Developing a Model for Expert Networking Across Federal Government: The HHS Profiles Pilot

2015-08-20T19:16:17Z (GMT) by Jessica Hernandez Nichole Rosamilia
Organizations within the United States government are increasingly beginning to explore research networking software as a way to locate and match federal expertise for collaboration and problem-solving. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a public-facing VIVO instance in 2014, and internal research networking pilots are underway at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Smithsonian Institution. <br><br>However, the proliferation of agency- and department-specific systems raises concerns about reproducing existing information silos. A driving force behind government adoption of expert networking is to more quickly mobilize federal expertise in crisis situations like the recent Ebola outbreak. Yet nearly every executive branch department was engaged in Ebola-related research, prevention, or remediation, so an effective response requires expertise identification and collaboration on a government-wide scale. <br><br>This study therefore aims to develop (1) a model for a multi-organizational, federal government-wide expert networking system and (2) an evaluation framework to determine whether the system effectively increases the speed and agility of government operations. To test the viability of the model, we are launching a public-facing Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) pilot using Profiles Research Networking Software. This pilot will include experts from three HHS agencies: FDA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We will present lessons learned and preliminary results from this effort to design a platform-agnostic, integrated framework to harness intra-government and cross-sector expertise.