2010 COSEE Scientist Engagement Survey

2010 COSEE Scientist Engagement Survey
Summary of Key Findings April 2011
Written by Chris Parsons

This page reports on the second Network-wide COSEE Scientist Engagement Survey, which focused on scientist/researchers engaged with COSEE during the 2010 calendar year. From the 872 invitations to take the online survey, we received 492 responses (a high 56% response rate). For an individual count of respondents for analysis, we carefully reviewed the data and eliminated those not involved with COSEE in 2010, those we could not verify from the survey data as scientists (respondents are anonymous), and all duplicates (individuals who responded to two or more Centers’ surveys). As a result, we are reporting on the responses of 397 individual scientists/researchers who were engaged with COSEE during 2010. This 2010 cross-Center survey has generated a second set of reliable, consistent, coherent and comparable data about scientists’ engagement in COSEE, and, for this year, the benefits that they derive from COSEE.


We found that the scientists engaged with COSEE are a diverse and accomplished group. A substantial majority (67%) holds doctoral degrees, and 42% of those teaching at the postsecondary level are tenured. They are roughly equally early-, mid- and advanced-career professionals (23%, 30% and 27% respectively), and bring to COSEE expertise from a wide range of disciplines. Gender is nearly evenly split (53% male; 47% female) and the racial background is predominantly white (88%). Scientists work at nearly 200 universities, agencies and other institutions located in 34 states and a few foreign countries.

The majority of scientists were engaged with COSEE in 2010 as participants in programs, activities, etc. (70%), but a substantial number also served as resources (41%), advocates/advisors (23%) and/or partners (24%). Nine percent considered themselves leaders within COSEE. Nearly half (48%) of the respondents receive NSF funding for their scientific research. These results are consistent with those from the COSEE 2009 Scientist Engagement Survey.

This year we asked about the source of funding within NSF. Of those with NSF funding for research, 64% received support from the Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE). Twenty-nine percent of all respondents have included COSEE or a COSEE partner in a research proposal.


This year’s survey asked about NSF’s “broader impacts” criterion and COSEE’s assistance to scientists in meeting that criterion. Seventy percent of scientists say that their level of involvement in “broader impacts” has increased as a result of being involved with COSEE, with 16% indicating it has increased a lot. Asked how helpful COSEE has been with each of NSF’s “broader impacts” categories, scientists responded that COSEE has been very helpful with broadening participation (32%), broadening dissemination (31%), advancing discovery (30%), benefits to society (26%) and enhancing infrastructure (19%).

An open-ended question asked scientists to comment on the benefits they have gained from COSEE. The top benefits categories (in order) are: making connections with the formal K-14 education community, including teachers and students; acquiring communications skills and science research “translation” skills; access to a vast education and outreach network; connecting with collaborators and partners; understanding the needs and challenges of the education community; and gaining assistance with
NSF-required broader impacts. (See full summary report for details and Workbook for all comments.)

COSEE’s engagement surveys, which involve all COSEE Centers and the NCO, continue to strengthen Network-wide understandings and working relationships. Based on these results, and those from future surveys, COSEE will continue to track and improve the Network’s professional services to the ocean sciences research and education communities.