Date of Award

Spring 2017


M.S. in Environmental Policy


Professor Monique Segarra

Second Reader

Professor Gautam Sethi

External Reader

Dr. Sandra Starkweather, Implementation Scientist for IASOA, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


The Arctic is changing rapidly as average temperatures rise. As an Arctic nation, the United States is directly affected by these changes. It is imperative that these changes be understood to make effective policy decisions. Since the research needs of the Arctic are large; 14 Federal agencies have Arctic research programs. As a result, the government regularly works to coordinate Federal Arctic research in order to reduce duplication of effort and costs, and to enhance the research’s system perspective. The government’s Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee accomplishes this coordination through its Five-year Arctic Research Plans and Collaboration Teams, which are research topic-oriented teams tasked with implementing the plans. However, the Collaboration Teams operating during the years 2013-2017 achieved differing levels of success in building lasting collaborations among Federal agencies and Arctic research stakeholders. This thesis aims to understand what factors contributed to these differing outcomes. Using the frameworks of knowledge management (KM) and communities of practice (CoPs), two case studies of Collaboration Teams with varying success are analyzed. These case studies are built on interviews, archived data, meeting notes, and reports. Several factors are found to have contributed to the varying levels of success of these two teams: leadership, scope, centrality, disciplinary challenges to collaborations, and inclusivity. From the case studies, several recommendations emerge, including establishing appropriate agency leadership; determining focused and achievable scope of team goals; providing room for bottom-up, community-driven determination of goals; building relationships and creating an open team environment; and finally, completing of a social network analysis.

Access Control

Open Access