Skip directly to content

Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY RESEARCH CORPORATION
Doing Business As Name:West Virginia University Research Corporation
PD/PI:
  • Robert C Burns
  • (304) 293-6781
  • robert.burns@mail.wvu.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Ross G Andrew
Award Date:09/20/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 686,462
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 686,462
  • FY 2021=$686,462
Start Date:10/01/2021
End Date:09/30/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.083
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:NSF Convergence Accelerator Track E: Data Interfacing of Human Use, Culture, Economics, and Environment within the Blue Economy for Underserved Populations
Federal Award ID Number:2137826
DUNS ID:191510239
Program:Convergence Accelerator Resrch
Program Officer:
  • Nora Savage
  • (703) 292-7949
  • nosavage@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:P.O. Box 6845
City:Morgantown
State:WV
ZIP:26506-6845
County:Morgantown
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:West Virginia University
Street:322 Percival Hall
City:Morgantown
State:WV
ZIP:26506-6108
County:Morgantown
Country:US
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

The Blue Economy, as defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, contributed nearly $373 billion to the United States economy in 2018 and grew faster than the nation’s economy overall. Additionally, the sector of the Blue Economy related to tourism and recreation represents the largest contributor overall—nearly $143 billion. While the value of such ocean resources and sectors is immense, the benefits of these resources and commitment to their use and conservation are not shared equally by all people. This project addresses the following objectives 1) identification of appropriate data sources that are relevant for connecting underserved groups to the Blue Economy 2) analysis and packaging of data sources into applicable products that are useful for Blue Economy networks to reach appropriate users, and 3) provision of products/training/education to groups that help establish connections via jobs, awareness, and commitments within the Blue Economy for underserved groups. A key outcome of the project will be to increase awareness, engagement, and connection to the Blue Economy for traditionally underserved populations in the United States. This research seeks to highlight the linkage between racial/ethnic minorities and relatively lower socioeconomic status as a relevant factor for consideration in definition of underserved populations—through the convergence of big data, cultural understanding, and other data sources. Specifically, societal outcomes that will benefit Black, Brown, and Indigenous individuals as it relates to engagement and connection to the Blue Economy. Traditionally underserved groups may have previously established cultural connections to ocean resources that are not captured in current assessment and quantification of the Blue Economy. The Blue Economy should be accessible by all U.S. citizens, regardless of their connection to ocean resources. Participation in Blue Economy related activities can only be expanded for underserved populations when they are fully aware of the activities and opportunities present within Blue Economy sectors. In the medium term, awareness of Blue Economy activities and opportunities translates to action for responsible use, marketing, and business promotion for underserved populations. Following increases in awareness, increases in access are the goal outcomes in the medium-term time period. This will broaden participation in the Blue Economy for underserved populations by inspiring confidence in ocean resources as sources of economic benefit. In the long term, awareness and access build into attachment to ocean resources and the Blue Economy. Finally, the project will build a foundation that supports expansion of underserved population use and valuation of ocean resources. Through short and medium-term expansion of awareness and access for opportunities in the Blue Economy, societal benefits will emerge as long-term attachment to those resources and connections. This research addresses the following objectives 1) identification of appropriate data sources that are relevant for connecting underserved groups to the Blue Economy 2) analysis and packaging of data sources into applicable products that are useful for Blue Economy networks to reach appropriate users, and 3) provision of products/training/education to groups that help establish connections via jobs, awareness, and commitments within the Blue Economy for underserved groups. This project will make use of big data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop a platform that is accessible to the public. The platform will aggregate data and stratify outputs based upon social criteria such as desired activities, conditions, and connections to the Blue Economy. The platform will be functional for any person with internet access, but will be coupled with educational tools, workshops, and partnerships specifically designed to connect underserved communities to the Blue Economy. Partners in this convergent research effort (e.g. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Integrated Information Services) will provide indirect communication to the program through their research and data provisioning efforts. Educational tools, workshops, and partnerships will be tailored to the specific audience of a particular community, knowing that cultural connections and commitments to ocean resources differ across diverse groups. Proposed outcomes include creation of opportunities, awareness, and historical/contemporary context within the Blue Economy for underserved populations in the short term. In the medium/long term, expected outcomes include increased use, engagement, and business/job opportunities centered on stronger attachment to the Blue Economy for underserved communities and populations. The proposed activities address contemporary analytical challenges that cut across multiple disciplines and require advanced analyses. Existing data streams and models that utilize environmental and economic data to provide information to coastal communities about weather events, transportation routing, and impacts of hazards will be leveraged to help incorporate additional social endpoints. By integrating human use and cultural information to such conceptual and statistical models, description of linkages that may be influenced by oceanic and atmospheric phenomena can be included in platforms that that benefit society. The analysis and understanding of ocean conditions using biological and ecological sciences is a vital component of this proposed project. Using social and biological data to converge upon improved understanding of latent variables that strengthen awareness, access, and attachment to ocean resources is beneficial to society on its own. However, when considering the true impact of awareness, access, and attachment to such resources, the dependency and connections with economic endpoints such as employment and incomes are critical and must be measured and justified. Economic connections extend beyond dollars and cents, and hold potential for improvement in livelihoods of underserved populations across components such as consumer confidence, life expectancy, and happiness levels. Additionally, a more detailed understanding of the goods and services provided by ocean resources beyond traditional market valuation (e.g. shipping, fisheries harvest, etc.) offers insight into opportunities for human engagement with the ocean and valuation of non-market goods and services provided by coastal resources. This more complete assessment and understanding of the Blue Economy may then offer underserved populations additional pathways into such networks, to expand upon historical connections and create contemporary opportunities. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

For specific questions or comments about this information including the NSF Project Outcomes Report, contact us.