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NSF Earth Sciences Express Update - Autumn 2020

NSF Earth Sciences Express Update - Autumn 2020

NSF Earth Sciences Express Update - Autumn 2020

October 22, 2020

A Vision for NSF Earth Sciences 2020-2030: Earth in Time

 EAR will be posting quarterly updates concerning the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine's report, “A Vision of Earth Sciences 2020-2030: Earth In Time”. You can read the latest and all future updates in the "Announcements" section of the EAR website. This quarter, the Critical Zone Collaborative Network and SZ4D are discussed.


New EAR DD Announcement

 NSF is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Steven L. Goldstein as Division Director of Earth Sciences effective November 9, 2020. Dr. Goldstein comes to NSF from or the *Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of *Columbia University, where he served over the last 23 years. In his most recent roles, he was the Associate Director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for the Division of Geochemistry and Higgins Professor of the Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. Prior to his work at Columbia, Dr. Goldstein was a staff scientist at the Max-Planck Institute fur Chemie, Department of Geochemistry in Mainz, Germany from 1985 to 1996. He earned his B.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University and his M.A. from Harvard University. EAR extends our full and enthusiastic support to Dr. Goldstein in his important new assignment. We also thank Dr. Lina Patino and Dr. Dena Smith-Nufio, who served respectively as Division Director and acting Division Director, for providing steady leadership during this transition.

 A message from Dr. Lina Patino

 Dear EAR Community,

 I would like to thank you for your support while I served as Division Director for Earth Sciences at NSF (January 2018 – June 2020). It was a privilege to work with a group of individuals who are dedicated public servants, Program Directors and Mission Support Staff, and who have the research community as their highest priority. The Division and the Community are poised to take on new challenges regarding research infrastructure, programs, and the human capital needed to have a vibrant research community. Upon completing my 3-year limited term appointment, I have moved to the Office of the Assistant Director for Geosciences working on a broad portfolio. Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can be of assistance and I look forward to interacting with you in my new capacity.

 Stay safe and healthy,

Lina C. Patino, PhD


Staff Updates

Dr. Jennifer Wenner started her term as an IPA with Petrology & Geochemistry and Education and Human Resources programs (Postdoctoral and REU). Jennifer comes from University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where her work focused on understanding the geochemistry of continental arcs, magmatic processes and the generation of the continental crust.  Dr. Wenner has held multiple leadership positions, including her service as the vice president of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

 Dr. Curtis Williams also started his term as a rotator in the Petrology & Geochemistry program.Curtis comes to us from UC Davis, where his work is focused on studying the composition and dynamics of the Earth’s interior. Dr. Williams was an EAR Postdoctoral fellow and has gone on to manage several successful research awards.

Dr. Michal Kowalewski joined the Sedimentary Geology & Paleobiology program in EAR. He comes to us from the University of Florida, where he is the Jon L. and A. Beverly Thompson Chair of Invertebrate Paleontology, Curator and Professor at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Professor of Interdisciplinary Ecology, Biology, and Geology, and serves as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech.

 Dr. Aisha Morris has completed her role as co-lead for the NSF Includes Implementation Team. Aisha will be returning to manage the Postdoctoral Program in addition to the REU program. EAR would like to thank Dr. Luciana Astiz for her role in leading the Postdoctoral Program. Luciana is transitioning to join the Instrumentation and Facilities program.


Upcoming Webinars

 Convergence Accelerator Ideation Webinars for RFI (NSF 21-012)

Join the NSF Convergence Accelerator from 2 – 3:30 pm (ET) on October 21 or 27, to learn about the program’s ideation process, specifically focusing on the FY 2022 Request for Information (RFI) on future topics.

 Virtual NSF Grants Conference

NSF will be hosting the very first NSF Virtual Grants Conference during the weeks of November 16 and November 30, 2020. Registration will be free of charge and opens on Thursday, October 29 at 12 PM EDT.

