Data-Driven Collaboration

Accelerating Data-Driven Collaboration for Large-Scale Progress was an high-impact technical assistance program designed to support projects to develop innovative new ways to gather data and make evidence-based decisions, connect with best practices on the frontiers of data-driven collaboration and apply new knowledge and innovations to their projects that address societal needs. The technical assistance program was funded by National Science Foundation INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) awards (Award 1650490). NSF INCLUDES is a comprehensive initiative to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering by broadening participation in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).


The design of Data-Driven Collaboration brought together the theory of co-creating knowledge translation (CoKT) with the evidence of effective adult learning. The conference engaged participants in the five steps of CoKT.

  1. Initial contact and framing the issue. The participants engaged in pre-conference online learning data collection activity using the data toolkits provided by the conference PIs.
  2. Refining and testing knowledge. During the conference, the conference PIs and support team provided the participants the results of the data collection activities and engaged the participants in a structured, collaborative process for interpreting the data.
  3. Interpreting, contextualizing, and adapting knowledge to the local context. During the conference, participants heard wisdom from the field, shared insights, and engaged in solution-driven dialogue.
  4. Implementing and evaluating. Participants framed their solutions into an action plan that embeds evaluation and monitoring impact.
  5. Embedding and translating of new knowledge into practice. Participants reported an increased understanding of the concepts presented and indicated that they would use what they learned.

Two key strengths of the conference were: Knowledge was heightened by the opportunity to share specific experiences and hear the perspectives of others; and the opportunity to connect with professionals from a variety of fields provided a platform for participants to connect and discuss related topics through multiple lenses.

The significant results for the conference come from conference participation and satisfaction feedback, 75 participants in total. Thirteen launch pilot sites participated in the conference and technical assistance, forty-two participants in total. Two participants associated with INCLUDES participated in the conference. Eight college students, majoring in STEM, who identify with a population underrepresented in STEM, led the Solid State table conversation sessions and joined the conference. Twelve community partners and students led the community conversation. Eleven community partners participated in the data lab so that the Launch Pilots could practice telling their stories to them.

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The evaluation asked respondents about their learning as a result of being part of the conference. Here are some of the findings:

  •  After using customized resources, the number of respondents reporting “a lot” of awareness about using collaborative modeling and storytelling to broaden participation increased from 30% to 60%.
  • After participating in the conference, participants reported substantial improvement in their ability to apply the FCM tool for model building, whereas previously, there had been no reported ability.
  • Participants who reported having “a lot” of knowledge about how systems are interconnected increased from 0% to 70%.
  • The number of respondents who were able to conceptualize broadening participation as a systems approach “a lot” increased from 10% to 50%. The evaluation asked respondents about the relevance of the resources and their levels of satisfaction with the resources and the conference.
  • 90% of participants reported that ideas and concepts during the conference, including the resources, were relevant to their INCLUDES project.
  • 70% of participants reported that the program expanded their ability to describe their approach to broadening participation.
  • 80% of participants reported that they had the opportunity to engage with new knowledge through practice and discussion.