, and, at least for now, IAN is quite unique.