Stakeholder Input for a National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) to Serve the Arctic
Thank you in advance for providing your input on the formation of a proposed National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC). By responding to the following questions, you are providing valuable guidance that we hope to incorporate into a product that involves as many stakeholders as possible. We will keep you updated throughout the process.

A significant number of coastal Alaska communities are threatened with erosion, flooding, and the loss of clean water and infrastructure in the next decade due to the amplified effects of climate change in the Arctic. Similar climate changes and their effects are occurring throughout the world. Alaska can serve as a microcosm for coordinated and sustainable energy and infrastructure development for human displacement challenges and resilience worldwide.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a year-long planning grant to develop an Engineering Research Center (ERC) proposal. The ERC will develop integrated solutions for communities threatened and displaced by climate change. The ultimate goal will be to create communities and economies based on sustainable use of local and renewable resources. Key elements of the ERC planning effort and eventual proposal will include workforce development, implementation processes, research, and technology innovation with diverse partners across the state. The university recognizes ongoing efforts around the state to help threatened communities and does not seek to supplant those efforts, but rather, to complement and focus them in a manner that adds value and results in long-term sustainability and new approaches that translate across the country and beyond.

The goal of the NSF ERC Program is to integrate engineering research and education with technological innovation to transform national prosperity, health, and security. ERCs create an innovative, inclusive culture in engineering to cultivate new ideas and pursue engineering discovery that achieves a significant science, technology, and societal outcome within the 10-year timeframe of NSF support. For information on individual ERCs and their achievements, go to: ERC-assoc.org.

The personnel involved with this planning grant are as follows:
Principal Investigator: Erin Whitney (UAF)
Co-Investigators: Mariko Shirazi (UAF), Pips Veazey (UAF), Margaret Darrow (UAF), Frank Witmer (UAA), Bill Schnabel (UAF)
Fellow: Mark Masteller (UAF/Bristol Bay Campus)

Name and Organization *
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Email Address *
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What is your and/or your organization’s role in helping rural/remote, displaced or threatened communities in Alaska or elsewhere?
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Who are your critical partners in this role?
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What are your and/or your organization’s greatest challenges in helping these communities?
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What gaps exist with respect to knowledge, implementation, coordination of help to threatened and displaced communities?
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What are the common elements that displaced communities face regardless of location on the planet?
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What specific engineering advances would help displaced communities? (Areas to consider: sanitation, transportation, electricity, heat, infrastructure, water, food, coastal science, permafrost, local energy resources, etc.)
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Who, if anyone, is working on the engineering advances listed in your answer to the previous question?
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What kinds of training and workforce development initiatives would help displaced or threatened communities?
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What specific cultural or social considerations do you feel are most important when working with people in communities threatened by climate change?
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What kinds of educational initiatives would be useful to help with capacity development in threatened and displaced communities?
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Who delivers and who receives these educational initiatives (from the answer to the previous question)?
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What are some ways a proposed engineering center coud include and/or promote innovation in Alaska?
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What are some strategies for incorporating a diverse range of stakeholders into an engineering center effort? Would you recommend a particular person or organization?
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What national and international partners would be relevant to this effort?
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Who would you suggest as a potential leader or leadership group for an engineering research center?
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What expertise does an ERC leader or leadership group need to have?
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What other questions should we be asking?
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Who else should we talk to, and what is their contact information? (examples: state and federal entities, private companies, educational institutions, nonprofits, native and tribal organizations, community organizations, researchers, investors, utilities, consultants, small businesses, policy and economic development organizations, etc.)
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Any further comments or thoughts?
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