 Navigating the NSF System 
EAR will host virtual office hours on Wednesday, December 2 from 2:30 - 4:00 pm (ET), focusing again on “Navigating the NSF System”. Normally presented as a workshop at AGU, this is a good opportunity for first time proposers and early career scientists to gain insight to the ins and outs of the grant proposal process


Funding Opportunities

NSF 20-587 - NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

NSF 20-567 - Coastlines and People Hubs (CoPe) for Research and Broadening Participation

NSF 20-554 - ADVANCE: Organizational Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions

NSF 20-595 - Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program

NSF 20-598 - International Research Experience for Students (IRES)

NSF 20-600 - Harnessing the Data Revolution: Coordination Hub (HDR Central)

NSF 20-579 - Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems (DISES)

NSF 20-516 - Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into the Earth, Ocean, Polar and Atmospheric & Geospace Sciences (IUSE: GEOPAths)

NSF 20-604 - National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes

NSF 21-511 - Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet) 
NSF 21-505 - Mid-scale Research Infrastructure-1 (Mid-scale RI-1) 
NSF 21-515 - EarthCube 
NSF 20-611 - Sustainable Regional Systems Research Networks (SRS RNs) 
NSF 21-516 - Mid-Career Advancement (MCA)


Dear Colleague Letters:

NSF 21-012 Request for Information on Future Topics for the NSF Convergence Accelerator

NSF 21-013 Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity

NSF 20-132 Future of International Research Collaboration Post COVID-19

NSF 20-124 Competition of Management and Operations of synchrotron-hosted analytical capabilities for Earth sciences research

NSF 20-106 Special Guidelines for Submitting Proposals for NSF/GEO/EAR - MOST-Taiwan (GEMT) Collaborative Research

NSF 20-014 Planning for GEO-themed Industry University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRCs)

NSF 20-094 Special Guidelines for Submitting Collaborative Proposals under National Science Foundation (NSF) and US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Collaborative Research Opportunities


Upcoming Conferences with NSF Participation

 Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans (SACNAS) – October 19-24, 2020

October 21, 2020 3:15 - 4:15 PM EST

Invention to Impact - Presented by the NSF

Addressing the NSF's Broader Impacts Criterion as a Mechanism to Expand Diversity and Broaden Participation in STEM

October 22, 2020 4-5 PM EST

NSF Opportunities for Undergraduates, Graduate Students and Early Career Scientists in the Geosciences and Biological Science

National Science Foundation Funding Opportunities and their Broader Impacts

October 24, 2020 3:15-4:15 PM EST

National Science Foundation: Insights on Fellowships, Internships, and Funding STEM pathways


Geological Society of America (GSA) – October 26-30, 2020

October 26, 2020 1:50 PM - 2:05 PM EST - Quaternary Stratigraphy and Geochronology of Sedimentary Deposits at Gebel Ramlah in Southwest Egypt

October 26, 2020 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM EST - Frontiers of Research, Discovery, and Societal Impact in the Hydrologic Sciences

October 27, 2020 10 AM - 12 PM EST - Novel Outcomes in the Hydrologic Sciences: Emerging Areas of Research, New Educational Approaches, Broadening Participation, and Societal Impact

Can We Talk: A Documentary and Facilitated Conversation on the Academic, Emotional, Social, Political, and Cultural, Hurdles to STEM Fields for People of Color

October 29, 2020 2:05-2:20 PM EST - GOLD-EN: Building Capacity for Broadening Participation in the Geosciences - A National Science Foundation Initiative

October 30, 2020 10 AM – 2 PM EST - Expanding Opportunities in the Geosciences: Exploring Examples of GEO-STEM Learning Ecosystems that Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


EAR Research News (14)

The secret beneath seemingly trustworthy volcanoes NSF EAR 1145271

Researchers find link between Atlantic hurricanes and weather system in East Asia NSF EAR 1840742

New framework for evaluating snow droughts around the world NSF EAR1725789

Agriculture replaces fossil fuels as largest human-driven source of sulfur in the environment NSF EAR 1945388

Sea level rise could make rivers more likely to jump course NSF EAR 1427262

How do stone forests get their spikes? New research offers pointed answer NSF CBET 1805506

How earthquake swarms—stings of quakes—arise NSF EAR 1947448

Body size of the extinct megalodon shark is off the charts NSF EAR 1830858

Study shows coastal flooding will disproportionately impact river delta populations NSF EAR 1812019

