Support Research Center Developing a Social Impact Lens and Practices


Open to all RPCVs

Activity/project background

As with many public research centers in Mexico today, CIDETEQ is facing the challenge of incorporating into their core practices the component of social impact. Three years ago, with the entrance of the new Federal Administration, the Mexican government began to enforce, through its National Development Plan, a vision in which science and technological development address or respond to the needs of the Mexican people while improving the conditions that impact their health, education, economy and environment. The social impact lens is a new framework to many researchers, particularly those whose focus is on hard science. There is an expressed desire to integrate a social impact lens into the center’s research design, from conceptualizing it and explaining how their research may have an impact in society, to measuring and evaluate the impact. This has also created a challenge for researchers to access public funding since most public grants now require the research or project proposal to include the social component to meet eligibility requirements.

CIDETEQ has identified this as an area of opportunity that can be addressed through the collaboration of a Virtual Service Participant with a background in social science and experience designing and/or implementing projects with a social focus. The VSPP will support the research center’s personnel and graduate students acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to design and implement projects that do not only contribute to advance science and technology in Mexico, but also focuses on addressing a social need.

PCVs and PCRVs have collaborate with CIDETEQ since 2004. This is the first time CIDETEQ requests the support of a VSPP. Counterparts understand the nature and conditions of virtual service.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

• Co-conduct a needs assessment to determine the topics, content and materials needed for the webinars and workshops
• Co-design and co-facilitate a series of webinars (3-5) that will support the development of researchers and graduate students’ KSA needed to integrate the social impact component into their R&D projects
• Co-develop and co-facilitate virtual workshops (2-3) focused on enhancing the skills to write research project proposals as well as grant proposals with a strong social component
• Assist in monitoring projects that have incorporated the social impact component and provide follow-up and feedback

This engagement is expected to be approximately 22 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will take place during normal office hours, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Mexico’s time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to computer, cell phone, BlueJeans video conference application, WhatsApp for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

• Bachelor’s degree in social impact, social responsibility, social science, global studies, business, or related field, plus 10 years of experience designing, implementing and/or evaluating social impact and/or community projects,
• or Master’s Degree in sociology, anthropology, business, social responsibility, social development or related field

• 5 years of social impact and/or community projects design and/or implementation
• Teaching or training design and facilitation

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

• Doctorate degree in sociology, anthropology, community development, social development, social responsibility or related field

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Knowledge of chemistry, electrochemistry, physics, or the environment
• Familiarity of techno-anthropology

• Intermediate or advance technical Spanish

• Working or collaborating with researchers

Partner background

Name: Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico en Electroquímica S.C. (CIDETEQ)

Type of entity: Government

Mission and goals:

CIDETEQ was created as a Public Research Center in September 1991, with the purpose of addressing the needs of the industrial sector through research and a connection with the academia.

CIDETEQ has a 30-year track record in research and technology development in three core areas -water and environment, clean energy, and health- through innovative processes based on electrochemistry and advanced surface treatment.
As an academic institution, CIDETEQ trains specialized human resources at master's and doctoral level, through its postgraduate programs in electrochemistry and environmental engineering.

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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