31 August 2015
AGU’s mission and vision center on advancing Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity, and communicating its power to ensure a sustainable future for us all. Our ability to collaborate with organizations that share our values – who can also help to amplify the reach and impact of our work – is critical to serving our mission and realizing our vision.
For many years, AGU has successfully partnered with many other societies and non-profits on a variety of programs and projects (such as the Ocean Sciences meeting with ASLO and TOS, or ExxonMobil’s support of the student breakfast at the Fall Meeting), but our work with the corporate Earth and space science sector has been more limited and transactional, focused nearly entirely on advertising in AGU publications, and event and program sponsorships.
We recognize that by developing a more strategic relationship with the corporate sector, AGU could provide more value to you, our members, through access to emerging educational and research tools and technologies, as well as productive avenues for generating and sharing the results of your high-quality research. The additional revenue generated from this community could also help us diversify the funding sources we use to develop, support and expand support the programs and opportunities you rely on.
To thoughtfully frame the development of these new relationships, AGU has created a new vision for the role development (individual donors and corporate financial support) plays in its operations – “providing long-term financial support by raising funds and building revenue streams through individual and corporate investments.” The Board approved a new Organizational Support Policy to guide the formation of relationships with a variety of different partners, from for-profit companies to foundations, not-for-profits and government agencies.
We believe that maintaining AGU’s reputation and ensuring that all partnerships are in keeping with our values of unselfish collaboration in research and the highest standards of scientific integrity, is of the utmost importance. As such, we are firmly committed to ensuring that the new vehicles for engagement that these partnerships require are as beneficial to AGU members as they are to our new partners. For example, not only will vehicles like advertorials allow partners to promote their new products or services, they will also allow AGU members greater access to information about developments in the Earth and space science sector than simple news coverage alone could provide. Likewise, member surveys will give companies access to the critical input they need to make their programs and products better, but they will also give participants a chance to provide feedback that will ensure that the systems they rely on can adequately meet their needs.
AGU has worked for decades to build its reputation as a leader and respected authority within the scientific community, and that reputation has allowed us to achieve great success. When the AGU Board of Directors approved this policy, they required that any partnership must contribute to the advancement of AGU’s mission, vision and goals before we enter into it and that we apply vetting to ascertain that partners are not engaged in false misinterpretations of science. We also constructed the policy to say that, no matter what form a partnership may take, we will always maintain control over the terms, content, placement, timing and all other aspects of its implementation. We were clear that organizational partnerships do not constitute endorsement by AGU and that member information would remain in exclusive control of AGU; we also ensured that all partnerships will be monitored for effectiveness and appropriateness, including regularly informing the Board and Council of new developments.
AGU’s core function is to provide value to its members while working to advance the Earth and space sciences and share that knowledge within and outside of the scientific community. We believe this new policy will greatly contribute to our ability to thrive in that role. I encourage you to read the new policy and to view the current list of organizational partners. I believe you will find them both exciting and in keeping with AGU’s values of scientific advancement and integrity.