Community-Driven Co-Production of Knowledge Earth Network

The Community-Driven Co-Production of Knowledge Earth Network grew out of the conviction that there is a fundamental need for climate-related research to be conducted in partnership with and under guidance from the communities most affected by climate change. A three-year working group funded by the Columbia Climate School and administered by the Center for Science and Society, the Network is working to develop guidelines and good practices for the ethical co-production of climate knowledge. 

Knowledge-based solutions in climate-related research require co-production: deep collaboration between those with the scientific, social, and policy expertise and resources and the communities that have “lived experience” within the environment and understand its intricacies and challenges, as well as the priorities of their members. While researchers often cite benefits to local communities in their grant proposals, the communities are seldom involved in the design of the project and their participation is often in the form of data gathering. Even those researchers with the best intentions often bring in community members after the research plan is already in place. Co-production replaces the exclusionary or extractive relationships by seeking to redistribute power and resources in research dynamics that have historically been unequal.

Members come from the humanities, and social and natural sciences, and include graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and research scientists and faculty in history, anthropology, political science, climate science, physics, religious studies, and other fields who have expertise and experience in—or curiosity about—co-produced research collaborations. 

Led by Pamela Smith (Seth Low Professor of History and the Center for Science and Society Founding Director at Columbia University) and Ajit Subramaniam (Lamont Research Professor at Columbia University). 

The first round of Community-Driven Co-Production of Climate Knowledge Small Grant was awarded in 2023. Please visit the grant overview page for information about the supported projects. 

Network Goals

  • Build an interdisciplinary community of Columbia climate researchers and scholars doing co-production research and community-driven outreach and advocacy.
  • Form a core working group that will contribute to the creation of guidance for climate-related co-production work; Generate a “good practices in co-production” document that can be published in a peer-reviewed publication.
  • Develop a faculty and administrative hub for the support and facilitation of co-production research projects, including providing seed and small grant funding and logistical/organizing support for activities, outreach, and public events.
  • Support curricular development of cross-disciplinary and co-taught undergraduate and graduate courses on climate issues with a service learning and/or community participatory research component, including a seminar on co-production or courses that incorporate the discussion of good practices of co-production.


Columbia University students, faculty, staff, and other affiliates are invited to join the Earth Network. Monthly meetings are held throughout the academic year.