NOI dialogue

DAVID: Here are some general questions:

1. I’d still like to put correspondence like this, up on the blog. Is that still o.k.?

2. Gone with the insight grant – still agree? (the development insight grants also look good, but also aren’t technically open right now). Looks like I don’t have to worry about the CV until the main proposal is submitted (but I’ll double check – that is not going to be fun to do)

3. Ideas on who best to be the main applicant (you or me?) I’ve got the education lab, but in terms of academic CV as well as general wherewithal, I kind of think you are the stronger individual (I’ve gone off the academic track for the last ten or so years, and even then it was primarily hardcore genetics, biochemistry – I do have a number of “publications” in the sense of things published in magazines, and high impact websites). In other words, does the Insight grant have hierarchies as to who the “main” applicant is, and whether that needs to be established at the NOI stage? BTW: I’m pretty easy – my main focus is to be successful so that we could do some interesting research, and to be honest, I’m not really in this to beef up my CV (although I do think it’s both an interesting and important research question we’re thinking about).

NOI laid out three primary pieces of information that needed communicating. They are:

Objective: I think I’ve set this out in the general sense. Took my cues from what I read from the great docs you sent along.

Methodology – unclear on how specific you want to be here at the NOI stage. Mine is currently quite general. Basically details taking advantage of an educational unit with good connections, significant seed funding, and willing to try to things out! Still, I would imagine that this is where we might want to mention specific types of questionnaires, or surveys (or that we aim to produce a survey specific for our programming). If so, I can also provide more detail on an example of one of our science+creativity programs (i.e. the SCLS).

Anticipated Significance and impacts of proposed research – definitely need help here. Is my general rambling o.k., or are there concrete expectations/answers to questions that are familiar in the sociology/education circles we should lay out. This part might be better written by you, with a better feel for the science/creativity academics.

Anyway, without further ado, here is what I have so far:

Science is a creative endeavor. This is obvious to many who actively participate in scientific research as they see their work as a continuum of creation, whether it leads to product or discovery (ref). Similarly, the notion that science is creative is also obvious when viewed under the lens of those who study creativity, a term that is rich with diverse interpretations but often abridged as “the ability to create work that is both novel and appropriate” (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999). Despite this clear agreement, public perceptions around science, including those perpetuated in classroom settings, almost universally exclude the role of creativity (Braund, 1999). As a result, this detachment leads individuals away from an authentic view of science, which not only creates false impressions, but could also lead to a loss of scientific identity, where one considers “who we think we must be to engage in science” (Calabrese Barton, 1998, p. 379), culminating in an unintended estrangement.

Under this context, this research will aim to explore notions and impressions of both authentic science and creativity, and the effect of science educational programming that actively promotes their connection. Here, the aim is to build education/sociology? research queries around the activities of a science education lab that: (a) operates within, and therefore has unparalleled access to, a highly regarded multidisciplinary scientific research unit – the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia; and (b) has already shown an inclination towards programming that relies on collaborations between scientific and artistic communities. Given that this programming also extends over a variety of school grade levels (elementary and secondary), takes place in a state of the art genetics research (authentic) space, involves participant numbers in the 1000s, and is malleable towards specific research interests; this collaboration and this research is viewed as an unprecedented opportunity to the delineate the effect of the science and creativity disconnect in public perception.

MARIE-CLAIRE: Great, thanks! I’ll take a look and get back to you with thoughts. For the IG vs. IDG, the main difference is meant to be the scope and length. IDGs are for exploratory work, new ideas, trying out methods or moving into new areas of research. They are max $75,000 for 1-2 years (which is actually still a lot for sci ed research, my last SSHRC full grant was $110,000 over 3 years). IGs are for fully developed and more large scale projects (up to 500K over 5 years I think). IDGs go in in the winter though rather than the fall. Deadline was mid-Feb last year. One thing we could do is proceed at this point like it’s an IG but keep in mind the possibility of changing to an IDG if it’s starting to feel more exploratory, which it might. There’s no obligation even if an NOI is submitted so we can get that in and see how the project is shaping up. SSHRC is big on things being exactly right for the program so if it feels exploratory we may have better success with an IDG but it will depend on how we frame things. And re Samson, we don’t need a firm commitment at this point from him. We can add him at the application stage or now, nothing is set in stone from the NOI to the app.

