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Project Confluence
Frequently Asked Questions
Project Confluence: National Technical Needs Assessment

     I. Overview and goals


Our project seeks to identify and assess the technical/scientific/engineering needs of environmental, climate, and energy justice (E/C/EJ) groups. We are speaking with a variety of communities across the US through phone interviews. Our hope is to connect communities with engineers and scientists who can help provide technical resources to aid in E/C/EJ work. This will be facilitated by an online platform. Our goal is to 1) build solidarity between groups, and between groups and technical experts; 2) increase the collaborative capacity of engineers, scientists, and E/C/EJ groups; 3) build a repository of knowledge for sharing lessons and experiences between groups; and 4) facilitate connections between technical experts and communities so they might mutually benefit each other. 


     II. What is the research question of the project? 


Our research question is the following: What technical tools and scientific and engineering research and development could serve the needs of multiple environmental justice, energy justice, and climate justice community groups in the US? 


     III. What are we requesting from you? 


We are requesting to speak with a member of your organization who can discuss some of the ongoing and future projects, and specifically, someone who might be able to detail some of the specific engineering, science, and/or technical needs the group has that can help in your work. For example, this might include the development of an air quality monitoring system and/or subsequent analysis with respect to regulations relating to air quality in your region; tools to analyze and prioritize areas and households in which to implement energy efficiency initiatives; mapping and spatial analysis to aid in planning for climate action; or evaluating the costs and benefits of a transportation infrastructure project for your neighborhood. This is just one example, but we think there are many other possible projects that an expert might be able to help with. 


     IV. Methods: Our general study design and how we will use and analyze the data we collect


Our methods are primarily qualitative, which when combined with other environmental, social, demographic, and technical data, can provide a holistic picture of the unmet engineering, scientific, and technical needs of E/C/EJ groups. We are focused on collecting basic background data in a survey and more detailed data on technical needs or projects in a phone interview. Data will be used to create a repository of potential projects (or technical needs) associated with, given permission, your approximate location and your contact information. Qualitative analysis will first be done to group community needs by common themes. For example, multiple communities might benefit from an air quality monitoring network and data visualization system design, so we want to organize by categories of needs. Eventually, we hope to display these data (anonymized as much as the group prefers and granted permission from your group) in an online platform that will get engineers and scientists involved and matched with community groups to collaborate on interventions, research, development, and solutions. 


     V. How will the participants and organization be recognized in the publication?


Participants and their organizations will be presented in our study as E/C/EJ groups in particular communities who might benefit from particular technical resources, research, development, or solutions. In attempts to connect groups with engineers and scientists, we will ask to display basic data on location (i.e. region or metro area in a particular state), specific project needs, and contact information. This can be anonymized to various degrees based on desires of the organization. More anonymized projects might have more difficulty in finding good science/engineering/tech expert collaborations, but we can match at first instance and allow further discussions to occur between your group and potentially interested/available experts. In publications, we will keep group identities anonymous by only providing general descriptions. For example, we might say “a non-profit group focusing on water rights in the Pacific Northwest US.” 


     VI. What sorts of publications will our work be presented in? 


We will likely submit academic studies to journals such as Environmental Justice; Environmental Science and Policy; Science and Engineering Ethics; Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society; Public Library of Science; International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace; Science; andNature. We are focused on identifying and addressing the scale of E/C/EJ issues and challenges facing the US, public EJ scholarship, and mobilizing engineers and scientists with different skills that may be helpful to address community needs. 


     VII. How will our study protect the identify of your members, if that is requested by members of the organization?


All personal data will be anonymized. Data on individuals will not be collected. We only need contact information for your group or a point of contact at your group/organization. We will only discuss the organization in general terms. For example, “an environmental justice group working on air quality in northern Arizona.”  However, we would want to connect your organization with specific resources, so contact information would be needed to connect you with potential engineering/science/technical expert collaborators. We will ask for your permission to make this data available via our online platform.


     VIII. What benefits will your group and the communities you work with receive from our work?


We hope that your organization will be able to connect with science and engineering experts to help you in your campaigns or other work. We also hope that you will be able to benefit from resources shared on the platform and connections you could make with other groups. Additional benefits include: resources regarding ongoing EJ/CJ actions and projects; technical tools and reports to aid in organizing and action; and information sharing between organizations facing similar issues across the US. There will be a plethora of educational resources, capacity-building resources, and technical resources accessible via the online platform. 


The interviewee will receive a compensation of $75 for completion of interview and survey. This is made payable to an individual taking the survey as a thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Payments will be arranged through ASU Finance. Participants will receive an email within 1-2 weeks from ASU Finance with details to arrange payment for participation. 

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