Connecting climate information with practical uses: Extension and the NOAA RISA program

John Stevenson, Michael Crimmins, Jessica Whitehead, Julie Brugger, Clyde Fraisse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


This chapter explores the evolving relationship between two boundary organizations responsible for connecting and mediating the boundary between climate information producers and users: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program and Land Grant and Sea Grant Extension. The RISA program began in the 1990s to improve the link between climate science and society by supporting university consortia that could be responsive to regional stakeholder needs. Today, the RISA program funds 11 programs throughout the United States. The mission to connect science to society is also embodied in the Cooperative Extension Service established at Land Grant Universities across the United States over a century ago in response to growing demands for usable science to support agricultural and resource management activities. Since then, the Cooperative Extension Service, or Extension, has pioneered and developed a rich history by bridging the gap between research from universities and the needs of practitioners such as agricultural producers, forest landowners, resource managers, and in more recent decades, with coastal and fishery audiences through the development of NOAA Sea Grant Extension. Their similar missions have not been lost on these institutions. To date, four RISAs have Extension personnel on their program staff. These connections to support both Extension and RISA functions, and provide a basis for describing how RISA-Extension collaborations have built knowledge-to-action networks (KANs), in many cases to inform the use of science in climate adaptation. Using these collaborations as the basis of case studies, this chapter reviews the relationship between these institutions and how it has supported four critical functions found in boundary organization literature: communication-connecting with diverse audiences; translation-translating between science producers and consumers; mediation-negotiating between science producers and consumers; and convening-bringing together multiple parties. The chapter closes with a discussion on the synthesis of future opportunities for continued boundary work to increase the use of climate information in decision-making and the challenges in achieving further integration of activities into each institution's respective services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClimate in Context
Subtitle of host publicationScience and Society Partnering for Adaptation
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781118474785
ISBN (Print)9781118474792
StatePublished - Apr 29 2016


  • Boundary organization
  • Cooperative Extension
  • Sea Grant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Connecting climate information with practical uses: Extension and the NOAA RISA program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this