NOAA Regional Public Private Partnership Analysis and Recommended Strategy (2017)

Client Organization: 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Project Location : 
Great Lakes Region (All eight Great Lakes States MN to NY)
Summary of Project Idea: 

In April 2015, the Department of Commerce announced a new collaboration to “Unleash the Power of NOAA's Data” by joining forces with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM, Microsoft Corp., and the Open Cloud Consortium on a big data project. This is but one recent example of NOAA’s intent to strengthen and leverage public private partnerships to provide the nation with the best available science and high quality environmental information.

NOAA’s Line Offices throughout the Great Lakes region are interested in exploring innovative and non-traditional partnership opportunities that are strategically aligned with NOAA’s current priorities and mission critical work. A strategic partnership , including recommendations and a suite of decision-support tools (e.g. rubrics) and recommendations are needed to inform decision-making on future collaborations that support impactful and efficient use of federal investments, to ensure that our federal investments are cost effective and that we are, indeed, meeting end user needs through provisions of our NOAA data, products, and services.

This project will focus on a strategic partnership analysis of NOAA’s current priorities and how those align with private and public interest organizations across the Great Lakes region. NOAA is interested to use SNRE’s interdisciplinary programs as its topical framework for exploring partnership opportunities. NOAA’s Regional Team has worked to evaluate strategic partnerships that contribute towards NOAA’s climate mission in the past. That work may serve as a nice example of what could be done here. Ideally, we are looking for a report that lists the top 10 organizations/entities for NOAA to consider partnering with on Conservation Ecology, Environmental Policy and Planning, Behavior, Education, and Communication, Environmental Informatics, Environmental Justice, Sustainable Systems, and Landscape Architecture. In addition to suggesting these most promising entities to engage, NOAA would be seeking a partnership evaluation rubric methodology and specific recommendations on the most appropriate scale at which to engage (e.g. within NOAA Lines, Programs, and/or Projects).

An interdisciplinary approach to this project work is critical to its success. Effective use of multiple engagement and data collection strategies (i.e., surveys, questionnaires, interviews), communication technologies, and spatial analysis tools will be important to generate a strategic partnership analysis and recommendations that NOAA can consider and use for future collaborations.

Completion of this project will assist NOAA’s Great Lakes Regional Team in exploring partnership opportunities throughout the region as well as assist in garnering public and private interest in mutually identified priority projects. The analysis generated as well as the rubric methodology utilized to develop the report and recommendations will be shared with other NOAA regional teams (i.e., NOAA Northeast Regional Team to test transferability of methods) across the nation for similar regional analysis work. If regional partners are identified that have national organizations, it is possible that such groups would be elevated for further consideration for public private partnerships at larger national scales as well.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Environmental Policy and Planning
Behavior, Education, and Communication
Environmental Informatics
Environmental Justice
Sustainable Systems
Landscape Architecture
Role for each program area: 

NOAA will provide expertise regarding NOAA Line Office missions and priorities, and provide insights into partners (i.e., sharing results of the NOAA OCM Triennial Survey where NOAA asked for feedback on partnership opportunities, outlining some existing engagements) to provide context and a starting point for exploration across the Great Lakes region.  NOAA staff will regularly engage with the student team throughout the life of the project.  Heather Stirratt will serve as the overarching NOAA/Student project mentor.  She will coordinate the involvement of NOAA’s broad line office representation as well.

Team Size: 7 students desired - one for each of the interdisciplinary areas of focus at SNRE. 

Professional Career Development Benefits: 

Students working on this project will receive broad exposure to NOAA’s five operational line offices including:  NOAA’s National Ocean Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Satellite and Information Service, Office of Atmospheric Research, and National Weather Service.  Students will be assigned to a NOAA project mentor and encouraged to build an active rapport with regional partners across the Great Lakes geography.  As a result, students will gain marketable experience relating to social science research and analysis, partnership development, and local and regional engagement in the Great Lakes region.

Funding Sources: 

Internship funding for summer 2016 will be sought if a student team is identified for this project work.

Identify expected products/deliverables: 

Deliverables for this project include (but may not be limited to):

  • Public Private Partnership Rubric
  • Social Network Analysis
  • List of potential partners (full universe) with interests/missions aligned closely to NOAA’s interest/mission
  • Strategic Public Private Partnership Analysis with Recommendations for NOAA’s consideration
  • Top 10 partnership lists for each SNRE Program Area (at local, regional, national levels) and a partner profile for each organization on these lists.

The outputs/deliverables listed here will be used by the Great Lakes Regional Team and NOAA’s five operational line offices to explore the possibility of new public private partnerships throughout the Great Lakes region. Deliverables will be shared with other NOAA Regional Teams and with specific NOAA Program Offices (i.e., Office for Coastal Management) as a model method for public and private partnership assessments. Completion of this project will meet multiple objectives under the NOAA’s Policy on Partnerships in the Provision of Environmental Information.

Contact full name: 
Heather Stirratt; Jennifer Day
Job title: 
Great Lakes Regional Lead for NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management; Great Lakes Regional Coordinator for NOAA
Chanhassen; Ann Arbor
State or Country: 
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Allen Burton
Contact Phone: 
952-368-2505 (Office); 734-741-2266 (Office)
Contact information: 
SNRE alum
Staff member of a potential client organization
Our Organization has been an SNRE master's project client in a previous year
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Zhanyang Gao, MS Sustainable Systems
  • Jerry Guo, MS Conservation Ecology 
Jennifer Day is an SNRE alum
Project Status: 
Past Project