Identifying Problems and Gaps with Research, then Addressing Social Challenges with Technology [Brigade Congress 2022]

This is the place to find notes, slides, and discussions about this session at Brigade Congress 2022.

Identifying Problems and Gaps with Research, then Addressing Social Challenges with Technology

Presented by: Nicole Dan and Caroline Nickerson
Date/Time: Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 11:45am-1:00pm

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  • Both In-person and Virtually: Inside TechArtista in the Main Hall area

Breakout Session Resources:

:notebook: Shared Notes on Google Docs
:high_brightness: Slide Deck (after event)
:movie_camera: Recording (after event)


Florida Community Innovation (FCI) is proposing a session about their unique model of collaborating with undergraduate and graduate students for validated research identifying social problems and resource gaps, which are then addressed with civic tech projects led by young professional volunteers and paid student workers.

FCI’s flagship project is the Florida Community Resource Map (detailed here: The Map is an interactive, public-facing portal through which Floridians can quickly and conveniently locate key resources available to them, including but not limited to: healthcare, food and nutrition, employment resources, and more. Through a partnership with the United Way of Northwest FL and the Central Florida Foundation, FCI was able to gain access to survey data on hundreds of community resources to input into the tool.

The Map, currently on its second release, is informed by projects run by students from the University of Michigan and American University (showcased here: These students evaluated resource gaps in the state, supported the need for a digital resource map, and helped assess the needs of social workers, who can use the Map on behalf of beneficiaries. Insights from these academic research projects are being incorporated into the Map’s upcoming release (which is informed by best practices of human-centered design and is a project largely shouldered by paid student workers from the University of Florida) and FCI’s daily operations.

In this session, we would lead participants through lessons learned of coordinating and integrating research and linked technical projects, the balance of operations to help underserved communities while creating an impactful learning experience for students, and brainstorming of other potential applications for this model, beyond addressing beneficiary resource access.

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