2022 Grants Challenge

Intersecting Biotech, Climate and Social Change

Lab Launch is developing K-12 curriculum programming focused on the intersection of bio-science, climate change and social engagement. The goal is to develop science-based educational experiences addressing climate change that include examination of the roles behavior and social change contribute to designing and implementing impactful science based solutions.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

Antelope Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

The City and County of Los Angeles has made steady strides in addressing climate change but still faces many hurdles. In particular, there are many at-risk segments of the population that are disproportionately impacted and who cannot easily access or be positively impacted by proposed solutions. To provide equitable, inclusive and impactful solutions for all of LA’s citizens we believe it is important that science innovation address the broader socio-economic challenges along with the scientific and technical. Science education should include a broader, systems thinking approach. If our climate change solutions cannot be adopted by all of our citizens equally, then none of us will avoid the impacts of climate change. Exposing students to the complex scientific and social dynamics underpinning climate change, we believe we can attract a broad spectrum of students to science education and make important short and long term contributions to sustainability in Los Angeles County.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Lab Launch’s project is the development of a pilot educational program focused on bioscience, climate change and social impact. The program will incorporate principles of science, engineering, market-based mechanisms such as economics, social studies, and marketing. Our pilot program will be focused on composting. Composting addresses many key climate and sustainability initiatives such as Healthy Soils, and SB1383 which requires communities to divert organic waste from landfill. Composting contributes to creating quality environments for neighborhoods by diverting waste and providing finished compost for community gardens, addressing climate issues such as drought, providing carbon sequestration benefits, and environmental resilience. Composting is an accessible project that can be deployed at all grade levels as well as to the special education community. The project can be tailored to include more complicated scientific and market assessments or more simplified processes and basic outreach for community engagement. Our pilot program would be launched in two LA area schools, one regular education and one special education. The program would address the composting process from beginning to end. This includes collecting organic waste such as food scraps and landscaping trimmings, administering, observing, and testing the composting process and engaging with the local communities for compost giveaways.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Los Angeles suffers from persistent inequity when it comes to climate solutions and social justice. We aim to target these programs in communities which are often left behind or who do not get to fully participate in either the formation of solutions or the final benefits. We envision our pilot program to demonstrate how to engage communities at both the beginning and end of the project through the diversion of organic residuals and the final end-use of compost. The design of the solution is dependent on the engagement of the surrounding communities. The science and management of the compost will be focused on making a safe, nutrient-dense final product for communities to use. Students will learn about the total life cycle of the composting process and consider social and market dynamics when designing and implementing the project. The pilot results will create the foundation for more complex projects in future programs.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

A crucial goal of the pilot program is to obtain feedback from teachers, students, and relevant organizations as to the usefulness, design, implementation of the program. 1) Strength of student engagement. We will collect data on the percentage of students who complete the project and will hold focus groups with students to ask for feedback on the program's design and implementation. 2) Teacher feedback. We will design and administer a survey to obtain feedback on the degree to which the project taught students concepts surrounding bioscience, climate change and social engagement. We will also hold focus group discussions with teachers to obtain feedback on the design and implementation of the project. 3) We will hold a focus group with organizations such as cities and nonprofits to understand the degree to which the student projects helped further the community development goals of their organization. We will also obtain their feedback on the design and implementation of the program

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 120

Indirect Impact: 5,000