Virginia Tech will serve as host for the 12th Annual International Science of Team Science Conference (SciTS 2021) to be held entirely online, June 7-11. The conference seeks to advance understanding of collaborative initiatives that address multidimensional and complex societal problems, and provide a platform to investigate contributions that team science research can make to addressing urgent contemporary challenges.

The annual conference convenes science academics, leaders and members of cross-disciplinary teams, institutional leaders and administrators, and funding agencies to collaboratively rethink how science of team science research and practice may serve as a foundation for positive change and justice. As host university with a growing footprint in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, Virginia Tech will facilitate and advance discussions and presentations on contextual conditions and collaborative processes that promote development and coordination of laws, policies, strategies, and practices that address urgent societal challenges.

“It is most fitting that Virginia Tech is hosting this conference as the university took steps nearly two decades ago that were bold and visionary to develop and support transdisciplinary work,” said Karen Roberto, conference co-chair and executive director for the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at Virginia Tech. “We continue to value, support and embrace this approach in all sectors of our university’s land-grant mission.”

“Science of Team Science and the Human Condition” will serve as the theme of SciTS 2021. This year’s conference will highlight the interface of the science of team science with challenges such as responding to mega-disasters (e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic; hurricanes and fires), curtailing systemic racism and the need to create and implement anti-racist policies and practices, including technologies, and grappling with social and economic challenges in large growing metropolitan regions.

“We want SciTS 2021 to not only advance the study of cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration, but also speak to the moment we are in now,” said Shalini Misra, conference co-chair and associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. “The conference will highlight the critical importance of international collaboration in addressing global challenges, the role of industry, nonprofits, governments, science, technology, and the arts and humanities in responding to mega-disasters and long-standing social problems and inequities collaboratively.”

Featured speakers for SciTS 2021 include Lance Collins, vice president and executive director, Virginia Tech Innovation Campus; Lori Peek, professor and director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder; Sabine Hoffmann, leader for inter- and trans-disciplinary research at The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology; and Gopi Gopalakrishnan, president of World Health Partners. Virginia Tech President Tim Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke will offer conference welcome remarks.

In addition to the featured speakers, Virginia Tech and SciTS 2021 will present a slate of world-class scholars, educators, and practitioners of team science as well as presentations, workshops, and collaborative panels from contributors from around the world.

“The conference applies the lens of team science to the challenges and opportunities of the vibrant and rapidly growing greater Washington, D.C., region and similar regions across the globe,” said Anne Khademian, conference co-chair, executive director for The Universities at Shady Grove and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs with the University System of Maryland. “We are inviting panels, presentations, workshops, and participation in a conference-long hackathon to engage regional and systemic challenges of equity, housing, health care, crises management, education and more.”

Conference organizers have made a call for abstracts and invite submissions that focus on any pertinent topic relevant to the science of team science. In line with the conference theme on the Science of Team Science and the Human Condition, organizers also invite submissions on team science and responses to mega-disasters, inclusive approaches to team science, and team science and megaregional challenges (e.g., infrastructure, housing, climate change). Call for abstracts closes on Feb. 28.

Registration is open and is free for Virginia Tech attendees. For SciTS 2021 conference and registration information, visit https://www.inscits.org/2021-scits-conference.