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Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review (2017)

Chapter: Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
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B

Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025

This appendix contains recommendations reproduced verbatim from the 2016 Portfolio Review Committee report Investments in Critical Capabilities in Geospace Science 2016-20251 for the convenience of the reader. These are not recommendations of the assessment committee. Acronyms are defined in Appendix E.

CAPABILITIES FOR A VITAL PROFESSION

Recommendation 4.1. The FDSS and CAREER programs should be continued as resources allow.

Recommendation 4.2. The AGS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship should be continued as resources allow. All such funded programs should keep metrics on the diversity of the participants and report them annually.

Recommendation 4.3. The CISM summer school and the ISR summer school should be continued, periodically assessed and competed for renewal. Metrics on the diversity of the student participants should be kept and reported annually.

Recommendation 4.4. GS support for graduate and advanced undergraduate students to attend the GEM, CEDAR and SHINE summer workshops should be continued as resources allow. Metrics on the diversity of the student participants receiving support should be kept for each workshop and reported annually.

Recommendation 4.5. NSF support for REU programs in solar and space physics should be encouraged. The SW REDI program should be continued as resources allow. Metrics on the diversity of participants should be kept on all such funded programs and reported annually.

Recommendation 4.6. The GS and the GS community should be in the vanguard of NSF initiatives to promote engagement of women and under-served populations in all aspects of geospace science from school to research proposal writing to leadership in GS activities.

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1 National Science Foundation, 2016, Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025, Geospace Section of the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Science, February 5, https://www.nsf.gov/geo/adgeo/geospace-review/geospace-portfolio-reviewfinal-rpt-2016.pdf.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
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Recommendation 4.7. Where possible, the first employment step of geospace PhD students should be tracked to determine and demonstrate how the skilled workforce is being utilized. This information could be entered in a data-information box in the final grant report.

Recommendation 4.8. The GS should continue its CubeSat program at the funding level recommended in Sections 6.6 and 9.3. Given the educational and engineering successes of the CubeSat program, the GS should cultivate partnerships with the NSF Engineering and Education Directorates to broaden NSF investment in CubeSat programs and expand their reach across NSF.

Recommendation 4.9. Continue modest investments in projects and programs that involve teacher research and citizen science and inform public interest in geospace and solar science.

Recommendation 4.10. The GS should work with the NSF office that maintains “Survey of Earned Doctorates” to implement immediately the category “Solar and Space Physics” (or another name to be determined) into the Survey.

GS CORE AND STRATEGIC GRANTS PROGRAMS

Recommendation 6.1. A collective budget for core programs should be apportioned among AER, MAG and STR according to proposal pressure (number and quality) without fixed budgets for each discipline. Similar principles should be applied to the targeted programs.

Recommendation 6.2. The PRC recommends that GS continue support of multi-scale physics-based and data-assimilation models with an emphasis on integrated science and the coupling of models. Opportunities for model development and implementation can come from core and targeted research as well as the Space Weather and GCP programs, the CCMC, and the recommended Innovations & Vitality line (Section 7.4).

Recommendation 6.3. AER/MAG/STR grants research also should continue to serve as a technology incubator, funding modest-scale projects in experimental instrument development with a focus on new scientific capabilities. As these development efforts mature, their funding source should transition from the core programs to programs such as the recommended Innovation and Vitality (Section 7.4.1) and DASI (Section 7.4.3) programs and the CubeSat program. The GS should also encourage instrument development projects to seek funding through the NSF-wide MRI and MREFC programs when appropriate (Section 8.1).

Recommendation 6.4. The PRC recommends that GS maintain its Core Research Program as a Priority 1 effort, with a collective budget for all three programs not less than the current level. The core programs should conduct innovative data analysis and exploitation, theory, modeling, development and application of new instrumentation, measurement techniques and laboratory experiments aligned with the core goals of each program, as articulated in following subsections.

Recommendation 6.5. The GS should continue to encourage the geospace science community to participate in leveraged, targeted research programs, but caution is advised when the leveraged funding is derived from GS core research programs. In committing core grants funds to these targeted opportunities, GS PMs should guard against scope creep over time that tends to diminish un-solicited core funds available for competition.

Recommendation 6.6. The GS should continue to support the three targeted research programs and their summer workshops (as also recommended in Section 4.8) and evaluate their continuing alignment with GS goals at semi-decadal intervals using a Senior Review process (Section 6.7).

