Participant Registration

 

The Participant Information and Consent Form

Project Title: Scientists work with communities to improve urban microclimate

You are invited to participate in a research project being conducted by researchers in RMIT University and University of New South Wales. Please read this sheet carefully and be confident that you understand its contents before deciding whether to participate. If you have any questions about the project, please ask one of the investigators.

Who is involved in this research project? Why is it being conducted?

This research aims to involve citizens to measure urban heat island, overheating, and local climate change, providing the data required for citizens to understand, mitigate and adapt to extreme heat; and for policy makers to predict future health and energy needs and plan the urban built environment and open spaces. Importantly through data collection and participation, citizens will be empowered to respond to extreme heat through an understanding of influential factors.

This project, administered by RMIT University in collaboration with University of New South Wales, is one of the successful grants announced by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos to mobilise a league of enthusiastic citizen scientists to assist Australia’s leading universities and scientific organisations with their research. This research being undertaken by academic staff in the school of Property, Construction and Project Management (PCPM), RMIT University, has been approved by the RMIT Human Research Ethics Committee.

What is the project about? What are the questions being addressed?

Uncomfortable outdoor environments and extreme heat adversely affect public health, particularly that of the elderly who are more vulnerable to heat (Loughnan et al, 2010; Nicholls et al, 2008). Extreme heat events have killed more Australians in the past 200 years than any other climate hazard, and have caused major economic disruptions (NCCARF,2013). The four-day heat wave in Melbourne in January 2009 resulted in 374 excess deaths, which mainly comprised seniors and people with cardio-vascular problems (National Climate centre, 2009). Projected increases in heat-related mortality and associated morbidity will place pressure on emergency and health services. A number of mitigation strategies such as green spaces, cool materials are proved to be ameliorating the overheating effect and improving the health outcomes.

This project will design infrastructure to measure urban heat island, overheating, and local climate change, providing the data required for citizens to understand, mitigate and adapt to extreme heat; and for policy makers to predict future health and energy needs and plan the urban built environment and open spaces. Importantly through data collection and participation, citizens will be empowered to respond to extreme heat through an understanding of influential factors.

If I agree to participate, what will I be required to do?

If you agree to participate, you will be required to perform outdoor microclimatic measurements (temperature, humidity, wind speed etc) using portable handheld devices. We will supply the necessary measurement devices. Training videos will be made available through the website prior to the measurement.

You will be invited to come to a selected neighbourhood/precinct in your council on a specific day/time during summer. You will be required to participate in some experiments developed by the researchers. You will then record the information on a data collection sheet prepared by the researchers.

What are the possible risks or disadvantages?

There are no major risks or disadvantages associated with the participation in this study. However, as the measurements will be conducted outside on hot days during the summer, this may cause discomfort for some participants. Necessary precautions for outdoor activities such as applying sunscreen, drinking water, wearing hat etc. should be taken. If the temperature exceeds certain level the activity for that day will be cancelled as per the extreme heat policy.

Your anonymity will be protected. No personal information will be collected from you.

What are the benefits associated with participation?

Your participation will assist the research and provide necessary information on the microclimatic conditions of your council. You will gain knowledge about the various design features and materials that impact the local microclimate of your neighbourhood and be aware of the social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change. You will be empowered and motivated to implement appropriate mitigation techniques to improve the microclimate in your home or neighbourhood

What will happen to the information I provide?

All the participants will be able to view real time temperature and humidity data collected in the second stage of the project through the mobile app. Other than that, your responses will only be used to derive results for research and academic publications. Personal information will not be disclosed. All primary research data and research data sets will be kept securely at RMIT University for five years from the date of publication before being destroyed. If you are interested in knowing the outcome of the study, please contact the researchers using the e mail address provided.

What are my rights as a participant?

Your participation in this research study is completely voluntary. The followings are you rights as a participant:

  1. The right to withdraw from participation at any time
  2. The right to request that any recording cease
  3. The right to have any questions answered at any time.

Whom should I contact if I have any questions?

Should you have clarifications and require further information regarding this research project, please do not hesitate to contact the chief investigator using the details below:

Associate Professor Priyadarsini Rajagopalan

School of Property, Construction and Project Management

E mail: Priyadarsini.rajagopalan@rmit.edu.au

Ph.99252293

If you have any concerns about your participation in this project, which you do not wish to discuss with the researchers, then you can contact the Ethics Officer, Research Integrity, Governance and Systems, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476V  VIC  3001. Tel: (03) 9925 2251 or email human.ethics@rmit.edu.au