The purpose of the NOISE project is written in the first pages of our 2019 NSF report, which states:
“The goal of our community-led project… is to co-create a national community science project focused on noise pollution with the goal of increasing inclusion and equity in STEM, while building capacity in research and science through leadership and participation by both historically underrepresented communities and established academic institutions.”
Let’s break down the important objectives of the NOISE project. Firstly, the project seeks to increase inclusion and equity in STEM by putting forth a more equitable process of collaboration between large science institutions and underserved communities. Our project believes that it is an important goal given the traditionally exploitative research practices that exist between communities and institutions. This objective is achieved using analysis of interview data through community coding, the co-creation of working agreements and non-negotiables for collaboration, and self-evaluation of our own collaboration. In other words, a primary purpose of our project is to determine how scientific collaborations can occur in a more equitable way that benefits and centers communities rather than solely scientific institutions.
In addition to studying issues of equity within scientific collaborations, the NOISE project also conducts research about noise pollution and its effects on the health and wellbeing of communities. Our goal is to better understand the impacts of noise pollution and work to produce ways of combating this pollution. The project accomplishes this objective through the creation and dissemination of materials related to noise pollution. We recently created a survey about noise pollution and its effects, distributed it to various communities across the country, and subsequently analyzed the results of this survey in order to better understand and address noise pollution facing our communities. Additionally, our project created an app to educate individuals about noise pollution and offer ways to reduce the negative impacts of noise pollution. These are the two primary purposes of the noise project. Firstly, to make collaborations between scientific institutions and communities more equitable in a way that directly benefits participating communities. This is summarized on our website, which proclaims, “we’re changing the way science is done.” Secondly, to research noise pollution and its effects on community wellbeing, with the ultimate goal of producing ways to combat this pollution. It is important to note that these two goals are interconnected, and contribute to one another. We are furthering our first objective, of making collaborations more equitable, by using our co-created equitable framework to conduct this noise pollution research. For instance, the design and creation of our noise pollution app was done in a way that was equitable and inclusive of community voices, priorities, and experiences!