What We Do

At IAN, we believe the sound science can and should be used to make the world a better place. Bold new ideas usher in change. Throughout history, thought revolutions have occurred when the work of scientists allowed people a new perspective on the world, and their role in it. In the past, the biggest philosophical questions included: "what is our place in the universe?", "what are we made of?" and "where do we come from?". Today there is a new and pressing question "how do we live on our rapidly changing planet in a sustainable manner?". We believe that bold new thinking by scientists, accompanied by effective communication with the public can be used to catalyze an engaged citizenry to answer this new, pertinent question and begin a thought revolution in sustainability.

Our Mission

IAN's mission is to accomplish positive environmental change through scientific synthesis, engagement, and communication.

Within our overall mission, IAN strives to achieve the following:

  • Create positive environmental change both locally and globally.
  • Insert science into management and decision-making.
  • Make scientific information available to broad audiences.
  • Improve environmental literacy.
  • Increase engagement of stakeholders in environmental decision-making.

One of IAN's strengths is our ability to combine science visualizations with engaging narratives to produce compelling science communication products in both print and electronic formats. We achieve this through facilitation and engagement so we can produce products with scientists from different academic disciplines and with people from diverse backgrounds. We thrive in this role, and recognize the importance of continued learning in order to expand our capabilities and continually improve our ability to achieve our mission.

Our core values

IAN staff look forward to new challenges, learning and innovation. We enjoy the immersive education achieved from traveling the new locations, meeting experts, and going on field trips and site visits. We seek to foster good partnerships that support these activities. But the value that really motivates and sustains us is applying our abilities to help our partners with their science synthesis and communication challenges. We value co-producing great products in a timely and cost-effective manner with a diversity of partners. In addition to the intensity and focus that we bring to our partnerships, we also strive for some lightheartedness so that we and our partners have fun in the process.

Core IAN values are the following:

  • Commitment to science integration and application that epitomizes our institutional responsibility to serve society.
  • Adherence to the highest standards of academic rigor, accuracy, and honesty in the development of science applications.
  • Engagement in translational sciences in partnership with UMCES scientific colleagues, other units in the University System of Maryland, and the State of Maryland for the wise stewardship of Maryland resources.
  • Responsiveness to the needs of colleagues, partners, sponsors, governments and stakeholders.
  • Development of an atmosphere of fairness, openness and inclusion, enhancing shared governance and a commitment to diversity.

Our strategic priorities

Partner engagement is important to IAN because 1) IAN staff enjoy working with talented, motivated and capable people, 2) Happy partners recommend IAN to their colleagues, which helps keep IAN financially solvent, and 3) IAN aspires to build capacity with partners so that they can help multiply impacts of IAN activities.

Social impacts are important to IAN because: 1) broad dissemination of IAN products aids the ability of IAN and partners to effect positive environmental change, 2) the total reach that IAN products have in the world helps insert science into decision-making and 3) teaching and training by IAN can empower more people to create more effective science applications.

Ecological outcomes are important to IAN because: 1) the ultimate goal of IAN activities is to achieve positive ecological outcomes, 2) IAN has a longstanding involvement and impact in Chesapeake Bay and the Maryland Coastal Bays, and 3) the global ecological status assessments can help other groups use this tool to create positive ecological outcomes.

In addition to the overall strategic priorities, IAN has identified a suite of internal goals and aspirations, including financial viability, staff happiness, functionality, and capacity building. We consider these internal goals to be essential for the continued viability of IAN. IAN needs to be financially solvent with a functional organizational structure, but more importantly, needs to support overall staff happiness and continued professional growth.