Who We Are & What We Do
IAN is an initiative of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. IAN's mission is to inspire, manage and produce timely syntheses and assessments on key environmental issues, with a special emphasis on Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. IAN is a network which includes different agencies and institutions in different locations.
Our Business Model
The story behind our name
Our name, Integration and Application Network, is partially derived from the four tenets of scholarship articulated in "Scholarship Revisited: Priorities of the Professoriate" (Boyer, 1990; Carnegie Foundation). In this influential treatment, the four tenets of academic scholarship are redefined as discovery, integration, application and teaching, replacing the more traditional research, teaching and service. IAN focuses on the scholarship of integration and application, which includes conducting integration and application activities as well as studying, teaching and publishing about these enterprises. The network component of IAN refers to the different agencies and institutions that comprise IAN—it is not a center or an institution, rather a distributed network of partners and collaborating entities. Another reason for the acronym IAN was to commemorate the charismatic scientist Dr. Ian Morris, who was the head of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science from 1981-1988. Ian was committed to conducting good science and making it relevant, so working for IAN (or Ian) is consistent with his vision.
IAN actively recruits new partners and generates increasing income from grants and contracts. IAN has had an increasing number and diversity of grants and contracts to support integration and application activities. The staff levels of IAN have steadily increased to the present two dozen people. IAN produces some 10 proposals per year and enjoys a relatively high success rate.
What we can do
Training and Capacity Building
IAN teaches science communication at various locations nationally (e.g., Florida, Ohio, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, South Dakota, Louisiana) and globally (e.g., Thailand, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Indonesia, Palau, Samoa). IAN has trained over 500 scientists from over 200 agencies or institutions.
IAN Press and Publications
IAN Press was launched in 2009 to facilitate the inexpensive dissemination of science communication products. IAN Press is committed to producing practical, reading-friendly communications that foster a better understanding of science and enable readers to pursue new opportunities in research, education and environmental problem-solving. IAN Press provides online access to view or download all 494 science communication products, at no charge except for a few IAN Press books, which are available both as hard copy and as electronic books. The charge for the IAN Press books is minimal; with pricing dictated by printing costs.
IAN produces an expanding array of annual ecohealth report cards. The Chesapeake Bay report card is produced annually (since 2006), with new indicators, analyses and web features added each year. The Maryland Coastal Bays report card is produced annually (since 2008) and both Chesapeake Bay and the Maryland Coastal Bays report cards are supported by extensive content-laden web materials. IAN is increasingly engaged in working with groups of citizen scientists to produce regional ecohealth report cards. IAN is also advising or working with other organizations around the world to produce ecohealth report cards.
IAN websites are actively evolving both content and functionality. The main IAN website is expansive and is actively growing content with constantly updated materials being posted. IAN has produced a monthly enewsletter since 2005, and has since been active with a blog and on social media. IAN has produced several satellite websites, including the EcoCheck website and the National Estuarine Eutrophication Assessment (NEEA) website.
Images & Symbols
The IAN website is heavily utilized by increasing numbers of people. The IAN website attracts over 120,000 unique visitors per year and a large rise in visitations has been occurring since early in 2009. The IAN website has a global reach, with visitors coming from virtually every country on earth. We have had 94187 people download the IAN symbol libraries from 244 countries since 2004. The symbol libraries are comprised of 2932 vector symbols that can be used to create conceptual diagrams used in various science communication products. They are accompanied by a suite of online training materials, including tutorials, discussion forum, powerpoint slides, and examples. The rate of symbol library downloads has been relatively consistent over multiple years. The image library is comprised of 8125 photographs, symbols, video clips, and maps with 4322791 views and 390429 downloads since 2007.
Ian in the Media
IAN has been developing a public voice through the media. Since 2006, IAN has had 711 media citations, including National Public Radio, Reuters, Associated Press, United Press International, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Annapolis Capital, and various Washington and Baltimore television news programs. Some stories featuring IAN, especially environmental report cards, are given prominent notice (e.g., front page).
IAN is unique in its focus, academic affiliation and capabilities. There really isn't anything quite like IAN. Four examples of similar types of organizations are used to illustrate how they differ in focus from IAN are the following:
- Academia elsewhere has either focused on discovery & teaching, and if they do have a science applications component, these applications are usually focused on policy, including white papers and legislative lobbying; IAN is more focused on synthesis and practical application than policy.
- SeaGrant is a well established network in coastal states created to link academic research with user groups not unlike IAN, but SeaGrant is a granting body with an outreach and extension focus; IAN does not provide grants and does not have extension agents, rather is more focused on science communication and integration than outreach & extension.
- Synthesis centers (e.g., National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California) are focused on high quality peer review publications; IAN is focused on science communication products that target a broader and different audience, including resource managers as well as scientists.
- Environmental non-government organizations (NGOs) are focused on implementation and empowerment of local communities; IAN is more focused on providing the tools and training and the scholarship of integration & application.
IAN does operate within an academic institution, often works with SeaGrant, has participated in synthesis center working groups and is increasingly partnering with environmental NGOs. However, none of these entities are quite what IAN has become, and, at least for now, IAN is quite unique.