Eco-DAS Symposium

Venue

The Eco-DAS symposia are held at the East-West Center immediately adjacent to the University of Hawai`i, Manoa campus. The East-West Center conference facility is physically designed to facilitate workshops and conferences in which communication and interaction are particularly important. It is conveniently located near the internationally recognized School of Earth and Ocean Science and Technology (SOEST). The facility can easily accommodate symposium participants as well as mentors and observers, and provides for breakout rooms for focus groups.

Mentoring

Mentoring is often missing from the early careers of aquatic science professionals. Few institutions have formal mentoring programs, and many early career professionals are largely on their own with regard to making sensible career choices. A key element of the proposed program will be to foster long-term mentoring relationships between the participants and volunteers representing the diversity of available career choices.

Organization

From the start, participants are challenged to reach across disciplinary lines. The mission of every participant is to come away from the symposium with new possibilities for research partnerships, and a new appreciation of the value of transdisciplinary research. This overarching goal was emphasized throughout the symposium.

Formal presentations and discussion occupy much of the first three days of the symposium. In formal presentations of the dissertation work of each participant, methodological details are deemphasized (unless they are the main subject of the research) in favor of a greater focus on its impact on the subdiscipline as well as its broader implications, and on its short- and long-term potential for interdisciplinary research. Each presentation devotes roughly equal time to the formal presentation, and to open discussion of the presenter's work and its relationship to the work of others.

In addition to these presentations, participants are addressed by agency representatives who provide a frank assessment of the challenges and opportunities available through agency funding. Members of the mentor team also address the symposium. For example, a representative of private industry would discuss such matters as industry investment, employment, development and commercial-scale reproduction of new technology. A representative of a professional society would introduce the opportunities and resources made available to early career scientists by a dozen or more societies that support ecological science in ocean and fresh waters.

The latter part of the symposium transitions into working groups. Broadly speaking, the goal is to define the greatest and most challenging research issues ahead, and to make specific recommendations for new funding directions. The working groups are asked to discuss and identify the programs and opportunities that have been the most valuable to their career development to date, and most importantly to identify programs and opportunities that were not available.

In addition, time is set aside specifically to provide opportunities to establish and develop collaborations for the Symposium Proceedings.

Wrapping Up

Closing sessions of the symposium include reports back from the working groups; reports back from co-authors on their proposed collaborative manuscripts, and the transdisciplinary basis of the collaboration; and assignments for completion of manuscripts.