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IDR Team Challenges

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The Future of Advanced Nuclear Technologies
Interdisciplinary Research Team Challenges

How it Works
Conference participants were asked to review each IDR Team Challenge and submit their top three preferences using the IDR Team Challenge Preference Form in the Futures Network by August 23, 2013.  NAKFI staff worked the steering committee to assign participants to an IDR Team based on their preferences and other criteria intended to make sure each team is diverse.
Each group had wireless Internet access  and a conference room “home base” that was equipped with notepads, flipcharts, a computer, a printer, and an LCD projector (see page 33 of this tab for meeting room locations).  Committee members, and other selected attendees visited various group discussions for the first 15 minutes of the first session – and may have popped by throughout the conference – but did not serve as the team leaders.  Each group decided what structure and approach it thought was best to tackle the challenge at-hand.  The initial questions posed in the IDR Team Challenge concept papers were starting points.  Each group was encouraged to be self-directed and explore or redefine the challenge as it saw fit.  In general, it was important for each team, either collectively, or by letting one or more people coordinate the process, to make sure that everyone had roughly an equal opportunity to contribute, and that one or a few individuals did not dominate the discussions: the inventiveness of a group is most evident when everyone is involved.
After the second IDR Team session, on Saturday morning, all groups convened in the auditorium to provide a five to six minute status update.  The groups reconvened the rest of the afternoon before providing a final presentation on Saturday morning.  The final presentations were eight to 10 minutes in length, and included the following:
·        A concise statement of the problem;
·        an outline of the solution;
·        a list of the most important gaps in science and technology;
·        recommendations for research needed to address the problem; and
·        a list of the benefits to society if the problem is solved.

Each IDR Team included a graduate student in a university science writing program.  After the conference, each student composed a summary describing the challenge, outlining the approach taken, including what research needs to be done to understand the fundamental science behind the challenge; the proposed plan and the reasoning that went into it; and the benefits to society of the problem solution.  A draft was reviewed by NAKFI’s Science Writing Scholar Mentor and the group members in December prior to being posted on keckfutures.org for public dissemination and published by the National Academies Press as a workshop summary.