Sara Farley Deconstructs Network Difficulties at AAAS Annual Meeting

Every year, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, thousands of scientists, researchers, and policymakers gather to discuss the year’s most exciting, challenging, and relevant developments. This year, at the Boston event (held February 14-18)  GKI Chief Operating Officer Sara Farley joined an intriguingly-named panel titled “A Tale of Two Networks: Connecting the African Drylands, Rio de Janeiro, and Women.”

Sara offered insight on GKI’s research on distributed networks working to solve challenges and our own experience forging networks spread across East Africa, Southeast Asia, North America, and elsewhere.  She discussed some of the most vexing challenges in developing and managing international STI networks.  The current literature and GKI fieldwork point to a number of common challenges: competing incentives, communication breakdowns, lack of knowledge-sharing, and the difficulty of network measurement.   Sara showed how—through our on-the-ground experiences—we have wrestled with these issues.

We were excited that Sara was able to present alongside notables such as Jesse Njoka, director of the Center for Sustainable Dryland Ecosystems and Societies at the University of Nairobi; Cardinal Warde, MIT Professor of Electrical Engineering and President of the Caribbean Science Foundation; and Noshir Contractor, Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University.  Dr. Contractor’s presentation on the central roles of actors within a network dovetails particularly well with GKI work in network optimization.  You can see some of his exciting (and we think very helpful) work here.

Contributors: Peter Glover and Andrew Gerard

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