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On-call Scientists Hotline

Talk with an On-call Scientist

Are you a scientist, engineer, or health professional interested in learning more about how you can volunteer your time and expertise to support human rights projects?

As On-call Scientists approaches its tenth anniversary, AAAS is adding a new service to its unique volunteer initiative. In addition to the scientist, engineer, and health professional volunteers - who now number over 1,550 in 75 countries – human rights practitioners can now consult with a vanguard team of scientists and engineers who are available to answer one-off questions quickly, in real time. For example, some NGOs that rely heavily on digital documentation from conflicts often need urgent help identifying the content of photos or videos. Other common requests from practitioners involve identifying environmental hazards and conducting interviews with trauma survivors. For human rights practitioners working in these and many other areas, early consultation with experts in relevant scientific fields can help clarify the project’s priorities, refine the planned methods for documenting human rights conditions, and identify opportunities to apply new tools.  

To respond to these and similarly urgent requests, we have created an On-call Scientists Hotline made up of especially experienced On-call Scientist volunteers   each with an exemplary record of contributing to human rights questions in a wide breadth of fields. Members of the Hotline will:   

  • Answer one-off questions from human rights organizations, quickly and accurately, within the scope of their expertise;
  • Respect the human rights practitioners’ time especially when they are responding to a crisis; and
  • Refer broader, longer-term research questions or needs for additional input from other scientific fields back to AAAS staff so they can identify a longer-term partner or team of volunteers for the project from the On-call Scientists roster.

From time to time, Hotline members may also be invited to participate in brainstorming sessions with human rights organizations that seek to address complicated questions and potential research ideas. The outcome of these sessions will be a set of next steps for On-call Scientists and the human rights organization. Members of the Hotline team will also be invited to advise AAAS staff on ways we can improve the range of services AAAS provides to human rights through On-call Scientists.

Members of the Hotline are:

  • Steve Atkin (geochemistry, environmental impacts of mining)
  • Mary Gray (statistics and survey design)
  • Krish Jayachandran (agroecology and international development)
  • Arthur Kendall (political psychology, social and behavioral research methods)
  • Lasonja Kennedy (health sciences and public health)
  • Jennifer Knaack (diagnosis of exposure to chemical weapons and food/environmental toxins)
  • Roberto Marin (forensic chemist, toxicology, IoT, oil and gas)
  • Tal Simmons (forensic anthropology specializing in human rights field research)
  • Judith Tanur (statistics and sociology, specializing in survey research)
  • Sandra Zakowski (psychology, specializing in trauma, violence, and refugees)

Do you have a question for the Hotline now? Send it, along with your contact information, here. Your question will be shared with the Hotline members, who will respond by contacting you directly.