Partnering with Communities to Create a Community Centric Research Path for the Imperial Valley
On this page you will find a detailed project description and the scoring criteria for this project. Pre-proposals must follow the template provided on this page and are due on September 8, 2021 by 5pm. Please email pre-proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The objective of this project is to create a community-centric strategic plan to guide future health and air quality research in the Imperial Valley. The plan will identify resources and prioritize fast-track actions and research to reduce air pollution and health impacts in all communities located within the Imperial Valley. A portion of this project will be dedicated to community engagement. The aim of the community engagement is to incorporate the knowledge of the Imperial Valley community members into the plan’s recommendations for action and future research. Community members have information regarding sources of air pollution, circumstances that lead to elevated air pollution in the area, gaps in air pollution research, and health burdens related to air pollution exposure. The plan will also summarize information in the existing scientific literature and other resources in order to develop short- and long-term recommendations, guidelines, and/or strategies for future air quality and health research in the Imperial Valley.
Under Senate Bill (SB) 535, CalEPA designated many of the census tracts that represent the communities in Imperial County as being “disadvantaged”. Disadvantaged communities are defined by CalEPA as the top 25% of the highest scoring census tracts in CalEnviroScreen 3.0, along with other low population areas that experience high amounts of pollution. These communities are subject to numerous environmental concerns caused by a variety of air pollutant sources that exist in and around the region (e.g., Salton Sea, agricultural activities, traffic at the California-Mexico border, unpaved roads, industrial operations, biomass and waste burning). Developing a comprehensive air pollution reduction strategy and research to develop these strategies is complicated by the large number of sources of air pollutants. The impact of these varied sources is further complicated by the amount of area these sources impact – some may impact one household, while others impact large regions. This complexity makes it difficult to develop one reduction strategy for the Imperial Valley.
The air pollution reduction strategy will require valuable information from the lived experience of the community members in these disadvantaged communities. Community members have knowledge of sources of air pollution, circumstances that lead to elevated air pollution in the area, gaps in air pollution research, and understand the needs of the individual communities that experience health burdens related to air pollution exposure. The unique perspectives and the experiences of the community members will be leveraged in future decision-making processes to develop meaningful solutions and actions that improve the lives of people living in the Imperial Valley. Such information is important to the development of future research and policies that can effectively address community-scale air quality challenges for all residents.
- Scope of Work
The contractor should create a fully developed research plan and perform all tasks as described below.
Task 1. Develop and execute a community engagement plan
The contractor will lead the development of a community engagement plan with community members, community organizations, and CARB. The plan must include elements to achieve active participation and meaningful contribution from community members and community organizations in the development of the community-centric strategic research plan. As such, the community engagement plan will be developed with community input before proceeding with the rest of the project. The decision to hold public meetings in-person or virtually will depend on the status of the state’s health and safety guidelines with considerations for any travel restrictions. All public meetings must be recorded to accommodate individuals who are unable to attend the live sessions. CARB will be able to provide translation services for these meetings, as well as translated written material. The project must also provide opportunities for those individuals to comment and contribute to the discussions offline. All publicly accessible progress update meetings shall be held in coordination with CARB staff and community leaders. The community engagement plan and its implementation must be well-documented throughout the project.
Task 2. Review and consolidate all available information on air quality in the Imperial Valley
The project will review and consolidate region-specific and up-to-date information on: (1) air quality research; (2) regulatory progress in reducing emissions; (3) air pollutant emission sources; (4) ambient air monitoring; (5) air pollution transport; (6) air quality modeling; (7) community’s environmental and health concerns; (8) emission inventories; (9) air pollution exposure; and (10) other risks associated with air pollution that are relevant for the Imperial Valley and its communities. This review shall also include information from the most recent peer-reviewed publications on air quality and health in the Imperial region. The review will consider ongoing CARB outreach efforts that foster collaboration between communities and area researchers. The review will include experiences and perspectives of the communities, any community-led air monitoring data, and satellite remote sensing. As needed, the project will conduct additional data analysis to develop a comprehensive, well-integrated, and cohesive understanding of the air pollution challenges in the Imperial Valley.