Recommendation 6.7. The GS should encourage multidisciplinary research that bridges the traditional program areas within the Section, in particular, across the three targeted grants programs. Over the next decade and as

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×

appropriate projects emerge, a portion of the current budget for targeted grants programs should migrate into the Integrative Geospace Science grants programs (Section 6.5). (See Chapter 9 regarding provisional budget recommendations.)

Recommendation 6.8. The GS should evaluate the utility of proposal deadlines in its targeted grants programs and determine whether proposal deadlines may be stimulating an artificial inflation in proposal submissions for the limited funding available in the targeted programs, resulting in lower proposal success rates as suggested in an experiment undertaken by the Division of Earth Sciences. If proposal deadlines do result in inflated numbers of proposal submissions, then the GS should charge its Committees of Visitors to evaluate the merit of retaining proposal deadlines in its targeted programs.

Recommendation 6.9. The GS should encourage and fund AER research projects, in collaboration with the MAG community, for early development of DASI concepts for diagnosing upper atmospheric, ionospheric and magnetospheric processes, as well as the development of self-consistently coupled physics-based models. As the DASI concepts mature, their funding source should migrate to the GS Facilities program (Section 7.4.3).

Recommendation 6.10. The CEDAR grants program should continue to support community-defined “Grand Challenge Workshops”, preferably jointly with the GEM Grants program.

Recommendation 6.11. The GS should encourage and fund MAG research projects, in collaboration with the AER community, for early development of DASI concepts for diagnosing upper atmospheric, ionospheric and magnetospheric processes. As the concepts mature, their funding source should migrate to the GS Facilities program.

Recommendation 6.12. The GEM grants program should continue to support community-defined research challenges and, when appropriate, “Grand Challenge Workshops” jointly with the CEDAR Grants program.

Recommendation 6.13. STR grants programs should continue to support analyses of important synoptic and high-resolution observations derived from observatories operated external to GS.

Recommendation 6.14. The STR program manager should continue to meet regularly with managers of the various ground-based telescopes in order to coordinate priorities and improve communication. Such efforts must continue in order to minimize any unintended consequences of altering the priorities of data collection at these facilities.

Recommendation 6.15. To reap the full potential of DKIST, the AST and AGS Divisions should explore modes of collaboration that best support science from this new facility.

Recommendation 6.16. The PRC recommends the establishment of a distinct funding line for basic space weather research that supports improved capabilities in space weather specification and forecasting, and sustain a robust space weather and climatology program that invests in “predictive space weather science” and activities that “optimize the use of research to address national needs.”

Recommendation 6.17. The PRC generally endorses a continuation of the current NASA/NSF Collaborative Modeling under Space Weather. However, well in advance of each new request for proposals to this program, the GS PM for SWR should determine if the NASA call for proposals on Strategic Capabilities continues to be aligned with GS program goals for SWR. If the alignment is consistent with GS program goals, then continuation at appropriate funding levels should be sustained. Additionally, over time, funds in this line should be made available for other strategic space weather focused capabilities.

Recommendation 6.18. The PRC recommends that GS maintain its support to CCMC as a Priority 1 effort in the Facilities Program in order to continue and enhance efforts in Integrative Geospace Science.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×

Recommendation 6.19. The PRC recommends that GS use the proposed Innovation and Vitality Program (Section 7.4.1) to open funding paths for scientifically viable space weather observations and platforms that could serve demonstrated real-time IGS monitoring needs.

Recommendation 6.20. The PRC endorses NSF’s critical role in contributing to national efforts for coordinated space-weather preparedness, and recommends that the GS section pursue opportunities for collaboration between agencies which can be used to further NSF goals to “innovate for society,” as well as Decadal goals related to DRIVE.

Recommendation 6.21. The Integrative Geospace Science program should also be the home of a new Grand Challenge Projects program.

Recommendation 6.22. The PRC recommends that NASA/NSF explore best practices for collaboration on Grand Challenge Projects, perhaps along the lines of the aforementioned NASA/NSF Collaborative Modeling under Space Weather. The broadening of these collaborative efforts embraces the holistic scope of the Decadal Survey.

Recommendation 6.23. The CubeSat program should include additional design reviews and oversight aimed at achieving mission success and be evaluated for impact and effectiveness in order to justify the investment. This oversight should be implemented in a way that does not undermine the high-risk high-payoff benefits of CubeSat projects.

Recommendation 6.24. CubeSat missions should contribute their data to a science data center or other curated archive.