Cheers,

mc

DAVID: Sounds cool! In some respect, I think the insight grant could be especially strong if we build the proposal around your previous work and expertise in the creativity angle. The paper you sent me earlier is a great example, as it’s a mirror of something that the fieldtrip program inadvertently does, but at a larger scale. i.e. some of your previous work can be written with the development angle. I also like the idea of a longer term plan, especially since we do have good potential to do studies where we can collect longitudinal data (we can adapt to see children from Grade 3 to Grade 7 quite easily if that’s of interest). There’s also the argument that my lab’s programming has already been in existence for 4 to 5 years, so it can be written as something that has been worked on extensively (although not from a research perspective). I wonder if the development grant would have make more sense if you this wasn’t a collaboration, but I guess it depends on the specifics of the final research proposal. We should definitely chat more when I get back into Vancouver (and more into the swing of things!) Overall, however, I getting a big buzz out of this discussion – I think there could be some very interesting stuff done here!

Cheers
dave

DAVID: Just a quick question – I’m going through the CV stuff, and it’s making it obvious that my current activities and status don’t translate that well on the SSRHC CV (i.e. it looks weak from an academic/research point of view). Curious, if you thought, the NOI might be best submitted via your SSRHC account? I’m just seeing that most of the fields are quite restricted in what they are asking for and tend to be in things I only have some experience with (i.e. academic prizes, research grants, etc), which might be more common place for a full-on academic. I’m also game just to submit anyway, if you think that’s o.k. (especially at this stage), but if review committees are being set up based on the NOI information, then would it be better to send via you? Let me know what you think, and we’ll go from there.

Game on and cheers!
dave

MARIE-CLAIRE: Ya, the SSHRC CV system is a total nightmare for non-typical academics and non-academics. Let me take a look at the forms though, I don’t think they get the CV with the NOI, just the NOI and make up the panels based on the type of research. I’m totally happy to submit the NOI though, no problem if the CV does go with it. I just need to check if my final report for my SSHRC that ended this year needs to be in before the NOI (I think it needs to be in before I can PI a full grant app but I don’t think it has to be in now). I’ll check into it all today.

Cheers,
Marie-Claire

DAVID: Looking through the NOI submission, it does seem to involve highlighting the CV for the individual submitting (as well as mentioning who are co-applicants). I’ve got my CV ready so I am ready to submit if things are a too hectic at your end – just let me know.

Cheers
Dave

MARIE-CLAIRE: I’m just giving a go through of the NOI to add some more references, some SSHRC-ish language and some possible details of methods. I’ll send that off shortly (in the next hour or two) to see what you think. And everything will totally be just suggestions. One good thing is that we’re not held to any of these details. Really we just need to submit something so that the basic idea is on the list for October. I also checked with our research services officer and the CV doesn’t go in with this. The only connection is that the NOI grabs the PIs current job information from the CV. So as long as that is there for either of us, we’re good at this point. We can also change our mind on the roles between now and October. And have you gotten this stuff up on the blog? If not, we could put up a post with the various drafts of the NOI showing our work as we begin. What do you think?

Cheers,
mc

DAVID: This sounds great. I’ll take a peek at your edit/suggestions in the morning (you should be asleep at that point), and I’ll send back to you one last time for a look-see from you. Then, maybe a final send back to me from you just to thumbs up things generally (this would be your morning) – if I don’t get something from you at this stage before the deadline, I’ll just go ahead and submit. It sounds like I can submit the final edit of the NOI, so I can do that if you prefer* – that way you can get back to the move! I noticed that the NOI does ask for some research/discipline key words, so if you have a chance to pass on a few you think the SSRHC folks would most be familiar with, then that would be cool.

cheers
dave

* If in the end, you think it might be best or easiest for you to submit the NOI, then that’s cool as well. You can consider the edit I send back next to be a thumbs up overall. Just let me know, if you do plan on submitting yourself.

** I haven’t had a chance to tinker with website for a long while. If you’re game you can add all text from the NOI correspondence on the site, or I can do it as well (will wait until I get back to Vancouver which is on the upcoming monday).

