PHILADELPHIA - Environmental regulators, scientific researchers and residents of industrialized areas share a common interest: they all want to address the health and environmental impacts of pollution. But these groups often talk past one another, in part because they differ in their approaches to understanding the effects of pollution on community members' health and quality of life.

Community-based science, studies that unite scientists and citizens through collaborative research, is one possible solution to this dilemma.

In “Community-Based Science: A Strategy for Achieving Environmental Justice and Improving Environmental Knowledge,” former research fellow Gwen Ottinger outlines the characteristics that make community-based science effective and summarizes the major challenges to creating successful scientist-community collaborations. The paper recommends ways to overcome these challenges by confronting barriers to collaboration at institutional and structural levels. The paper is available for viewing or download on the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Web site.

Ottinger is currently an Assistant Professor in interdisciplinary arts and sciences at the University of Washington, Bothell. She served as a research fellow at the Center for Contemporary History and Policy from 2008–2010.

“Community-Based Science: A Strategy for Achieving Environmental Justice and Improving Environmental Knowledge” is part of the Studies in Sustainability series, which serves as a forum for discussion about the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in transforming chemistry into a tool for sustainability.

For additional information about the white paper, visit http://www.chemheritage.org/research/policy-center/publications/studies-in-sustainability.aspx.