ConTechs Associates:

ConTechs Projects and Operations

 
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Project Scope.  ConTechs helps organize technical projects executed by faculty, students, NGOs, and communities in developing countries in partnership with engineering volunteers, mainly from the U.S.  Projects will be diverse in nature and scope -- ranging from "big" to "small" and from "high-tech" to "appropriate tech".  Although they may entail university research, the objective is to see practical solutions implemented in the field.

All projects will have a significant technical component, but they will not be limited to any particular engineering discipline; in fact, they will often be interdisciplinary.  Initially, ConTechs projects primarily required chemical engineering expertise.  However, with its shift to problems associated with climate change, future projects will increasingly benefit from the involvement of civil, mechanical, and environmental engineers.  Meeting basic needs for sustainable energy, healthcare and sanitation, and resource management is an extraordinarily broad brief that entails not only an array of technical and scientific disciplines but also perspectives from outside the technical community.

ConTechs primarily supports projects in which at least one of the aims is to minimize, mitigate, or foster adaption to the effects of anthropogenic climate change.  At present we are active in the Andean nations of South America, especially Bolivia.

Operations.  Projects are selected based on several criteria including feasibility, impact, and available expertise.  University-based project work is typically done in conjunction with students’ fifth-year design projects (i.e., "proyectos de grado") and/or industrial practice assignments.  Project team members communicate regularly with ConTechs advisors using web-based technologies (e.g., e-mail and Skype), benefiting not only from professional advice/expertise but also from access to technical literature and  industry contacts, mentoring, and (occasionally) help with student travel and other project expenses.

Through networking, outreach, its "needs and resources" database, ConTechs helps its Associates coalesce around suitable project opportunities -- and then supports the team with "project infrastructure" and guidance including successful project models, protocols, and on-line web resources (e.g., SOPs and handbooks) that document "best practices" for managing and conducting projects.  An expanded Advisory Board will set policy, maintain project QC, provide oversight over operations, and help tap additional sources of funding -- with special emphasis given funding entities looking to sponsor and invest in managing the effects of global climate change in developing countries. 

   

 

 

 

This page was last updated on March 14, 2011.