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ESIP’s Participation in New SDSC-hosted EarthCube Office

We are excited to announce that ESIP is part of a team led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC-San Diego selected to host the EarthCube office for it's final three years. In the spirit of full transparency, I want to share what this means for ESIP and what it does not mean.

ESIP has interacted with EarthCube directly and indirectly over the last seven years and there have been lessons learned along the way. The most important lesson learned in past engagements with EarthCube was that ESIP's value is the combination of the community and the platform of coordinating services. In this iteration of interaction, we are taking advantage of this strength.  I am very excited about the potential to engage more NSF-funded domain science researchers in the ESIP community and the richness this will bring to our community.

As we move forward, ESIP is NOT the EarthCube office. The EarthCube office is now officially leveraging existing ESIP partnerships that have developed over time. ESIP is a subaward to SDSC with a focus on three areas:

  1. Objective: Create bridges between scientist and EarthCube projects through Data FAIR outreach at AGU, GSA and EGU. Data FAIRS were started by ESIP & the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in 2015 with the purpose of engaging the broader Earth science research community on data topics. Each year they have grown in popularity. The Data FAIR at AGU Fall Meeting provides researchers with opportunities to engage with informatics experts familiar with their scientific domain and learn about skills and techniques that will help further their research and make their data and software open and FAIR. The Data FAIR activities include Town Halls, Workshops at the AGU Booth, and a reference desk hosted by the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) and staffed with experts from the Earth and space science informatics community and demos located at Exhibit Hall. ESIP will coordinate EarthCube community contributions to the Data FAIR. In addition, we are working to extend Data FAIRs to GSA, AMS, Ocean Sciences and EGU. These are terrific opportunities for Earth science informatics projects across the community to be exposed to thousands of attendees and to elevate the status of data professionals.
  2. Objective: Embed EarthCube technical activities in the ESIP Forums, both meetings and virtual collaboration areas. ESIP will remain ESIP, but EarthCube will provide some support for using ESIP spaces. EarthCube can use ESIP meetings & Clusters as venues for coordinating – ESIP has a history of being used as a gathering spot of convenience. The award specifically supports side workshops or collaboration area development for EarthCube community as space is available.In addition, ESIP will provide support for the Council for Data Facilities (CDF). ESIP has been the meeting place for the Council for Data Facilities since its inception. ESIP will take on the staff coordination. This will allow us to leverage existing federal partners more effectively.
  3. Objective: Extend EarthCube outreach to other technical communities. Because ESIP is a nexus, we extend the reach of all of our sponsoring organizations. ESIP will ensure that technical decisions are informed by larger Earth Science informatics community input. ESIP will support EarthCube by creating connections to additional technical communities. ESIP has a history of being the nexus of NASA, NOAA and USGS Earth and environmental science data and informatics community. This connection between ESIP and EarthCube will allow EarthCube to be represented at NASA, NOAA and USGS-specific data meetings. In addition, EarthCube will benefit from links with NumFocus, the Open Geospatial Consortium and the regional Big Data Hubs that are already in place.

Community engagement is hard work sustained over time. We are building on and benefiting from many who have worked to sustain EarthCube and its community over the last seven years and I hope they will continue to stay engaged. I particularly would like to highlight the UCAR team, who most recently hosted the EarthCube office, led by Dr. Mohan Ramamurthy. In addition, the NSF program managers, Dr. Eva Zanzerkia, Dr. Amy Walton and Dr. Cliff Jacobs (now emeritus) have championed this from inside NSF.

If you have questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to email me directly, erinrobinson at

Looking forward!


** SDSC Press Release ** NSF Awards SDSC and Partners $5.9 Million to Host EarthCube Office – Three-year Grant to Focus on Advancing Geoscience Research Collaborations

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 OceanographyEarth Science Information Partners (ESIPNational 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 2011to 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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