KMi technologies help tackling Climate Change: First ESSENCE workshop

May 5th and 6th KMi has organized and hosted the first ESSENCE workshop on eScience, Sensemaking and Argumentation tools for climate change deliberation. ESSENCE is the first public event organized by KMi in collaboration with Global Sensemaking (GSm), a network formed in 2008 to develop human-centred computing tools to help tackling wicked problems such as Climate Change.
During the workshop several ESSENCE technologies have been showcased. Compendium and Cohere from KMi have been demonstrated together with other ESSENCE technologies such as Debategraph and MIT Climate Change Deliberatorium. The workshop developed a roadmap for ESSENCE to COP15 and explored strategies for further research lines and challenges to be addressed for the ESSENCE team/GSm community.


The Open University’s Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) is facilitating the development of collaborative research across the OU around computational support for collective sensemaking, intelligence, and argumentation. This has been named the Collective Intelligence project, based at KMi and led by Dr. Simon Buckingham Shum.
The project aims to position the Open University and KMi at the forefront of research in Human-Centred Computing at the intersection of e-Science, Online Argumentation and Climate Change.
The overall idea behind the project is that digital discussion and deliberation technologies have the potential to provide a structured medium for building collective intelligence from diverse stakeholders, who often disagree.
Within this context the ESSENCE online experiment has been conceived with the overall goal to improve how climate science and policy deliberation is conducted, in local networks, national organizations, and intergovernmentally. In particular, ESSENCE has been designed to develop a comprehensive, distilled, visual map of the issues, evidence, arguments and options facing the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, and being tackled by many other networks, which will be available for all to explore and enrich across the web.
Within the ESSENCE project we study and develop technologies for online discussion and deliberation, with the overall goal in mind to help to build online environments for:
• scientists to explore and discover common grounds and agendas in a very complex and extensive domain as environmental science is;
• policymakers to identify problematic issues to be faced in order to reinforce public policies and make them more accepted or even agreed;
• the Public to widen or build understanding on climate change issues and consensus about new climate change policies.

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