For your ESD.864 term project, you will work in groups to conduct a scientific/technical assessment for a chosen decision-maker. The goal of this project is to give you the opportunity to apply and practice some of the theoretical frameworks and insights from case studies on doing science for policy. You will be assigned to a group and topic and given a "user" or decision-maker.
Project Topics (PDF)
Your first step will be to determine the user's needs, what you can provide, and devise a process by which you will conduct your scientific assessment. In this case, the assessment process is critically important, so you should spend substantial time thinking about how to manage it. Given your decision-maker and his/her needs, you may choose one of two strategies for your project:
As a mid-semester checkpoint on your progress, Ses #16 will be devoted to project discussions. In addition, to underscore the importance of concentrating on the assessment process, a process memo will be due on Ses #16. In this memo (2-3 pages), your group should outline the decisions it has made about the project, and outline the group's assessment process plan. Questions this memo should answer are (among others):
There will be two final products for this project. A final report of your project results will be due Ses #25. There is no specified length, but given the constraints on decision-maker's time, it should be no more than 20 pages at maximum, and you should include an executive summary of no more than 2 pages. You will also present a brief PowerPoint presentation (roughly 15 minutes) with an overview your results to the rest of the class at a selected session at the end of the semester.
Examples for the deliverables are provided for the project on Northeast Air Quality. All work is courtesy of MIT students and used with permission.
Process Memo (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
Final Paper (PDF - 1.6MB)
Additional information you might find helpful is covered in two reports:
Eckley, Noelle. "Designing Effective Assessments: The Role of Participation, Science and Governance, and Focus." Report from a Workshop Co-organized by the Global Environmental Assessment Project and the European Environment Agency, 1-3 March 2001. Expert's Corner, Environmental Issue Report No. 26. Copenhagen, Denmark: European Environment Agency, 2001.
Van der Sluijs, Jeroen P., James S. Risbey, Penny Kloprogge, et al. "RIVM/MNP Guidance for Uncertainty Assessment and Communication: Detailed Guidance." Volume 3 in RIVM/MNP Guidance for Uncertainty Assessment and Communication Series, Utrecht University, 2003. (PDF - 1.1MB)