Commitment to Safety, Inclusion, & Trust
NGEE Arctic has made a commitment to intentionally create a project-wide culture of safety, inclusion, and trust. Our philosophy regarding this commitment is:
- Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure
- Everyone is valued and has opinions that matter
- Everyone deserves to be heard
- Everyone is responsible for ensuring a respectful workplace
This commitment began many years ago at a Code of Conduct breakout session at the NGEE Arctic All-Hands meeting in 2015. This was the first of many (sometimes uncomfortable) discussions over the following years, and the first of many concrete activities the project has undertaken with a goal of creating a diverse, inclusive, safe, and secure project that facilitates strong cross-disciplinary collaboration and exciting scientific discoveries.
Building a Culture of Safety and Trust in Team Science
Over the past year, NGEE Arctic shared some of these lessons with the broader community of earth and environmental scientists. The leadership team led a paper in Eos (Iversen et al., 2020) that highlighted our shared values: safe and harassment-free work environments, respect for local culture and knowledge of the environment in areas and communities where we are guests, and collaboration and open science. This paper was well received by the broader community and was the foundation for an AGU Session, co-convened by Bob Bolton, on "Developing a Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in All Our Work, in All Our Places" (AGU Fall Meeting, 2020).
As scientists become part of larger teams and join broader and more diverse scientific endeavors, they must all become leaders in creating cultures of safety, inclusion, and trust. Ideally, all participants on such teams, as well as local communities and other stakeholders, feel that their views, concerns, and efforts are acknowledged and respected. Such a culture facilitates the physical and emotional well-being of individuals in scientific teams and in the local communities where scientists work.
Here, we share lessons learned from an “experiment within an experiment” that began as part of a large-scale, decade-long research project in Alaska. The experiment was focused on answering the question, How can we intentionally create a project-wide culture of safety, inclusion, and trust that facilitates strong cross-disciplinary collaboration and exciting scientific discoveries?"
Iversen, C. M., W. R. Bolton, A. Rogers, C. J. Wilson, and S. D. Wullschleger (2020), Building a culture of safety and trust in team science, Eos, 101, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020EO143064. Published on 21 April 2020.
"Safe, Secure, Open, & Inclusive"
Commitment to a Culture of Safety
NGEE Arctic plans to continue its emphasis on creating an inclusive project culture in the future with leadership from early-career scientists. We are hosting project-wide tabletop planning exercises that pose a series of “what-if” scenarios on topics including severe accidents or illness in the field, interpersonal interactions, and sexual or verbal assault. These tabletop planning exercises will build on lessons learned from a round of safety discussions held in spring 2021 by each partner institution to reassess safety planning after the pandemic, in which we revisited ongoing and addressed new safety concerns.