Posted on June 22, 2022 by Amanda Cerreto

This article originally appeared in UTSA Today.

Skyline JUNE 21, 2022 — Sponsored by the City of San Antonio's (CoSA) Office of Innovation in collaboration with The University of Texas at San Antonio's (UTSA) Office of the Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise (REDKE), a new funding program from the Research & Development League ( R&D League ) has awarded its inaugural funding of more than $120,000. UTSA faculty members will work to enhance scientific collaboration between the two organizations to address some of San Antonio's pressing civic issues.

Known as CoSA R&D League Rapid Call, the program was created to respond quickly to specific city department challenges proposed by their employees late last year. Thirteen proposals were submitted by UTSA faculty members in response. Funding was given to four project teams led by a UTSA faculty member in the role of Principal Investigator (PI). This funding mechanism is the first of its kind using the newly established Master Research Agreement between the City of San Antonio and UTSA signed earlier this year.

"By partnering with the City, our researchers can pursue and apply models and methods to address real world issues and thus improve civic life."

Formed in January 2020, the R&D League—aligning the efforts of the four key partners, CoSA, Southwest Research Institute, USAA, and UTSA—works to create cross-sector, multi-disciplinary teams that utilize scientific methods and data to investigate new ideas, facilitate evidence-based policymaking and explore the frontier of innovation for our 1.5 million residents.

"As we progress our R&D League efforts and grow the program into one that benefits more and more of our resident services, we are delighted that our attempt at creating a Rapid Call intake has been successful and has produced not only interest from our partner agencies and city departments, but also has produced tangible work items that will improve how we operate in various ways," said Brian Dillard, chief innovation officer for the City of San Antonio.

The projects and team members are as follows:

Wenbo Wu (PI) and Pamela Smith , Carlos Alvarez College of Business, and Ying Huang , College for Health, Community and Policy, in collaboration with the CoSA 311 Customer Service Office.

Increasing 311 Satisfaction Survey Participation Rate Through an Improved Survey Design and Delivery Strategy

“The 311 Customer Service Office is excited to work with the R&D League and UTSA to help review and implement best practices to increase resident feedback for the 311 services. Effective feedback helps our team determine what changes are necessary to improve customer service,” said Paula Stallcup , director of 311 customer service.

David Han (PI), Carlos Alvarez College of Business, in partnership with the CoSA Neighborhood & Housing Services Department.

Development of Automated Data Consolidation Tool for the Affordable Housing Dashboard

Lloyd Potter (PI), Po-Chun Huang and Jeffrey A. Jordan , College for Health, Community and Policy, working with the CoSA Department of Human Services and the CoSA Communications and Engagement Department.

Simplified Guide for Planning and Conducting Surveys for COSA Staff Members

“The City of San Antonio is committed to listening to residents of the city,” said Melody Woosley, human services director. “This project will help us to elevate our standards in order to ensure that each community survey conducted in San Antonio is done with sound methodology and demographically represents all the voices in our community.”

Richard Hartley (PI) and Branco Ponomariov , College for Health, Community and Policy, working with the CoSA Municipal Court.

Optimizing Service Delivery at the CoSA Municipal Court

“There is a critical need to fund new research and ideas that have either immediate or long-term beneficial societal impact. By partnering with the City, our researchers can pursue and apply models and methods to address real world issues and thus improve civic life,” said Jaclyn Shaw , interim vice president for REDKE. “We look forward to sharing the results from our eight UTSA researchers once the projects are completed.”

UTSA is a Tier One research university and a Hispanic Serving Institution specializing in cyber, health, fundamental futures and social-economic transformation. UTSA aspires to become a model for student success, a great public research university and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence. With an emphasis on transdisciplinary collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship, UTSA is leveraging its research and development capabilities to benefit the San Antonio community and the world beyond.

— Amanda Cerreto