NSF funds new environmental data science center at CU Boulder

more scientific collaboration & inclusive workforce to result

Integrating and analyzing environmental datasets at varying space and time scales is crucial to understanding climate change, preserving biodiversity, and predicting severe weather than results in natural hazards such as floods, drought and wildfires.

To train and apply data science to the discipline of environmental science, the U.S. National Science Foundation has established the Environmental Data Science Innovation and Inclusion Lab, (ESIIL) -- pronounced "easel" – at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The $20 million, five-year award is funded jointly by NSF's Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (CI), leveraging other NSF investments in data and measurement.

As principal investigator, Dr. Jennifer Balch will promote analysis and development of innovative computational tools to efficiently use emerging and existing datasets.

ESIIL's open cyberinfrastructure known as CyVerse was designed to lower barriers to scientific collaboration by connecting to scientists and researchers with data sources such as NSF's National Ecological Observatory Network, Long-Term Ecological Research Network, Ocean Observatories Initiative and Critical Zone Collaborative Network.

In addition, ESIIL's education program will help develop environmental data science skills which are essential to the next generation of a data-capable workforce.

The ESIIL Stars internship program will support students and faculty members from institutions that serve underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. Initial partners include Oglala Lakota College, United Tribes Technical College and Metropolitan State University of Denver.

The ESIIL Leaders program will support emerging scientists from underrepresented communities by fostering leadership skills in environmental data science and team science.