Without oxygen, Earth's early microbes relied on arsenic to sustain life NSF EAR 1052974

Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California's Central Valley NSF EAR1639318

Coastal flooding will disproportionately impact people on river deltas NSF EAR 1812019, 1426997; NSF OCE 1135427

Understanding the 'deep-carbon cycle' NSF EAR 1763215; 1753125; 1619964; 1620548; 1634415

Implications of deflation-inflation event models on Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi NSF EAR 1331125


Community News

 23rd Earth Science Week – October 11 - 17

The 2020 theme was “Earth Materials in Our Lives” and each day was focused on a special theme. NSF has posted a 4 Awesome Discoveries video and a Science Matters blog post. The University of New Mexico, alongside the Grand Canyon National Park and NSF, hosted the 2020 Virtual Grand Canyon GeoFest, every night during Earth Science Week. Videos are available on their Facebook page.

 International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) Science Plan 2020-2030

ICDP has released their decadal Science Plan, which includes four prime science themes: Geodynamic Processes, Geohazards, Georesources, and Environmental Change.

 Michele Cooke Recognized for Leadership in Inclusive Teaching

EAR would like to congratulate Dr. Michele Cooke, for receiving the *2020 Inclusive Geoscience Education and Research (IGER) Award from the International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IADG). Dr. Cooke is a professor and graduate program director for geosciences at UMass Amherst, and an NSF awarded PI from the EAR Tectonics Program (EAR-1650368).


The Passing of Former Program Director Dr. Dan Weill

We are saddened to announce the death of Daniel F. Weill.  Dan was a beloved and highly respected member of the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) at NSF. He served as the Program Director of the Instrument and Facilities Program from 1985 to 2001. During his tenure the program made seminal investments in the infrastructure needed to advance laboratory and field research capabilities for the geosciences. We lost a valued mentor and colleague when he retired. Dan knew how to translate the fountain of advice provided by the research community and his efforts were foundational to the attainment of community goals. 

 Dan’s career spanned both academic and program administration roles. The first two decades included pioneering work during his Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley followed by a distinguished research and academic career at the University of California at San Diego and the University of Oregon where his research in geochemistry, petrology, and mineralogy spawned a series of influential papers and outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral associates. He started his second phase as an advisor to the Earth Science program at DOE’s Office of Basic Sciences and followed with his tenure at NSF/EAR as the Program Director for the Instrumentation and Facilities Program.

 Dan joined EAR at a critical time when there was an active discussion on how to balance the needs for individual researchers and the need for supporting large, cooperative, multidisciplinary projects.  Dan intuitively understood this delicate balancing act. His foresight and judgement helped shape and strike the right balance between the instrumentation needs of individual researchers (who form the foundation of earth science research), and the needs of large-scale, costly facilities that provide critical new capabilities for complex multidisciplinary projects.  His diplomatic advice and wisdom provided critical guidance for EAR through this pivotal phase of the changing nature of Earth science research.   

 Dan was instrumental in advising and nurturing critical facilities that form the basis of the Earth science enterprise. These include the large IRIS and UNAVCO managed facilities (now SAGE and GAGE) , the early development of the EarthScope MREFC project, EAR’s first science and Technology Centers (CHiPR and SCEC), and the development of dedicated national synchrotron facilities through COMPRES and GSECARS. His efforts also enabled the development of critical distributed infrastructure for geochemistry and geochronology including accelerator mass spectrometry facilities and ion-probe facilities at institutions across the US.  The combination of Dan’s listening skills, critical thinking, ethical balance and financial management created a critical infrastructure for earth science research that endures today and is part of his legacy.

 In 2002, Dan was awarded the Edward A. Flinn III Award of the American Geophysical Union in recognition of his contributions to Earth Sciences. The award is given to an individual who personifies the Union’s motto of “unselfish cooperation in research through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”

 We wish to send our condolence to Dan’s wife Margaret, his daughters Kathy and Michele, son Paul, grandchildren Jes and Ian and son-in-law Dean. 

Did you miss the previous newsletters? Here are the Winter 2020, Spring 2020, and Summer 2020 updates.


The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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