[Esip-discovery] NSF EarthCube program

Ruth Duerr rduerr at nsidc.org
Wed Jul 27 19:21:02 EDT 2011

I attended the first of two EarthCube telecon's that NSF is holding prior to the Charette described below.  Here is my summary of that telecon:

The EarthCube program is a very fast track data-related program the goal of which is to move Earth science forward.  It is part of the Cyberinfrastructure Framework for the 21st Century (CIF21).  It isn't aimed at data curation per se, rather aimed at making data more available and useful in an interdisciplinary sense.  The word "inter-workability" - meaning that the data is available, discoverable, and usable by a broad spectrum of users - was used.  There have been 6 NSF reports on this topic which they advise folks to read (there is an EarthCube specific web site at  http://www.nsf.gov/geo/earthcube/index.jsp ).  The gist of the program seems to be based on a recognition that science has moved into a new realm where data is key, as is the need for multi-disciplinary interoperability.  NSF has two goals for the program:

- develop a common data infrastructure (where they mean data access and use)
- develop a community governance model 

They need these to be "inclusive, responsive, and agile."

This is a very fast track program.  This fall there will be a "charette(sp?)" - a community meeting supporting both in person and remote participation, where all the ideas everyone has had about how to move forward will be aired and a few picked to move forward as Eager awards (in each of the two areas above), which are $300K each to be awarded roughly 2-3 weeks after the Charette.  Roughly 6 months later, sandpits will be created (proposals of roughly $1-2 Million) for demonstrations of some of the Eager results, etc.; thereafter (at roughly the 1.5 month mark) community agreed to approaches will be selected and built - each center being roughly a $10-15 Million investment in the short term.

In the meantime, they are requesting white papers on proposed ways forward on their two goal areas.  

I think the Discovery cluster is already working on the beginnings of some of that infrastructure - the discovery piece to be exact.  I really think this cluster should submit a white paper on the promise of the technologies we collectively are working on along with a pitch for our governance process.  What do others think?  Can we pull a short white paper together?  Let me know if you are interested...

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