Technologies that support the fields of seismology and geodesy have advanced greatly in the past few decades and many scientific advances in these and other Earth science fields have resulted from the contributions of geodetic and seismological facilities. The National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) currently supports two community-governed geophysical facilities: (1) Seismological Facility for the Advancement of Geoscience (SAGE), currently managed by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), and (2) Geodetic Facility for the Advancement of Geoscience (GAGE), currently managed by UNAVCO.1 These facilities prioritize their capabilities based on the scientific needs of their stakeholder communities, and allow their capabilities to evolve as scientific and technological needs evolve.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) were asked by EAR to conduct a study that would provide input on priorities and strategies for NSF investments in Earth science research, infrastructure, and training for the coming decade (see the Statement of Task in Box 1.1). That 2-year effort, which began in 2018, is titled Catalyzing Opportunities for Research in the Earth Sciences (CORES).2 To fulfill that request, the National Academies convened an ad hoc committee of volunteer experts to prepare a consensus study report that will include a set of high-priority scientific questions central to the advancement of Earth sciences; an analysis of the EAR research infrastructure investment portfolio; and a discussion of how EAR can leverage and complement the capabilities, expertise, and strategic plans of other NSF units, federal agencies, and other domestic and international partners.
As an additional, integrated part of the study, EAR requested that the National Academies organize a workshop to address different management models for future seismological and geodetic facility capabilities—specifically (1) instrumentation, (2) user support services, (3) data management, (4) education and outreach, and (5) workforce development. A separate planning committee was convened, which included expertise in seismology, geodesy, and research administration drawn from the CORES consensus study
committee, as well as additional expertise in management of scientific infrastructure and facilities and geophysics-related disciplines drawn from the broader scientific community. Appendix A includes biographies of the planning committee members. Organization of the workshop by the planning committee was independent of the activities of the CORES consensus study committee. Members of the consensus study committee who also served on the planning committee acted as liaisons between the two groups. The workshop took place on May 13-14, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. It included participation by the workshop planning committee, members of the consensus study committee, managers of UNAVCO and IRIS and their respective boards of directors, members of the facility user communities, management from other NSF-sponsored scientific facilities, personnel from other U.S. and international scientific facilities, and EAR and National Academies staff.
To determine an effective workshop organization, the workshop planning committee and National Academies staff discussed with EAR program managers what NSF hoped to learn from the workshop. EAR program managers desired to better understand how NSF might sustainably support the diverse needs of the seismological and geodetic communities as technologies and the research landscape evolve. The Statement of Task (see the last paragraph of Box 1.1) required the workshop to address “different management models for future seismological and geodetic facility capabilities.” Because the management of facility capabilities is directly related to facility management and decision making processes, the workshop was organized to explore options for facility management and governance to determine if any of those options warrant consideration for future seismological and geodetic facilities. The workshop was not designed to evaluate current seismological or geodetic facilities, their management structures, or their processes, but input from those facilities was included for the purpose of comparison. Furthermore, topics related to funding and resource allocations were not to be addressed at the workshop. The workshop planning committee organized the workshop to learn about different management and decision-making approaches that could accommodate the defined services, resources, and capacities of seismological and geodetic facilities (i.e., the capabilities) to scientific advantage.
The CORES consensus study committee was asked by EAR to identify future science priorities and infrastructure needs for the Earth science research community over the next decade. The workshop planning committee, on the other hand, was asked to plan an agenda to consider management models that could accommodate instrumentation, user support services, data management, education and outreach, and workforce development capabilities of future seismological and geodetic facilities. While the consensus study committee’s tasks could encompass the priority capabilities of future seismological and geodetic facilities, committee deliberations were still confidential at the time of the workshop. Therefore, EAR suggested that the workshop planning committee rely on seismological and geodetic facility capabilities as defined in the 2015 community workshop report,3 although EAR recognized that scientific priorities may have evolved since those capabilities were defined. However, because this workshop was focused on management rather than science priorities, the 2015 capabilities definitions were considered adequate for workshop discussions.
The planning committee focused workshop discussions first on existing scientific facility management and governance models, and then on how those might be applicable to future seismological and geodetic facilities. The breadth and diversity among existing models and facilities were explicitly chosen to provide ample discussion material and to give workshop participants examples of methodologies that have proven successful or that have presented challenges under specific circumstances. The planning committee made no plans to discuss alternative or new models that might be developed other than those presented.
Lina Patino, EAR division director, gave brief remarks at the beginning of the workshop. She and other NSF staff attended the workshop as observers, providing only clarifying comments. She described NSF’s interest in supporting the seismological and geodetic capabilities of instrumentation, user support, data management, education and
outreach, and workforce development. The goal of sponsoring the workshop was to learn from the scientific community about how various management models might deliver those capabilities in future facilities, she said. Because funding of geophysical facilities comprises approximately 20 percent of the EAR budget, a workshop held within the context of the CORES consensus study was considered appropriate. Patino emphasized that the workshop was not central to the CORES Statement of Task, but was rather included within it. Given that both IRIS and UNAVCO are in the first year of 5-year awards for SAGE and GAGE, she indicated that this workshop would afford EAR time to consider future options for the facilities.
The workshop agenda (see Appendix B) allowed 1.5 days for discussion of management models of theoretical seismological and geodetic facilities of the future. Each session of the workshop was designed to inform the next. The first session introduced workshop participants to the current and future capabilities of seismological and geodetic facilities as defined in a 2015 community workshop report.4 The second session introduced management models of multiple scientific facilities, including SAGE and GAGE, through presentations and discussions with facility managers. The third session focused on how management and decision-making models might be applied to seismological and geodetic facilities. The fourth session (and final session of Day 1) was a general comment period during which participants could provide comments on any topic. The fifth session (morning of Day 2) invited workshop participants to consider the scientific advantages of distributing seismological and geodetic capabilities among multiple facilities, or the scientific advantages of centralizing some or all of the capabilities. The final session invited workshop planning members to provide observations made throughout the workshop regarding management of facility capabilities (instrumentation, user support services, data management, education and outreach, and workforce development capabilities).
This Proceedings of a Workshop was prepared by a rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The planning committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The views contained in this Proceedings of a Workshop are those of the individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.
Chapters 2-8 are organized as the workshop was organized, with each chapter providing summaries of the presentations and discussions held within each session. Supporting material is provided in the appendixes. Appendix A presents biographies of the workshop planning committee; Appendix B contains the workshop agenda; Appendix C offers biographical information of the workshop presenters and panelists; Appendix D is the list of workshop participants; and Appendix E is a transcript of the comments provided during the workshop public comment period at the end of the first day of the workshop.