The project will develop multiple documents and presentations periodically throughout the project that effectively summarize the current status and how the information all fits together. These documents and presentations will be made publicly available on CARB’s website. The project will use the interim documents and presentations during public progress update meetings to foster meaningful discussions with the community members as laid out in the community engagement plan. The information gathered during these meetings will be used to inform the community-centric strategic research plan.
Task 3. Work with the communities to develop a list of research priorities with short- and long-term recommendations that address the community-scale research needs
The project will build on Tasks 1 and 2 to develop a list of air quality and health research priorities in close coordination with the community members and community organizations. The research priorities must consider sub-regional and community-scale research needed to improve equity and lessen major health burdens in the Imperial Valley. The research priorities must be well-justified and supported by science, as well as community voices. Each item on the list shall include short- and long-term recommendations, guidelines, and or strategies that can effectively and efficiently address the research needs in a way that equitably benefits all communities in the Imperial Valley.
Task 4. Develop a community-centric strategic research plan
The project will develop a comprehensive, well-vetted, and transparent report that summarizes and brings together the knowledge and ideas contributed through the community engagement plan and its implementation (Task 1), all available information on air quality, health impacts, and exposure in the Imperial Valley (Task 2), and the list of research priorities with recommendations for future research pathways (Task 3). This report (i.e., the community-centric strategic research plan) must include information that connects California’s existing air pollution control and mitigation strategies with valuable on-the-ground knowledge of the Imperial Valley’s air quality that is reflective of community voices to maximize the benefits of future policies. The community-centric strategic research plan will also inform CARB’s Triennial Strategic Research Plan to guide CARB’s future research activities. The community members and the community organizations must be well-informed and integrated throughout this process.
Task 5. Disseminate the information in coordination with the communities
The community-centric strategic research plan will be disseminated to all relevant parties in the form of a presentation at public meetings, web links, and or other outreach strategies. Such actions will be coordinated with CARB staff and the communities to maximize the impact of the plan.
Beginning this fiscal year, 2021-2022, CARB’s Research Division (RD) will require its contracted research projects to incorporate racial equity components. In order to operationalize this commitment to advance racial equity in research, RD will work to increase the awareness of CARB solicitations and find opportunities to connect researchers with non-academic partners. Moving forward, RD staff will work with multiple interested stakeholders to develop additional well-established racial equity components that reflect the policies, programs, and interests of CARB to develop research projects that address community needs and disseminate information to develop healthy and sustainable communities.. Required project deliverables are listed below.
- Quarterly Progress Reports and conference calls including public-facing updates posted to CARB website (template will be provided);
- The final report includes the summary of the outreach/community engagement activities, the priority list and feasibility assessment of the air pollution risk factors, and policy recommendations;
- Research seminar (live virtual participation and recordings will be available);
- Consultation calls with CARB and key stakeholders;
- Draft final report;
- Final report and seminar in Sacramento;
- Community meetings to be scheduled in consultation with CARB staff;
- In addition to the above deliverables, the project must incorporate equity components such as:
- Equity implications section in the final policy brief and report;
- Engagement with non-academic partners, such as non-profits or community advocates; and/or engagement with academic partners new to CARB contracting and/or from smaller universities;
- Include a community engagement plan
- All researchers must undergo cultural competency training or equivalent (examples include implicit bias training, racial equity training, etc.) and provide a cultural competency statement in the proposal;
- Peer-reviewed publications should be publicly available (please budget for this expense);
- Work with CARB to create plain-language outreach deliverables for the public (available in multiple languages and formats);
- All data, analyses, and analytical tools generated through the course of this project;
- Additional deliverables to be determined in consultation with CARB staff.
V. Timeline and Budget
It is anticipated this project will be completed in 18 months from the start date, which includes the delivery of the community-centric strategic research plan.
The estimated budget for this project is $75,000. It is expected that the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) contractor that is awarded this project will request a minimum of three competitive bids to complete the community engagement work which will be funded through a subcontract. The winning UC or CSU may begin this bidding process to select the subcontractor once they have been identified as the winner.
