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NCSA to take part in NSF-funded EarthCube Office

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) are proud to announce that the Center will be partnering with the University of California San Diego and the San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC) on the newly announced EarthCube Office (ECO) award. This office will be tasked with advancing innovative geoscience research, and will feature collaboration with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California – San Diego, and the Federation for Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP).

Kenton McHenry, Deputy Director of the NCSA Scientific Software and Applications Division, will be a Co-Principal Investigator for the effort, which has been awarded $5.9 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).McHenry and his team will provide their expertise in supporting software and data needs across scientific disciplines in areas such as geoscience, ecology, phenomics, and agriculture as well as experiences in developing components of NSF’s envisioned Research Cyberinfrastructure.

“NCSA has become a hub of projects around earth science bringing together numerous activities within geoscience, biology, phenomics, and agriculture, providing tools and data in support of critical research questions around topics such as earth casting and ecological forecasting,” said McHenry. “Recent additions to this portfolio include a new collaboration with the NGA to make Blue Waters the world’s most powerful dedicated non-classified geospatial system in the world along with this recent award of the new EarthCube office supporting the sharing and usage of geoscience data.”

All-told, the NSF-funded EarthCube effort aims to accelerate discoveries within Earth sciences, allowing researchers to broaden access to the data they need and gain new insights at the intersection of different data sources through with the help of data management frameworks, advanced computing, software, and analytics.

Read the full press release from SDSC here:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego and its partners a three-year, $5.9 million grant to host the EarthCube Office as part of the ongoing NSF-funded EarthCube program, aimed at transforming geoscience research by creating an advanced cyberinfrastructure to further access, sharing, visualization, and analysis of geosciences data and resources.

“EarthCube has accomplished so much for the geosciences in the past seven years”, said Dr. Eva Zanzerkia, Program Director at the National Science Foundation. “With the new EarthCube Office led by SDSC promoting a strong collaboration between geoscientists and computer scientists, EarthCube will continue to improve data discovery and access for geoscientists. This will help us reach EarthCube’s goal to advance the forefront of geosciences research.”

SDSC will serve as the lead institution for the grant, with Christine Kirkpatrick, director of SDSC’s Research Data Services division, as the Principal Investigator for the new initiative.

“The EarthCube Office, or ECO, will build on the foundational work accomplished by the previous offices while expanding EarthCube’s reach across geosciences disciplines,” said Kirkpatrick.

“Our team is proud to be part of this initiative that NSF has nurtured, whose important outgrowths include the Council on Data Facilities (CDF) and GeoCODES. We will develop outreach and education activities for researchers interested in acquiring the skills needed to ensure their data practices are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable (FAIR) and beyond. Our team looks forward to working with the geosciences community to deliver programmatic support and resources that are responsive to community needs. We will support EarthCube’s tradition of strong, community governance, clear strategic priorities, and ensure the office is outcome and action-oriented.”

Earlier this year, SDSC announced that its Data Initiatives group in Research Data Services would host the first GO FAIR office in the U.S. as part of the division’s role in the U.S. National Data Service (NDS) initiative. The Data Initiatives team is also part of the NSF’s Regional Big Data Innovation Hubs for the west, co-hosted with UC Berkeley and University of Washington, and now in its fourth year.

Co-PIs for the new EarthCube Office award include Catherine Constable, Distinguished Professor of Geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Erin Robinson, executive director of the Federation for Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP); and Kenton McHenry, a principal research scientist and Deputy Director of the Scientific Software & Applications Division at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Co-PI Rebecca Koskela, previously executive director of the NSF-funded Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) and a member of the EarthCube Leadership Council, will be the EarthCube Office’s first executive director.

“The EarthCube Leadership Council has been requesting that an Executive Director be added to the EarthCube office,” said Rebecca Koskela. “I look forward to enabling the Leadership Council to spend their time on the strategic direction of EarthCube.”

“Increasing development and access to technology innovations, and nurturing a community of technically-savvy and engaged geoscientists will build capacity in the geoscience research ecosystem,” said Constable, former co-chair of EarthCube’s external advisory group. “This includes ‘bridging’ efforts to facilitate opportunities for scientists who might not otherwise interact with EarthCube.”

The EarthCube initiative started in 2011 to encourage geoscience researchers and technologists to work collaboratively to harness the data revolution. ECO will be responsible for supporting EarthCube’s core organizational units and governance including the Leadership Council, Technology & Architecture Committee, Science Committee, Council of Data Facilities, and others as described in the Charter.

ECO will also facilitate the development and sharing of resources, help coordinate collaborations on high-impact interdisciplinary projects, and collect relevant cyberinfrastructure and tools in the GeoCODES Registry while raising awareness and exposure to this and other resources. ECO is working with the current office on the transition, with ECO slated to officially open October 1, 2019.

About SDSC

Located on the University of California San Diego campus, SDSC is considered a leader in data-intensive computing and cyberinfrastructure, providing resources, services, and expertise to the national research community, including industry and academia. Cyberinfrastructure refers to an accessible, integrated network of computer-based resources and expertise, focused on accelerating scientific inquiry and discovery. SDSC supports hundreds of multidisciplinary programs spanning a wide variety of domains, from earth sciences and biology to astrophysics, bioinformatics, and health IT. SDSC’s petascale Comet supercomputer is a key resource within the National Science Foundation’s XSEDE (eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) program.

Media Contact:

Jan Zverina, SDSC Communications, 858 534-5111 or

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