JUST INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE: Reimagining Collaborations

Practical considerations for safe, robust, and locally responsive research 

Helicopter science and research at UF

UF faculty and students are deeply engaged with the world, doing research in almost every country.  The International Center wants to ensure that our research is conducted with the highest standards and regard for colleagues, communities, and stakeholders in the countries in which we work.  Thus, we offer these resources on helicopter science to better inform international researchers about the practice of doing and performing research in other countries.

What is helicopter science?

Known by several terms or phrases, helicopter science occurs when researchers from higher income countries or from more privileged settings carry out research in resource-poor settings with limited to no involvement of local communities or researchers.  Helicopter science does not recognize the knowledge and contributions that local researchers offer and may even not acknowledge their participation. 

Another term for helicopter science is parachute science.  This occurs when researchers “drop down” from a higher income country or ivory tower into a foreign community to work – gather field data and samples, interact with local communities, rely on local researchers – and then zip back home without any acknowledgement of the contributions of the local researchers.

Relatedly, the movements to decolonize science also recognize elements of helicopter and parachute science in that the movement means to challenge the legacy of white European thought and culture in science and education.  One element of decolonization is to fully recognize the contributions of previous scientists and educators and to make every effort to include and acknowledge past contributions as well as current ones.

This website contains previous and upcoming events, in addition to information about the seminar series that will bring in speakers from different disciplines to talk about and interact with the UF community about helicopter science. 

Just International Science Workshop Series (Spring 2024 Semester)

  • Graduate Student Workshop: March 22, 2024, 9:30AM to 11:30AM
    Smathers Library, Rm. 300
    Navigating Intersectionality and Identify in Fieldwork
    View the Flyer
  • Jordi Rivera Prince: Friday, March 29, 2024
    Reitz Union Rm. 2365 
    Forming Sustained Communities & An Equity-Centered Approach to Academic Writing
    View the Flyer
  • Helicopter Science Retreat: January 19, 2024, 10AM-1PM
    Reitz Union, Matthew's Suite
    View the Notes

Helicopter Science Workshop Series (Fall 2023 Semester) 

  • Graduate Student Workshop: November 1, 3PM-4:30PM
    Reitz Union Rm. G330
    Reimagining Fieldwork: Sharing Experiences & Transforming Approaches
    View the Flyer 

Helicopter Science Workshop Series (Spring 2023 Semester)

This semester, we organized a series of speakers. Please find the speakers, dates, and recordings below. 

  • Helicopter Science Group Kickoff, Thursday, November 17, 2022, 1PM-2:30PM
    Reitz Union Rm. G330
    Helicopter Science: Concepts, Practices, and International Collaborations
    View the Flyer | View the notes | View the presentation
  • Rebecca Tarvin and Valeria Ramírez Castañeda, Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 1PM-3PM, Reitz Union Rm. G330
    The Fieldwork That We Envision: A Future of Equitable Field Biology and Reciprocity with Local Communities
    View the Flyer | View the recording
  • Elizabeth Hoffecker: Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 1PM-3PM, Reitz Union Rm. G330
    Engaging Respectfully and Effectively in International Development Research Collaborations
    View the Flyer | View the recording | View the presentation
  • Student Workshop: Friday, March 10, 2023, 9:30AM-11:30AM, Smathers Library Room 100
    Integrative Interests Fieldwork: A graduate student workshop
    View the Flyer
  • Joanna Crane: Thursday, April 6, 2023, 1PM-3PM, Reitz Union Rm. G330
    Power Dynamics in International Research Partnerships. An Ethnographic Study
    View the Flyer

Stay tuned for additional activities as well.

Relevant Citations

Crane, J. (2020). Dreaming partnership, enabling inequality: Administrative infrastructure in global health science. Africa, 90(1), 188-208. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972019001001

Ramírez-Castañeda, V., Westeen, E. P., Frederick, J., Amini, S., Wait, D. R., Achmadi, A. S., Andayani, N., Arida, E., Arifin, U., Bernal, M. A., Bonaccorso, E., Bonachita Sanguila, M., Brown, R. M., Che, J., Condori, F. P., Hartiningtias, D., Hiller, A. E., Iskandar, D. T., Jiménez, R. A., & Khelifa, R. (2022). A set of principles and practical suggestions for equitable fieldwork in biology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(34). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2122667119

Roxani Krystalli, Elizabeth Hoffecker, Kendra Leith, Kim Wilson, Taking the Research Experience Seriously: A Framework for Reflexive Applied Research in Development, Global Studies Quarterly, Volume 1, Issue 3, September 2021, ksab022, https://doi.org/10.1093/isagsq/ksab022

Additional citations can be found here.


Feel free to contact any of us on the Helicopter Science committee for further information: