IC² Institute Reports

Permanent URI for this collectionhttps://hdl.handle.net/2152/14286

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    Uvalde Community Asset Mapping and Economic Recommendation Report
    (IC2 Institute, 2023-02-12) Gregory P. Pogue; Jasmine Wright
    In collaboration with the team from The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Monica Muñoz Martínez, Dr. Noёl Busch-Armendariz, Dr. Gloria González-López, and Caitlin Sulley, the IC2 Institute applied a mixed-method research approach to assess community assets, values, and fitted economic opportunities in Uvalde, TX. Researchers believe Uvalde has the opportunity and capacity to author its own economic story – from the inside outward. The proposed strategies will require all residents to be involved and constructively contribute to new economic initiatives that can spill over into improved community life, educational quality, and individual family success. Central to the report findings is the need for Uvalde leadership and residents to: • Rebuild public trust. • Engage youth proactively in community life. • Overcome physical distance to Frio/Concan/Sabinal and other Hill County sites to revitalize tourism in order to enhance local business growth. • Pursue innovative economic opportunities involving all residents. • Build a future for all residents of Uvalde – not just those who are visible, voting, or viewed as vital.
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    Impact of Power Outages Depends on Who Loses It: Equity-Informed Grid Resilience Planning
    (2023-10-06) Hasenbein, John J.; Kutanoglu, Erhan; Toplu-Tutay, Gizem
    This research presents a novel approach for enhancing power grid resilience with a focus on social equity in light of increasing natural disasters. We recognize that natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods can disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities, exacerbating existing disparities. Our research aims to bridge this gap by integrating tailored equity metrics into resilience planning. Our methodology utilizes a two-stage stochastic optimization model for hurricane-induced flood mitigation, which optimizes substation hardening and power flow decisions. The goal of this model is to minimize both the expected load shed and the expected well-being loss metrics of socially vulnerable communities (affected population and duration of loss) in the aftermath of flooding. We explore the trade-off between these objectives. What sets our research apart is the integration of realistic flood scenario generation, a large-scale synthetic power grid of Texas, and multiple methodologies in resource allocation, community impact modeling, power flow modeling, and equity metric development, as well as comprehensive computational experiments. The findings highlight the importance of the composite objective function in altering power flow decisions to prioritize electricity provision and save communities in disadvantaged areas even without investing in substation hardening (i.e., just managing load shedding with more attention to such vulnerabilities). The results also quantify the equity and load shed benefits of substation hardening as a function of the investment budget with a parameterized analysis. With an attention to equity, power outages increase in nonvulnerable communities — a trade-off made to mitigate well-being loss in the most vulnerable areas. Notably, more attention to equity provides a lower or equal number of people saved per 1 MW increase in the load shed, underscoring the concept of diminishing returns. Our findings highlight the importance of strategically allocating a limited budget and consistently prioritizing the hardening of substations serving more vulnerable populations. We further explore a justice model inspired by the government’s Justice40 initiative but find it less effective than our equity-informed models at preventing well-being loss. Our findings offer valuable insights for policymakers, grid operators, and utilities striving for a more resilient and equitable power grid. We believe that our research will not only contribute to equitable power grid resilience but also provide practical solutions to address the pressing challenges posed by climate change and natural disasters.
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    Economic development in rural Texas: A study of heritage, assets, barriers and stakeholders in six rural communities
    (2022) Spinuzzi, Clay
    In summer 2021, I led a team of six graduate research assistants in a project to better understand economic development in small-town Texas. We asked these research questions: ● How do community leaders understand their community heritage as constraining or enabling development? ● Where do community leaders and members see potential for change and growth in community development? Where do they see barriers, threats, and hard choices? ● How do community leaders describe the relations among community development stakeholders? How do they describe expectations and trust among them on interpersonal, inter-group, and inter-organizational levels? To conduct the research, we selected six communities, which were paired to help us generate comparisons. For most communities, we had “grids,” or brief summaries of interviews that undergraduate students had conducted in summer 2020; these grids gave us a starting point for our more formal interviews as well as an idea of what concerns community leaders had expressed. Based on grids and a review of basic statistics for these communities, we selected three paired sets of communities.
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    Stephen F. Austin Unviersity: An Anchor Institution in Deep East Texas
    (2022) Pedigo, Steven
    The Deep East Texas (DET) region is experiencing the same challenges that many rural regions face today: a high poverty rate, low labor participation rates,lackluster job creation, insufficient industry diversification, brain drain (talent leaving the region for urban cities), and a lack of social inclusion.Deep East Texas looks to SFA, the regional public university, to be an active participant in addressing these trends and moving the economy toward resilience. In 2021, the Center for Applied Research and Rural Innovation(CARRI) was established to act as a bridge between the university and the community to address region-wide problems and further encourage collaboration.To fulfill its mission of supporting academic programs and boosting regionaleconomic development, SFA partnered with the LBJ School of Public Affairs tobuild a plan that incorporates the strengths of the region and the potential of CARRI.
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    Pathways to Energizing the Basin: A Policy Research Project
    (2022) Pedigo, Steven
    The Permian Basin is a diverse region full of potential forgrowth and development in the cities of Midland and Odessa.The University of Texas Permian Basin can help facilitate this necessary change, providing an opportunity to unite the region.Quantitative and qualitative analyses were done over the past year, which allowed for informed strategy recommendations. A vision statement will help the university navigate the strategy recommendations:The University of Texas Permian Basin will be a hub and connector for the region’s engagement, enrichment, and innovation.
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    A Roadmap to the Innovation Hub of the Hill Country
    (2020) Pedigo, Steven
    To further its pursuit of economic resiliency, Boerne/KendallCounty requires a deliberate, collaborative strategy for business expansion, startup and enterprise development, talent attraction/retention, and destination development. Guided by Steven Pedigo, faculty director of the LBJ Urban Labat the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at UT-Austin, and with the financial support of the IC2 Institute, the BoerneKendall County Economic Development Corporation (BKCEDC)has spent the past year engaging with residents, business executives, community leaders, and elected officials on how to build Kendall County into a creative and innovation hub for theTexas Hill Country. The result is this five-year strategy.An environmentally responsible community with an appreciation for its singular quality of life, Boerne/Kendall County is the creative and innovation hub for the Texas Hill Country.
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    Barriers in Access to Transplantation in Central Texas (BATCT)
    (2023) Adler, Joel T.; Upshaw, Sean J.
    Why engage with ESKD in central Texas? Our adult kidney transplant program opened at the University of Texas at Austin and Dell Seton Medical Center in November 2021 with the goal of delivering equitable, world-class, and evidence-based care to all people of central Texas. As we grow and learn how to best serve our community, our abdominal transplant program at the University of Texas at Austin is uniquely positioned to study, address, and counteract local disparities via patient-centered research. Core questions: To identify innovative, patient-centered solutions that advance equity, we used our IC2 funding to launch a parallel mixed-methods study to ask the following core questions about ESKD in central Texas: What are the social determinants of health that most strongly impact access to primary, nephrology, andtransplant care? What are the barriers and facilitators of being referred and evaluated for kidney transplantation? How and to what extent can we better identify and serve patients of an underserved or marginalizedcommunity that would benefit from transplantation services? What does equity in access to transplantation mean to patients with ESKD and their caregivers?
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    Learning about barriers to information diffusion in rural Kenya
    (2022-08-22) Fabregas, Raissa
    Our research project, generously funded by IC2, studied potential barriers in agricultural information seeking or sharing among smallholder maize farmers in rural Kenya. For purposes of this research project,we focused on two types of information: external information about soil chemistry in the area, and information collected from farmers who are considered knowledgeable about farming practices.First, to understand whether farmers value this type of agricultural information (and hence would want to obtain it), we ran baseline surveys in which we elicited their valuations for these different types of information. This exercise sheds light on the demand (valuation) for agricultural information and farmers' perception of its "usefulness" in monetary terms.
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    Tackling Pandemics: Afro-Brazilian Entrepreneurs and COVID-19
    (2022-08) Paixao, Marcelo; Rossetto, Irene; Monahan, Joseph; Islam, Tasnim
    How did COVID-19 adversely affect Afro-Brazilian entrepreneurs? This study investigated two aspects of their experience: their access to business credit, and whether they were able to work remotely during the first months of the pandemic in 2020.
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    A Machine Learning Approach: Socio-economic Analysis to Support and Identify Resilient Analog Communities in Texas
    (2022-08-26) Mabadeje, Ademide O.
    Identification of analog resources or items are important during the planning and development of new communities because available information is usually limited or absent. Conventionally, analogs are made by domain experts however, this is not always readily obtainable. Coupled with this challenge, most of the available data in socioeconomic systems have high dimensionality making interpretation, and visualization of these datasets difficult. Hence, it is crucial to adopt a workflow that can be used to identify analogs regardless of its existing high dimensionality. To this end, we present a systematic and unbiased measure, group similarity score (GCS) and similarity scoring metric (SSM) to support the predictive search of missing properties for target communities and identification of analogous cities based on available socioeconomic data and modeling. Knowing that each Texan community can be characterized by its associated properties, the workflow combines both spatial and multivariate statistics in a novel manner to determine the GCS & SSM whilst visualizing the associated uncertainty space. The workflow consists of three major steps: 1) key parameter selection via feature engineering, 2) multivariate and spatial analysis using multidimensional scaling (MDS) and density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN) for clustering analysis, 3) similarity ranking using a modified Mahalanobis distance function as a clustering basis on preprocessed data. Afterwards, to assess the quality of the predicted feature and analog communities obtained, K-nearest neighbor algorithm is applied, then the analog cities are found. The workflow is demonstrated using on high dimensional socio-economic data. We find analogs for each community cluster identified with their GCS and SSM in relation to 4 randomly selected communities used for testing. Thus, it is recommended to apply the integration of this workflow in uncertainty exploration, trend-mappings, and community analog assignment, and benchmarking to support decision making.
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    Northwest Arkansas EDGE Final Report
    (Walton Family Foundation, 2019-11) Pogue, Gregory; Jarret, James; Kellison, J. Bruce; and Gibson, David
    The Economic Development: Generating Entrepreneurs (EDGE) Program, funded by the Walton Family Foundation, was initiated in Northwest Arkansas in Spring 2018. The program, managed by the IC2 Institute at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) had the following goals: to assess policies, players and programs in the region; to engage in pilot, collaborative programs in entrepreneurship linking Austin and Northwest Arkansas; and to develop a nationally distinctive strategy for entrepreneurship for the region.
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    Post-Earthquake Home Reconstruction in the Surrounding Hills of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, PRP 200
    (LBJ School of Public Affairs, 2018) Eaton, David J.; Josh, Niraj Prakash
    In April of 2015, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Kathmandu Valley at the center of Nepal. Within the following year, Kathmandu was struck by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks. The initial earthquake caused the deaths of 8,856 people, injured 22,309, and affected eight million more. Many agencies around the world came together to fund reconstruction efforts as part of a Nepal and a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF). The MDTF conducted an Earthquake Housing Damage and Characteristics Survey (EHDC) which led to the creation of Nepal Rural Housing Reconstruction Program (NRHRP), which sought to reconstruct earthquake-resistant homes. The NRHRP developed a homeowner-driven grant process and established the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to distribute housing reconstruction grants to families. Those grants were to be paid out via three tranches, each after the completion of a specific construction phase. During 2017, an international collaborative effort began among four parties: Hiroshima University (HU); Tribhuvan University (TU); Nepal’s Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC); and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs (LBJ) of the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The team investigated the challenges and opportunities for reconstruction of homes in rural areas damaged by the 2015 earthquake in and around the hinterland of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Within the context of a university course, students began by studying alternative building technologies (ABTs) being implemented in Nepal by local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). When project members visited Nepal in March 2017, they interviewed rural residents to identify barriers to home reconstruction. During a field study, the students also met with local governmental officials and NGO representatives. This report describes students’ field investigation in Nepal, background research on alternative building technologies (ABTs) for home reconstruction, and recommendations developed from consultation with stakeholders and technical advisors. The first chapter starts with the earthquake and its associated damage and describes the response of the Government of Nepal (GON) and the international community in forming the MDTF, the NRHRP, and the NRA. The second chapter discusses different alternative building technologies (ABTs) considered by the GON, including bamboo, hempcrete, rammed earth, Compressed Stabilized Earth Brick (CSEB), earthbags, and modified conventional housing. Each section describes the type of building style, its construction, materials and labor required, estimates of construction time (if available), costs, and a brief section on comparative advantages and disadvantages. The third chapter describes the 2017 field study in Nepal, included the locations of the field study and interviews and discussions with local NGOs, the governmental agencies, and local residents. The research group sought to learn whether a lack of affordable and appropriate building methods could explain why many villagers still live in temporary shelters. Village residents discussed barriers to housing reconstruction unrelated to the type of home being built. The final chapter presents conclusions from 2017 field study observations of the three villages. Researchers found four common barriers to reconstruction: the cost of transportation and materials; insufficient reconstruction incentives; grant processes with many procedural barriers to funding; and the need for consistent interaction of the community with governmental agencies. One suggestion is to evaluate the home reconstruction program to assess its procedures and outcomes. A second suggestion is for Nepal to enhance the number and authority of mobile teams of professionals to assist villagers seeking to reconstruct homes.
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    Commercializing Technology Resources for Competitive Advantage
    (IC² Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, 1986-09) Konecci, Eugene B.; Kozmetsky, George; Smilor, Raymond W.; Gill, Michael D. Jr
    Monograph on various aspects of technology commercialization, including sections on technology commercialization and regional economic development; commercializing research and development from U.S. federal laboratories; U.S. international competitiveness; and technology marketing. Appendices present data on U.S. research and development patterns in the public and private sectors, on institutional developments for capital formation and technology commercialization, and on world trade.
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    Building Indigenous Companies: Private/Public Infrastructures for Economic Growth and Diversification
    (IC² Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, 1986-05) Kozmetsky, George; Smilor, Raymond W.
    This monograph brings together selected articles and IC2 Institute research on the topic of regional economic development through the growth of locally founded (or "indigenous") companies, in contrast to development relying primarily on industrial relocation. It provides a framework for understanding and implementing new approaches to economic growth and diversification at the community and regional levels. Talent, technology, capital and know-how are all required to build successful ventures. There must also be institutional foundations that support the entrepreneurial process through innovative infrastructures. These infrastructures include educational institutions, public and private sector entities, financial institutions and business networks. In addition, newer institutional relationships are necessary to link effectively business, government and academia.
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    Strategic Plan for Software Preeminence (Summary)
    (Austin Software Council, 1993-12) Austin Software Council
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    Workstations in Education and Training, Phase 1
    (IC² Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, 1991-07) Baughman, Martin L.; Hudspeth, Delayne; Kendrick, David; Thore, Sten; Gajulapalli, Ravindra
    Report to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on phase 1 of a study on workstations in education and training. The report considers the benefits of computer-assisted education and training; advances in the capabilities of workstation hardware and networks forecasted for the year 2000; the state of the art in education software; and constraints which threaten to limit the effective use of advances in computer-assisted education and training, but which could be mitigated by leadership from DARPA.
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    Carbon Pricing and the Transition from Voluntary to Mandatory Markets
    (Austin Technology Incubator, 2008) Otto, Jeff; Brown, Sam; Ebrahim, Tabrez; Partridge, Ian; Stautberg, Ed
    The current national and global call for a coordinated and meaningful response to climate change concerns is certain to shift the United States from several regional and voluntary carbon markets today to a global compulsory market in the near future. In addition to the clear environmental benefits, this changing landscape will result in groups of carbon market "winners" and "losers" – some market segments will gain favor and market share while others will lose economic opportunity. The competitive disadvantage for traditional energy in a carbon-priced world will be a catalyst for market-driven innovations in renewable energy, and sustainable development. There are many opportunities where Austin and Texas stand to gain as larger carbon pricing components are realized. This primer looks to explore the political, economic, and design considerations that will affect the development of the carbon market.
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    CleanTX Analysis on Water: The Thirst for Power
    (Austin Technology Incubator, 2008-05-14) King, Carey W.; Holman, Ashlynn S.; Webber, Michael E.
    Current technologies for power generation, with some exceptions such as wind turbines and photovoltaic solar cells, rely heavily on the availability of large amounts of water. Primarily this water is needed for cooling thermoelectric plants and supplying fluid pressure and flow for hydroelectric power generation. But in a changing climate, it is not clear whether sufficient volumes of water will continue to be available where needed. In the future the growing demand for water for power production will come into conflict with other uses, particularly municipal supplies. This report examines water consumption and withdrawal in Texas in the light of the interrelated demand for power and water.
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    CleanTX Analysis on the Smart Grid
    (Austin Technology Incubator, 2008) Duran, Lindsay; Ebrahim, Tabrez; Faulhaber, Kurt; Serface, Joel; Sivaraman, Priya
    The utility industry in the United States has an opportunity to revolutionize its electric grid system by utilizing emerging software, hardware and wireless technologies and renewable energy sources. As electricity generation in the U.S. increases by over 30% from today’s generation of 4,100 Terawatt hours per year to a production of 5,400 Terawatt hours per year by 2030, a new type of grid is necessary to ensure reliable and quality power. The projected U.S. population increase and economic growth will require a grid that can transmit and distribute significantly more power than it does today. Known as a Smart Grid, this system enables two- way transmission of electrons and information to create a demand-response system that will optimize electricity delivery to consumers. This paper outlines the issues with the current grid infrastructure, discusses the economic advantages of the Smart Grid for both consumers and utilities, and examines the emerging technologies that will enable cleaner, more efficient and cost- effective power transmission and consumption.
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    The Role of Semiconductors in Clean Energy
    (Austin Technology Incubator, 2008) Ballentine, Paul; Duran, Lindsay; Anderson, Emily
    Semiconductors play a key role in clean energy by enabling clean, renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency. Semiconductor materials are the basis for solar electric energy systems. Semiconductor devices are also used to condition power from solar arrays and wind turbines so the energy can be used by electric equipment and fed onto the electric grid. Semiconductors are playing an increasingly important role in making the electric grid more intelligent through the use of smart meters, sensors, wireless and wire line communications, and control systems. This intelligence enables the electric utilities to more easily detect faults, manage the demand for power when capacity is constrained or costly, and integrate renewable and distributed sources of power into the grid. This primer provides a background for how semiconductors are used to enable clean energy in different sectors of the economy.
For scholarly and educational purposes.