Recommendation 6.25. NSF GS should provide an annual, tabulated set of detailed metrics, documenting the accomplishments and challenges of the program in terms of training, research, technology development, and contributions to geospace science and/or space weather forecasting.

Recommendation 6.26. In this budget-constrained environment GS should continue to invest in the CubeSat program with an enhanced focus on science/strategic instrument development and less focus on the satellite bus and system development and strive for greater scientific value from this investment. GS should also continue its collaborative and partnering efforts with NASA, DoD, and international partners and investigate partnering opportunities with industry.

Recommendation 6.27. It is the PRC’s view that additional collaboration with other Directorates and NSF Offices, whose activities align with education, engineering and multidisciplinary efforts (e.g., NSF Office of Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities) are needed for the GS initiative in CubeSats to continue as a vibrant cross-Foundation effort and to allow the GS section to augment NSF’s CubeSat program to support “two new starts per year,” as recommended by the Decadal Survey. Short of such whole-of-Foundation support for this frontier effort, the PRC must recommend a rebalancing of the GS CubeSat effort to focus on science and with perhaps fewer missions than envisioned by the Decadal Survey.

Recommendation 6.28. Beyond a level of M&O support by the GS Facilities Program to be described in Chapter 7, proposals for research activities associated with facilities should be peer reviewed separately from facilities proposals and evaluated against the same scientific standards as any competitive research proposal conducting the same research with data from the facility.

Recommendation 6.29. The GS should charge a senior review committee to conduct an interim, semi-decadal review of the GS Core and Strategic Grants Programs. A separate senior review of the GS Facilities Program is also recommended, as described in Chapter 7.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×

Recommendation 6.30. Administration and decisions on the structure of the Senior Review process should reside with the GS Head and Program PMs.

GS FACILITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Recommendation 7.1. A facility should exhibit the following functions:

  1. Serve a community of users well beyond a single PI or small group of investigators, i.e., at least national but may be international;
  2. Be operated in such a way as to ensure responsiveness to the needs of the research community to sustain international-class scientific productivity; thus each facility is expected to have both an advisory group and a user forum, with membership not selected by facility management;
  3. Operate for more than one award cycle and typically substantially longer if warranted by the Senior Review process (see Section 7.8);
  4. Make all data openly available and accessible in a timely fashion according to a published data distribution and dissemination plan;
  5. Develop and deliver an effective long-term plan to maintain the facility at an international cutting-edge level;
  6. Carry out a limited amount of science funded from the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) contract (see Section 7.5.2);
  7. Support the deployment and operations of co-located instruments with the full costs covered by each co-located instrument Principal Investigator;
  8. Deliver substantial education, outreach, and diversity programs; and
  9. Provide cost-effective operations.

Recommendation 7.2. The ISR facility at Sondrestrom should be terminated, and science performed at Sondrestrom should be covered by participation, after peer review, in EISCAT and EISCAT-Svalbard for cusp studies.

Recommendation 7.3. Ancillary instrumentation for geoscience studies and their operational costs at Sondrestrom should be budgeted and decided by a peer-review process from the Core or Targeted GS programs.

Recommendation 7.4. The GS should investigate costs and contractual arrangements for U.S. investigators’ access to the existing EISCAT facilities and, more importantly, to the planned EISCAT 3D facility (See section 7.4.2 for further details).

Recommendation 7.5. The GS should reduce its M&O support for the Arecibo ISR to $1.1M/year; i.e., to a proportional pro rata level approximately commensurate with the fractional NSF GS proposal pressure and usage for frontier research.

Recommendation 7.6. Ancillary instrumentation (including the extensive optics instrumentation) for geoscience studies and their operational costs at Arecibo should all be budgeted and decided in the peer-review process.

Recommendation 7.7. Costs of running the HF heater at Arecibo should be budgeted as a pay-as-you-go system, and decided in the peer-review process.

Recommendation 7.8. Funding for RISR-N should be decoupled from the funding for any other facility in order to have accurate cost analysis available.

Recommendation 7.9. The future location and use of the PFISR radar for research should be determined by peer review by the time the EISCAT-3D begins operations. Peer review should determine the value proposition for

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×

continuing to use the radar’s capabilities at its current site or if they might be better used for new, frontier research if the radar were to be installed at another location.

Recommendation 7.10. Investment is required to extend the lifetime of Millstone Hill until such time as it may be replaced by a lower cost option, and/or at another location.