VI. scoring criteria
- Responsiveness to the Goals and Objectives Outlined in the Proposal Solicitation(15 points) Proposers should demonstrate a clear understanding of the policy objectives and research needs that CARB seeks to address with this project and should convey their knowledge of the subject. The proposal should spell out, in adequate detail, exactly what the Proposer proposes to do to satisfy the requirements of the Solicitation. The draft proposal must propose work that would satisfy the following three objectives stated in the Research Solicitation: First, create a community-centric strategic research plan to optimize the use of available resources and fast-track actions to equitably reduce air pollution in all communities located within the Imperial Valley. Second, leverage on-the-ground knowledge of the Imperial Valley’s air quality that is reflective of people’s voices (i.e., the community) by achieving active participation and receiving valuable guidance from local community members and community organizations. Third, through effective community engagement, summarize short- and long-term recommendations, guidelines, and or strategies for future air quality research in the Imperial Valley to inform air pollution reduction pathways.
- POLICY RELEVANCE/BENEFITS TO THE STATE(10 points) – Does the proposal describe how the project will provide data, information, and/or products to help CARB accomplish its mission? Through this project, CARB seeks to capture the unique perspectives and ideas of the community to leverage in future decision-making and research to develop meaningful solutions and actions that improves the lives of people living in Imperial Valley. How comprehensive is the conceptual community engagement plan? How are equity requirements highlighted and leveraged in the proposal? How synergistic will the community-centric strategic research plan be with CARB’s Triennial Strategic Research Plan? How effective will the proposal interconnect CARB’s existing air pollution control and mitigation strategies with the project’s objectives?
- PREVIOUS WORK (10 points)
- Policy expertise (5 points): Do the researchers have relevant experience in this area? Is the team composed of a multidisciplinary team of experts? Do they discuss how they will build upon previous relevant work that was funded by CARB and other state agencies? Researchers should clearly describe the team’s level of experience with community engagement and coordination. The relevant research partner(s) should describe previous experience in community engagement and provide letters of support, references, or a community impact statement, describing how previous work impacted communities. The researchers should have at least two completed projects that can be provided as examples of community engagement.
- Racial equity expertise (5 points): Does the team commit to cultural competency training (e.g. implicit bias training, racial equity training) as a deliverable and provide a cultural competency statement in the proposal? Does the research team have experience creating, using, or summarizing community recommendations to inform strategic research and/or policies? The researchers should have at least one completed project that can be provided as examples of community engagement.
- EXPANDING EXPERTISE (10 points) – Is the team composed of a multidisciplinary team of experts? Researchers are required to show intent to partner with non-academic partners, such as non-profits or community advocates with relevant experience in this area.
- TECHNICAL MERIT (20 points) - Describe the submission's technical strengths and/or weaknesses. Proposers should demonstrate the logic and feasibility of the methodology and technical approach to the project, spell out the sequence and relationships of major tasks, and explain methods for performing the actual work. Please factor in how well the draft proposal describes these areas:
- How comprehensive are the approaches used to address each of the tasks?
- Community engagement planning
- Information gathering and interpretation
- Research prioritization
- Community-centric strategic research planning
- Communicating results to diverse stakeholders
- How well does the proposal reflect community engagement needs? How well does the proposal interconnect community engagement and the greater objective of the project?
- The review team will be selecting only one draft proposal for development into a full proposal. If this draft proposal has potential, what areas or topics should be prioritized or better explained in the full proposal?
- How comprehensive are the approaches used to address each of the tasks?
- LEVEL AND QUALITY OF EFFORT TO BE PROVIDED(15 points) – Does the proposal allocate time and resources in such a way that the objectives of the study will be met? Is supervision and oversight adequate for ensuring that the project will remain on schedule? Is the distribution of workload appropriate for activities such as community engagement, research, evaluation and analysis, report preparation, meetings, and travel? The proposal should include a resource and workplan with sufficient detail to understand the work to be completed for this proposal.
- COST EFFECTIVENESS (20 points) - Does the cost seem appropriate for the proposed work? Does the proposed work seem feasible within the requested budget? Projects that provide co-funding should be evaluated more favorably.