Recommendation: EAR should explore new mechanisms for geochronology laboratories that will service the geochronology requirements of the broad suite of research opportunities while sustaining technical advances in methodologies. The approaches may involve coordination of multiple facilities and investment in service facilities and may differ for distinct geochronology systems.
Partnerships and Coordination
Agency partnerships led by EAR will continue to be essential for attaining many of the research objectives identified in this report. Well-managed partnerships can foster broadly based research communities, leverage limited resources, and promote fruitful synergies. Among the highlighted research opportunities, the Early Earth opportunities overlap with mission objectives of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and research activities supported by the U.S. Department of Energy; the study of Earth tectonics is enabled by measurements from NASA and U.S. Department of Defense–supported satellites, and studies of surficial processes and coastal dynamics address problems that are at the core of the missions of the USGS, NOAA, and U.S. Forest Service. Continued efforts to develop and maintain these partnerships are key to maximizing the impact of EAR funding.
Training the Next Generation and diversifying the Researcher Community
Capitalizing on the research opportunities set out in this report will require researchers with the skills and knowledge to advance the science, but attracting new students and providing the appropriate training remain major challenges in the United States. Increasing the participation of historically underrepresented groups is an equally important and directly related challenge, and there remains an uneven minority exposure to science and math as well as a significant science knowledge disparity between poor and affluent students. The EAR division is working to enhance diversity, education, and knowledge transfer through several outreach efforts, and these efforts can continue to be enhanced. There are several important ways that EAR might do so, including establishing Advanced Placement Earth science courses in high schools, promoting early awareness of the Earth sciences on college campuses, developing place-based research and education programs that incorporate indigenous landscapes and ways of thinking, and fostering the scientist communicator.