Recommendation 7.11. The JRO PI should apply to the recommended, competitive Innovation and Vitality Program (Section 7.4.1) for support to install needed upgrades to bring the ISR system up to modern radio science standards.

Recommendation 7.12. NSF should develop a consistent policy and procedure for supporting the M&O of the ancillary experiments at ISR facility sites. Normally the M&O costs should be the responsibility of each ancillary instrument PI.

Recommendation 7.13. AMPERE I/II should continue to be funded at the current levels.

Recommendation 7.14. NSF involvement in CCMC should continue at the present level and its funding focus should be on the provision of scientific expertise and model capabilities not supported by NASA, e.g. ITM and atmosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere coupling.

Recommendation 7.15. SuperMAG should continue to be funded at the current level.

Recommendation 7.16. The GS should assess if the era may now exist wherein greater scientific synergies and optimization of operations could be obtained if all GS-sponsored magnetometers were managed as a single array. Such an array could thus evolve into a Class 2 facility (see Section 7.4.3 for more details on DASI).

Recommendation 7.17. The U.S. SuperDARN groups should determine an optimal equilibrium between local research and community service, and optimize the efficiency of their M&O.

Recommendation 7.18. The participating members of the CRRL group should seek peer-reviewed funding individually or collectively from the Core or Targeted GS programs.

Recommendation 7.19. If the CTC aspires to develop innovative instrument capabilities and concepts for a new GS facility, e.g., an Observatory for Atmosphere Space Interaction Studies (OASIS), it should apply for separate funding from the proposed Innovation and Vitality Program (see Section 7.4.1).

Recommendation 7.20. The M&O and science resources for LISN should be funded via peer review under the recommended “DASI” line as outlined in Section 7.4.3.

Recommendation 7.21. A central fund to support innovation and vitality for GS facilities should be established. It is envisaged that this fund would support several different activities. These should include, but not be limited to:

  • Major repairs and renovation of an existing facility.
  • Funding for developing software and/or hardware that will significantly improve the performance of currently-funded Class 1 and 2 facilities.
  • The development of new instrumentation, probably already designed and developed from research funds, into a capability where it could operate as a facility; this could include operation of a prototype.
  • The development of numerical algorithms and methodologies (independent of science objectives) to improve the efficacy and accuracy of computational models for community use.
  • The development of facilities—including models, data provision and measurement capabilities—to make them operational in real time, if a compelling scientific need for real-time capabilities becomes evident.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×

Recommendation 7.22. Funds from the proposed Innovation and Vitality Program should be competed every 1-2 years depending on the level of funding available. It is expected that some awards might extend over 1-3 years. Given the diversity of the possible applications, a panel review is recommended so that the broader requirements of the GS community can be represented.

Recommendation 7.23. The GS should solicit proposals from the US GS community to form a US EISCAT consortium that would be funded by a block grant from NSF, initially to join EISCAT as Affiliate and eventually as an Associate. The initial Affiliate status would allow the consortium to gain experience with EISCAT before making a five-year commitment as an Associate and to develop a deeper understanding of EISCAT system capabilities when EISCAT-3D becomes operational. Upon attaining Associate status, the consortium should be tasked with (1) transfer of the EISCAT annual membership fee to EISCAT-3D and (2) development and administration of a proposal and panel review process for the selection of US EISCAT users. The consortium should develop procedures for cost-effective grant administration that minimizes the encumbered overhead expenses of multiple member institutions.

Recommendation 7.24. The GS should create a “DASI” fund with two purposes: (i) to develop and build new “small” instrumentation suitable for deployment in a DASI network and (ii) to provide M&O funds to maintain the network once created.

Recommendation 7.25. The initial opportunity for awards, to be evaluated by an ad hoc review panel, should provide funding of sufficient duration that the DASI projects can be evaluated in conjunction with the other Class 1 and Class 2 facilities by the proposed Senior Review Panel (Section 7.5) at its first meeting.

Unnumbered Recommendation, Section 7.4.4. NSF should create a separate competitive fund for the further development of data management and data visualisation from many sources, including new value-added data products. This funding should include the further development and operation of the Madrigal database, thus separating it from the Millstone Hill ISR M&O funding for greater transparency.

Recommendation 7.26. All facilities should have a formal and active users/advisory group, appointed by NSF and chaired by an independent person to support NSF and the PI in deciding priorities.