MARIE-CLAIRE: Good morning! I’ve attached an expanded version with some additions from me. See what you think and add/change/delete as you like! So these are all just suggestions. I was thinking we needed a bit more detail so added in what I thought might work. Feel free to change, add, remove as you like. At the moment, it seems to fit in their textbook as well, with a little bit of room left over. For the application, we should probably send it to 435-5, the education panel. For keywords, we could use: science education; scientific creativity; scientific identity; creative writing. For discipline, probably select education. Science ed (especially this kind of stuff) lives in a weird interdisciplinary space between education, sociology of science and cultural and media studies. But since it’s with kids, usually Education is the best spot for us. There’s a reasonable chance of having a science education scholar on the panel (or maybe a math ed person, whom we often have some good overlap with) and our language and methods will be familiar to them.

Cheers,
Marie-Claire

Science is a creative endeavor, and it is essential that science education experiences both reflect that and provide opportunities for students to develop scientific creativity. Creativity is often described simply as “the ability to create work that is both novel and appropriate” (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). That general definition, however, hides the essential place that creativity has in the scientific process. Girod, Rau and Schepige (2003) make a strong case that scientific creativity relies on the same aesthetic thinking tools as the arts: science is not merely an algorithmic process of data collection and processing, but also stepping forward into bold conjectures about larger relationships in an attempt to understand connected systems. This is also a core message of science education literature in relation to teaching students about the nature of science: Science is a creative activity that relies on innovative and novel thinking by groups and individuals (e.g., Lederman, Abd-El-Khalick, Bell & Schwartz, 2002). Despite this consensus, opportunities for students to move beyond a surface acknowledgement of creativity, to recognize it as a core process science and develop their scientific creativity are severely limited (Braund, 1999, Kind & Kind, 2007). This detachment leads individuals away from an authentic view of science, which not only creates false impressions, but can also engender a loss of scientific identity (“who we think we must be to engage in science”, Calabrese Barton, 1998, p. 379) culminating in an unintended estrangement (Shanahan & Nieswandt, 2009).

This study will aim to examine notions and impressions of both authentic science and creativity, and the impact of science education and outreach opportunities that actively promote their connection. Exploration will centre on the activities of a science education lab that: (a) operates within a highly regarded multidisciplinary scientific research unit: the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia; and (b) has demonstrated dedication to programming that relies on collaborations between scientific and artistic communities. Two programs in particular will be examined through mixed methods to probe their impact on participants’: 1) view of the role of creativity in science, 2) development of scientific creativity, and 3) identities in relation to science. The Science Creative Literacy Symposia is a one-day program for students in Gr. 5-7 led by a collaborative team of scientists and creative writers. Participants engage in scientific inquiry experiences in the laboratory followed by guided expository writing to encourage awareness of the connections between the two. Interviews and observations (pre-, during-, and post-program) of students and teachers will explore implicit and explicit connections made between science and creativity. Established and validated instruments such as the Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire (Abd-El-Khalick, F., Lederman, N. G., Bell, R. L., & Schwartz, R. S., 2001) and the Science Student Role Identity Questionnaire (Shanahan & Niewsandt, 2010) will be used to track changes in students’ perceptions. The second program is the Science Creative Quarterly, an online publication that specializes in unusual scientific writing including literary science humour. Authors will be interviewed to examine differing perceptions held by those approaching the material from a scientific background and those from a creative writing background. These perceptions of science, scientific creativity and self-identity in the boundaries will be compared with findings from the student program to gain a more nuanced understanding of one particular area of scientific creativity evident through creative writing.

DAVID: Good morning and wow. This looks really good, and I’ve not added any changes (was contemplating the idea of including the Phylo project and it’s connection to visual arts to the mix, but I like how it comes together with the focus on creative writing right now – we could perhaps talk more about the visual side of things for the proposal proper?)

