Lines of Work
"It is not good enough to simply identify and interact with our customer base. To succeed, we must provide information that will help solve our customers' problems. For major projects or new lines of work that lead to a variety of related products, we will institute a problem framing process that gives customers a central role in defining what information or tools are needed, when they are needed, and how they will function and be delivered.
We will transition from a system where Requests for Applications (RFA) are used to attract high quality, but unrelated research studies, to one where combinations of RFAs and targeted solicitations are used to craft programs of work that will increase the focus and productivity of the JFSP. In the past, RFAs resulted in many pieces of information, but very few products that were useful in themselves to managers. This was not because the work was of poor quality. It was because the individual pieces of work were not connected and integrated. Most of the problems faced by JFSP customers are complex and require a number of studies and development efforts to resolve. The existing system simply does not provide a mechanism to coordinate effort among researchers." (Excerpted from the JFSP Science Delivery Strategy)
What is a line of work?
Lines of work address complex management problems and require a coordinated multi-year approach to develop integrated solutions useful to fire and fuel managers. Lines of work are intended to guide JFSP investments over a period of 3-5 or more years.
What are the criteria for lines of work?
- The topic is of high priority to the fire and fuels management community and is within JFSP's mission
- The issue is enduring so that results obtained over 3-10 years will be relevant
- Research questions have sufficient complexity that a focused, long-term approach involving a sequence of research is required
- Topic has the need and potential to build towards a significant deliverable to improve management effectiveness
How do we implement a line of work?
- Problem framing, potentially through roundtables
- Science planning
- Proposal solicitation and funding
- Communication plan development and implementation
- Monitoring and adjustment, check back with roundtables
We believe that the initial framing of any potential line of work requires a very focused definition of the scope of a problem and the advice of both managers and scientists from the beginning. Once the problem has been defined and issues prioritized, a second step involves a thorough scientific assessment of the problem, what work has already been accomplished, and a prioritized sequence of research funding to accomplish the objectives raised in the roundtable. As of 2011, the JFSP has convened two roundtables on biomass, two on smoke and emissions, and one on risk assessment. In addition, an examination of fuel treatment effectiveness and fire effects was commissioned. The risk assessment roundtable was well defined, but did not result into a program of work that would address management concerns.