Recommendation 7.27. Each facility PI should provide an annual report to NSF that should include a 3-year development plan, prioritised and budgeted for the facility.

Recommendation 7.28. All annual reports should be open to the GS community, except for sections that are commercially sensitive or involve individual personnel issues.

Recommendation 7.29. NSF should develop clear procedures for deciding whether to award science research funding within a facility contract, and the level of that funding, which normally should not exceed 10% of the personnel costs.

Recommendation 7.30. The semi-decadal Senior Review of facilities should evaluate the quality of the science undertaken with the M&O funding.

Recommendation 7.31. NSF should identify both the ongoing M&O costs and their funding source(s) before awarding the grant.

Recommendation 7.32. For instruments funded from external sources, the Senior Review panel (Section 7.8) should be tasked to determine whether facility funding is appropriate.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×

Recommendation 7.33. If use of the Arecibo Observatory is no longer available to GS researchers, e.g., due to divestment or insufficient funding for its continuing operation, and the GS budget remains at or above the flat funding level assumed for the Portfolio Review, then the recommended annual funding of $1.1M for Arecibo should be redirected to the Innovations and Vitality Program described in Section 7.4. Depending on community consensus and the recommendations from the facilities Senior Review recommended in Section 7.8, a significant portion of this augmented I&V annual budget might be directed to funding for a new Midscale project.

Recommendation 7.34. If future GS budgets exceed the flat-budget assumption of this review by $1M per year or greater, then the additional annual funding should be directed to a Midscale Projects Program.

Recommendation 7.35. To prevent scope creep in future facilities without adequate budget to support the additional M&O costs, a periodic “Senior Review” of all GS facilities should be conducted, at least every 5 years. This review should include established facilities i.e. all Class 1 and Class 2 facilities. Nascent “facilities” that may be on a trajectory for facility status but either are not yet operating as a facility, as defined in Section 7.2, or have not yet been fully developed, e.g., as part of an MRI, MREFC, a possible new Mid-Scale Projects line, or other initiative, should also be included in the Senior Review if their transition to facility class is expected to occur before the next Senior Review. Ideally, all facility proposals (including those for new facilities) should eventually be synchronized on a 5-year renewal for the envisioned Senior Review process.

Recommendation 7.36. NSF GS should develop a common set of annual metrics from each facility which can be collected year-on-year to provide an underpinning of the next Senior Review. These metrics could include science outputs both from facility staff and external users, annual expenditure (capital and resource), data downloads and usage, and key technical developments (hardware and software).

PARTNERSHIPS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Recommendation 8.1. The AGS Director and GS Head should continue to coordinate with the Director of HAO to facilitate alignment of HAO science goals with GS science goals.

Recommendation 8.2. The GS Head should continue to coordinate with the GEO-PLR AAGS Program Director to facilitate alignment of AAGS science goals with GS science goals.

Recommendation 8.3. GS PMs should continue to encourage GS investigators to pursue co-funding from the PREEVENTS and similar future programs of the Geoscience Directorate. Whenever possible co-funding these types of targeted programs from the GS budget should be derived from GS Strategic Grants or Facilities programs rather than the GS Core Grants program.

Recommendation 8.4. GS PMs should continue to encourage GS investigators to pursue co-funding from the EarthCube program for Data Systems, Products and Management. If co-funding from the GS is desirable or required to secure external EarthCube funding, whenever possible the co-funding should be derived from the newly recommended GS Facilities Program for Data Systems, Products and Management (Sec. 7.4.4).

Recommendation 8.5. The GS should continue to encourage and work with PIs applying for and receiving MRI funds to develop innovative new instrumentation for use in geospace science research. Consistent with the finding and recommendation of Section 7.6, when additional funds will be requested from the GS for future M&O costs for the MRI, the funding source(s) and space in the GS Facilities budget should be planned well in advance of taking-on the new facilities’ costs. Alternatively, PIs should be encouraged to explore non-NSF sources of funding for future M&O costs.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×

Recommendation 8.6. Concepts appropriate for MREFC investment in geospace science have recently emerged in GS community forums (e.g., at the conference on Measurement Techniques in Solar and Space Physics held in Boulder in April, 2015 and at recent CEDAR and GEM workshops). The GS should encourage development of transformative facility concepts appropriate for MREFC investment by co-sponsoring community workshops to advance innovative new concepts.

