Bringing It All Together: Interdisciplinary Climate Change Research Highlights Renfrew Lecture

Friday, March 28 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho – March 28, 2014 – Sanford Eigenbrode, University of Idaho distinguished professor, will give an overview of one the university’s largest-ever interdisciplinary research projects at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in Room 101 of the Albertson Building.  

His talk, “Big Interdisciplinarity: Regional Approaches to Climate Change,” is the Malcolm M. Renfrew distinguished lecture for spring semester.  A professor of entomology, Eigenbrode is engaged in research with philosophers and sociologists aimed at improving scientific collaboration.  

This presentation, aimed at a general audience, will describe Eigenbrode’s role as director of a UI-based project, Regional Approaches to Climate Change in Pacific Northwest Agriculture, or REACCH. Funded in February 2011 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the project draws on more than 60 scientists from UI, Washington State University, Oregon State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

“Responses to issues affecting interacting human, managed and natural systems often entail large-scale, long-term collaborative science, outreach and education,” Eigenbrode said. 

In practice, projects engaged in what he terms “big interdisciplinarity” include simultaneous multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and participatory activities, which together constitute a project’s dynamic “architecture of adaptive integration” (AAI).

REACCH focuses primarily on climate change implications for the interior Northwest’s wheat and barley growers, who sell more than $1 billion of the grains annually. In addition to studying how farming practices might influence or adapt to climate change, the project also focuses on connecting directly with farmers and helping teachers educate K-12 students about climate change.

Eigenbrode’s talk will review the genesis, goals and activities of REACCH, the challenges and successes of the collaboration, and how its AAI is evolving as the project matures. 

The Renfrew Lecture Series is an extension of the long-running Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquium, which each Tuesday features presentations by UI faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars.  Speakers describe their approach to teaching or research in their respective disciplines.

The colloquium and lecture series honor the late Malcolm R. Renfrew, a long-time professor of chemistry, patron of the arts and supporter of interdisciplinary scholarship.  Renfrew died in 2013 on his 103rd birthday.

The lecture is sponsored by the UI Provost’s Office, the College of Graduate Studies and the University Honors Program.  


Kenton Bird
Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquium Coordinator

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