Just a few quick questions before I submit.
1. There’s an area to enter requested funds: seems premature to put something here, or should we enter a number that is on par for course for a 5 year multigrad student ask? If so, do you have a number to suggest, or the number of grad students (per year) you think you’d like to entertain?
2. Could you send on your current academic affiliation stats. Your signature is for the one you just moved away from (I’m guessing you’re with the University of Calgary right now, Faculty of Education?)
3. The summary text just makes the space quota, but we’ve also highlighted a number of references, without providing full citation details. If I do, we will definitely go over the space limit. Should I just leave as is (does SSRHC care about full citation at this point), or should I massage the text so as to fit the extra space needed for full citation (there’s a total of 9 refs so the space needs are not insignificant).
Anyway, let me know, and I’ll send it on!
cheers
dave

MARIE-CLAIRE: Great, glad it sounds ok. And ya, I think we can definitely expand the programs it applies to when it comes to the full application. Choosing those two just seemed convenient for giving a short indication of what we were thinking of.

For expected ask, hmmm… Most of the costs are usually grad students, plus on this one there may be a bit of travel for me to come out to Vancouver. We usually roughly plan about 20K per year for a doctoral student. I tend to like to apply for two students per year, a phd and a masters. So maybe 50K per year as a rough estimate? 250K over the 5 years? That can change though.
I just confirmed though with our RSO that the one thing that can’t change in the PI’s name. So I guess we need to decide who will submit and be the PI. I can submit today without any troubles if you want. It’s totally up to you but I wonder if it might be stronger to have me as the PI, partly because of previous creativity work but also because these are your programs and the committee may question something that sounds like an assessment led by the creator. What do you think though? If we’re successful, the money I think would come in April when I’m still on leave but most education projects like this wouldn’t really get going until the fall because that’s when the cycle starts for school based work. But I don’t want to be holding you up because I’m on leave.

So let me know what you think and I’m very excited about the project!
Cheers,
Marie-Claire

DAVID: O.K. Definitely sounds like the best thing to do is for you to submit the NOI. I’m totally fine with that, and I agree that having you as the PI makes the most sense – I’m also still hoping to follow up with Samson to see if he’s on board, which could also help with some logistical elements at the UBC end (shouldn’t be any PI issues there, as there isn’t anyone local with our area of expertise). We can also chat more when I get back to Vancouver, and it might be a good idea for me to plan a visit out to Calgary sometime in September, especially if you think it will make things a little easier. At some point, also let me know if you think the main proposal will be strengthen by interactions with Faculty within Creative Writing or Visual Arts department (I know and have worked with a few).

Alright! I’ll leave it in your hands now! Maybe pass on a copy of the pdf submission (for my records) when all is done.

Game on and cheers!
dave

MARIE-CLAIRE: Okay, sounds good. I’ll get that in today and send a copy to our RSO. If it’s okay, I’ll also workshop our proposal as we prepare it through our faculty’s sshrc support sessions. And definitely it would be great to have Samson on board too, keep in touch and we can get him caught up when he’s back.

And if you think there’s someone in visual art or creative writing that would join us, I think that would be great. That would make a terrific team.
Oh I forgot to mention that we can probably go without the references for the NOI. These aren’t adjudicated so I think it’s more important to have details of the study than the refs. I’m pretty sure that’s how I’ve submitted them before.
And a meet up in Calgary in September to work on things would be great. We could probably get lots done hashing it out together.
Cheers,
Marie-Claire

MARIE-CLAIRE: Btw, did you have title decided yet?

DAVID: Sounds good. I can also pass edits through similar SSRHC resources here at UBC if you want (some of my colleagues have mentioned their merit but presumably it’s similar to the sessions you have in Calgary). Just let me know. Also let me know if there’s a preferred timeline for a trip out to Calgary – maybe when things settle a bit for you.

Cheers
Dave

P.s. just got the other email – actually I hadn’t thought of a title yet, although I guess something along the lines of the first bit in the second paragraph?

MARIE-CLAIRE: Sounds good to pass it through the editing help at UBC too, can’t hurt to get more feedback! How about “Scientific creativity: Promoting more authentic views of science and scientific identity” And sounds good on a timeline for calgary. I’ll get myself moved in (and give you time to get home and settled back in!) and then we can look at schedules.

Cheers,
mc

MARIE-CLAIRE: Or probably more simply “Promoting more authentic views of science and scientific identity through scientific creativity”

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