Recommendation 8.7. Planning for a possible future MREFC investment should include budget scenarios for how M&O would be accommodated for a new facility of this scale, including possible sun-setting of one or more existing GS facilities.

Unnumbered Recommendation, Section 8.1.4. If and when NSF central funding for INSPIRE projects phases-out, the GS should continue to use its own internal and well-established processes to fund high-quality projects that cross the disciplinary boundaries of its core grants programs and seek appropriate partners external to GS for projects that cross section, division or directorate boundaries.

Recommendation 8.8. GS PMs should encourage eligible PIs to pursue EPSCoR opportunities to leverage funding for appropriate geospace research and educational projects.

Recommendation 8.9. In line with the findings and recommendations of Section 6.6 regarding the future of the GS CubeSat program, the GS should explore possible partnerships across NSF (and with DoD, NASA, industry, international partners) for augmenting the scientific impact of investments in the GS CubeSat program.

Recommendation 8.10. The GS should carefully review the impact on its facilities and grants programs of assuming M&O costs for legacy DoD instrumentation. When doing so is well-aligned with DS and Section science goals, continuing use of such equipment may bring significant added value to GS programs with no up-front costs for investment in the instrument development. The GS should use the recommended Senior Review processes (Section 6.7 and 7.7) to determine the overall value of assuming M&O costs for legacy DoD equipment.

Recommendation 8.11. The GS should continue to participate in the NSF/DOE Partnership and co-fund research projects that address DS Key Science Goal 4.

Recommendation 8.12. The GS should continue to co-fund CCMC at the current level as recommended in Section 6.5.1).

Recommendation 8.13. The GS should continue the NASA/NSF Partnership for Collaborative Space Weather Modeling in the current modus operandi and as long as it continues to advance space weather research goals for the GS (as recommended in Section 6.5.2).

Recommendation 8.14. The GS should explore a new partnership with NASA to create a co-funded Grand Challenge Research program (as recommended in Section 6.5.2).

Recommendation 8.15. The GS should continue its collaboration with NOAA’s SWPC through resource and information sharing in ways that are consistent with each agency’s respective goals in advancing basic and applied knowledge of space weather and capabilities for predicting its effects.

Recommendation 8.16. The GS should continue to sponsor highly-rated proposals to develop, deploy and operate new instruments, instrument networks and data acquisition, especially when GS resources for the project are leveraged through international partnerships.

Recommendation 8.17. The GS should continue to provide funding for international workshops.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×

RECOMMENDED GS PORTFOLIO

Recommendation 9.1. The GS should maintain the existing budget share for the Core Grants Program in Aeronomy, Magnetospheric Physics and Solar-Terrestrial Research within the assumed inflation-adjusted 2015 level (or greater) for the next decade. It should use proposal pressure in concert with portfolio balance to determine an optimum distribution of investments across the three programs. The PRC recognizes that the budget allocation between core and targeted grants programs (CEDAR, GEM, SHINE) may vary from year to year depending on the number and quality of proposals submitted to the various grants programs. GS program managers should continue to have the flexibility to adjust these budget lines in response to proposal pressure, but they should strive to maintain a minimum budget for the core program. A good balance for the portfolio would be at least 1/3 of the GS budget for the core grants programs and not less than $14-15M per year should the overall budget decline.

Recommendation 9.2. GS program managers should allow proposal pressure to play a role in determining the relative budget allocations among the core grants programs in AER, MAG and STR and among the targeted grants programs CEDAR, GEM and SHINE.

Recommendation 9.3. The GS should initiate a new strategic grants program, Grand Challenge Projects, initially with a budget of $1.5M per year by 2020.

Recommendation 9.4. The budget for Integrative Geospace Science, including Space Weather Modeling and Grand Challenge Projects, should grow from $3M per year in 2020 to $5M per year by 2025 by acquiring IGS projects funded by the Targeted Grants Programs.

Recommendation 9.5. With the assumption that future research in core and targeted grants programs will entail an increasing number of collaborative projects devoted to integrative and cross-disciplinary geospace science, the GS should migrate future funding for such projects into strategic grants programs for Space Weather research and Grand Challenge Projects. As these projects migrate from either core or targeted grants programs into Space Weather Research or Grand Challenge Projects grants, the core grants program budget should remain approximately constant (or grow if future budgets are more optimistic than flat) while the budget for targeted grants program decreases.

