Co-production of Knowledge


Supporting Co-production of Knowledge at the NNA-CO

The co-production of knowledge is increasingly referenced as a best practice approach to collaborative, transdisciplinary, action-oriented research in the Arctic and beyond. Co-production of knowledge is a collaborative and equitable process that brings different knowledge systems and methodologies together in a holistic view to address research, policy, and management interests. In the Arctic, co-production most often refers to processes that support synergistic roles for Indigenous knowledge holders and conventional scientists based on principles of equity, reciprocity and commitment to relationship building. The NNA-CO will build capacity within the NNA research community to recognize and practice meaningful engagement and partnership with Indigenous Peoples and communities.

In support of this objective, the NNA-CO will undertake several key activities. The first is to develop a training for initiating, designing and implementing collaborative research with Arctic Indigenous communities. The training will provide practical information for future NNA project proposers such as how and when to engage Tribal institutions, how to establish community-led data sharing agreements, and how to identify and address cultural barriers, power imbalances, compensation, and logistical and financial constraints. A second activity is the creation of a culturally appropriate curriculum to advance collaborative and community-based Arctic research. NNA researchers will be invited to contribute guest lectures and content to the course, which will be developed for online instruction through Alaska Pacific University and in cooperation with the University of the Arctic. Finally, the NNA-CO will establish mechanisms for Indigenous communities to share their research interests and needs with NNA scientists by partnering with Indigenous-led organizations and hosting regular engagement opportunities at meetings and conferences that draw both researchers and Indigenous participants. Research-community connections will be communicated through a quarterly podcast series that will be made available online and to rural Alaska communities in partnership with Indian Country Today, which has their Alaska bureau hosted at APU.


Co-production of Knowledge at the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) identifies co-production of knowledge as “the integration of different knowledge systems and methodologies to systematically understand the phenomena, systems, and processes being studied in a research project. In the Arctic, this often takes the form of Indigenous Knowledge holders and scientists working closely together to address shared research questions, pursue shared methodologies, and agree upon appropriate outreach and data sharing activities. A co-produced approach includes research in which local and Indigenous peoples and organizations fully engage in the complete research process from the development of research questions, to the collection, use and stewardship of data, and interpretation and application of results.” 

NSF recommends that Principal Investigators (PIs) begin outreach to potential community collaborators well in advance of the deadline for a proposal submission, and points PIs to the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic.

NSF’s web page on Local and Community Engagement and the Co-Production of Knowledge in NSF-Funded Arctic Science and Research points to examples of community engagement, relevant funding opportunities, and resources. The NSF solicitation focusing on ethical and responsible research (ER2) supports research that addresses the questions: “What constitutes responsible conduct for research (RCR), and which cultural and institutional contexts promote ethical STEM research and practice and why?” Research funded through this program may offer insights relevant to the co-production of knowledge in the Arctic.


Indigenous Community Protocols & Resources for Co-Production of Knowledge Research 

The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee provides a Northern Communities Strategic Document Synthesis Narrative  that contains Arctic research priorities and needs identified in public facing, community generated strategic documents, implementation plans, workshop reports or comment letters. The synthesis is a resource aid, not a definitive guide, and contains several documents pertaining to the co-production of knowledge processes in Arctic research (pages 5-7). 

The Arctic Research Consortium Office of the United States hosts a Northern Research with Arctic Communities resource page that includes documents with recommendations, best practices, or approaches to fostering respectful relationships between researchers and community members.