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2006 Customer Listening Session: Executive Summary

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently formed a Science Strategy Team (SST) to develop a strategy to draw on and integrate the diverse capabilities of the USGS in concert to better meet societal needs. The USGS hosted a listening session in Washington, D.C. on May 1, 2006 to gain insights from its stakeholders for this science strategy.

During the listening session, leaders from scientific associations, academic and research institutions, environmental interest groups, and other government agencies commented on what factors USGS should use to identify priority issues and challenges, potential USGS roles in addressing the challenges, and the relationship between societal trends and science priorities.

Participants supported the purposes articulated for creating the science strategy and expressed appreciation for the opportunity to be consulted. Overall, participants' comments highlighted the importance of investing in a strategic way across disciplines and programs, thinking in terms of such cross-cutting themes as the need to strengthen predictive/modeling tools, improving methods and the "cyber-infrastructure" for integrating information across multiple temporal and spatial scales, supporting innovation both in science and in society (e.g., new and emerging technologies), and the importance of baseline information and long-term data sets. USGS should also consider strategic investments in its workforce and infrastructure that support cross-cutting priorities. Several suggestions also were offered concerning strategic priorities in selected substantive areas, such as energy, water and the nexus of water with other key issues (e.g., water for ecosystem needs), natural hazards, zoonotic diseases, and invasive species research.

Participants emphasized several criteria for selecting USGS science priorities and shaping how these priorities can be implemented most strategically. Themes from these comments include:

Translating Data into Relevant Information for Decision-Makers. USGS work should produce information that is accessible, integrated, and clear to-non experts to be useful in policy-making and everyday program decisions.

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