Recommendation 9.6. GS should continue its CubeSat Program with a focus on mission concept, instrument development and science exploitation of the data while partnering with other entities with engineering experience in the development of CubeSat buses. The PRC recommends an annual budget of $1M for the reduced scope of GS CubeSat mission development.

Recommendation 9.7. GS should continue to support the FDSS program with an annual budget of $0.6M (cf. Section 4.2).

Recommendation 9.8. The GS should implement a semi-decadal Senior Review of its Core and Strategic Grants Programs, as described in Section 6.7.

Recommendation 9.9. The GS should terminate funding for the Sondrestrom ISR facility when the current continuing grant for its management and operation ends (December 2017). Ancillary instrumentation for geospace studies and their operational costs at Sondrestrom should be budgeted and decided by a peer-review process from the Core or Targeted GS programs.

Recommendation 9.10. The GS should investigate costs and contractual arrangements for U.S. investigators’ access to the existing EISCAT facilities and to the planned EISCAT-3D facility. If no barriers to system use and data access arise, NSF investigators could begin using the EISCAT system soon after the current continuing grant for Sondrestrom M&O expires.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×

Recommendation 9.11. The GS should reduce its M&O support for the Arecibo Observatory (AO) to $1.1M when the current agreement expires in September 2016, i.e., to a proportional pro rata level approximately commensurate with its fractional NSF GS proposal pressure and usage for frontier research.

Recommendation 9.12. The GS should create a new DASI Facilities Program with a $1.6M annual budget. This fund should be used initially to develop and implement one or more DASI Class 2 facilities with concept selection determined by peer review. For a fully operational DASI to transition to a Class 2 facility, it must satisfy the criteria for a community facility as defined in Section 7.2.

Recommendation 9.13. The GS should fund a new Data Systems Program for data exploitation with an annual budget of $0.5M, of which $0.15M should be redirected from the current Millstone Hill Observatory budget for the Madrigal system. Selection of a proposal(s) for development and management of the new system should be determined by peer review. Once the system becomes fully operational, it should become a Class 2 facility, with competitive renewals determined by peer review.

Recommendation 9.14. The GS should fund a Facilities Innovation and Vitality (I&V) Program with an annual budget reaching a steady-state value of $2.7M by 2020. Allocation of I&V Program funds should be decided using a peer-review proposal process to determine improvements of greatest value in any given year for instrument, facility and/or community model upgrades. The budget scenario in Table 9.1 provides notional budgetary guidance on an approximate, average partition of the fund between instrument and facility upgrades and model upgrades.

Recommendation 9.15. Going forward the GS should strive to maintain a balanced portfolio of cutting-edge facilities and should periodically evaluate the performance and budget of each facility against Decadal Survey and Geospace Section science goals using the Facilities Senior Review process described in Section 7.8.

Recommendation 9.16. If use of the Arecibo Observatory is no longer available to GS researchers, e.g., due to divestment or insufficient funding for its continuing operation, and the GS budget remains at or above the flat funding level assumed for the Portfolio Review, then the recommended annual funding of $1.1M for Arecibo should be redirected to the Innovations and Vitality Program described in Section 7.4. Depending on community consensus and the recommendations from the Facilities Senior Review recommended above, a significant portion of this augmented I&V annual budget might be applied to investment in a new Midscale Project Program.

Recommendation 9.17. If future GS budgets exceed the flat-budget assumption of this review by $1M per year or greater, then the additional annual funding should be directed to a Midscale Projects Program.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 49
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 50
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 51
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 52
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 53
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 54
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 55
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 56
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 57
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 58
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Recommendations from Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24666.
×
Page 59
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At the request of the Advisory Committee for Geosciences of the National Science Foundation (NSF), a review of the Geospace Section of the NSF Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences was undertaken in 2015. The Portfolio Review Committee was charged with reviewing the portfolio of facilities, research programs, and activities funded by Geospace Section and to recommend critical capabilities and the balance of investments needed to enable the science program articulated in the 2013 NRC decadal survey Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. The Portfolio Review Committee's report Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025 (ICCGS) was accepted by the Advisory Committee for Geosciences in April 2016.

Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review provides an independent assessment of the ICCGS report. This publication assesses how well the ICCGS provides a clear set of findings, conclusions, and recommendations for Geospace Section that align with the science priorities of the NRC decadal survey, and adequately take into account issues such as the current budget outlook and the science needs of the community. Additionally, this study makes recommendations focused on options and considerations for NSF's implementation of the ICCGS recommendations.

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