NCEAS has hosted over 5,000 individuals and supported roughly 500 projects since its inception in 1995. The projects have produced a wide array of outcomes, from specific results to general knowledge within and across disciplines and the application of science to resource management. NCEAS has engaged hundreds of graduate students and grade school children, and has developed information access tools that are becoming the standard for ecology and allied fields. Unlike many research centers, we have no permanent body of scientific faculty; rather, NCEAS maintains its well-known vitality through the dynamic nature of the resident and visiting scientists who are collectively responsible for its success.
Over its lifespan, NCEAS' impact has been broad and significant.
High Productivity and Significance
- Broad Participation by the Scientific Community
- Highly Successful Postdoctoral Associates
- Commitment to Support the Application of Science in Conservation and Resource Management
- Advancing Ecoinformatics Research
- Improving Access to Data
- Promoting a Culture of Collaboration
- Education and Community Outreach
See funding agency reports for further information.
- As of 2005, NCEAS had reached the top 1% of institutions worldwide working in ecology and the environment (38,000 institutions in total) in terms of total citations in the field of Environment/Ecology, according to ISI Essential Science Indicators .
- NCEAS ranked #22 out of the 38,000 institutions in publications impact in ecology and the environment. These numbers are very conservative, because they are based on institutional affiliations, rather than acknowledgments. Only 40% of NCEAS products have NCEAS listed as the institutional affiliation for one or more of the authors.
- Two of the top three most influential publications  on ecological response to climate change were NCEAS Working Group products.
- More than 2,000 publications, many in Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), Ecology Letters and Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE).
- NCEAS articles have been published in more than 300 different journals.
- NCEAS has attracted projects pertaining to ecology from outside the natural sciences, most notably economics, philosophy, and sociology.
- Areas of NCEAS inquiry stretch from genes to the biosphere. Examples of the diverse topics include climate change , infectious disease , economics , marine ecology and conservation . A range of specific NCEAS research projects are described in featured research .
- NCEAS projects have received recognition in local, regional, national and international press including Science, Nature, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, PBS, and other national media.
Most visitors come to NCEAS only one or two times. With more than 1,000 visits each year, the network of ecologists who are using NCEAS continues to grow.
NCEAS participants come from diverse regions, institutions, and fields of study:
- Participants are from 49 US states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and 57 countries
- 19% of participants are from outside the U.S.
- More than 550 academic institutions have been represented; roughly a quarter of these are non-PhD granting institutions
- More than 500 non-academic entities (companies, NGOs, public agencies) have been represented
- Participants belong to more than 600 scholarly societies
Faculty member participants in NCEAS activities include both junior and senior scientists:
- 17% of faculty participants are assistant professors
- 28% are associate professors
- 55% are full professors
Women are well-represented at NCEAS:
- 40% of the Science Advisory Board members
- Approximately 40% of Postdoctoral Associates
Over 50% of Graduate interns
- Postdocs are chosen from a highly diverse, competitive applicant pool and represent some of the best young scientists in the world.
- Postdocs are mentored in a new culture of collaboration, synthesis, and interdisciplinary research, allowing their scholarship to flourish. This unique postdoctoral experience was highlighted in an article in Nature .
- Several have received Young Investigator Awards, and one the ASN President's Award. Other awards include the Buell award (best paper by a graduate student), the Tom Frost award (best paper in limnology by a young scientist), and the W. S. Cooper Award (outstanding contributor to the field of geobotany from ESA).
- Over 25% of the projects at NCEAS include among their goals "informing environmental policy and management."
- NCEAS participants have come from roughly 240 public agencies (local, national and international) and approximately 260 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), most of which focus on conservation and resource management.
- Postdoctoral Associates have included three Smith Fellows from The Nature Conservancy. NCEAS has supported Fellows from the U.S. Forest Service and NGOs, and currently hosts a conservation outreach associate from COMPASS.
- Recognizing the success of the NCEAS approach when applied to specific societal needs, NCEAS has established the Conservation and Resource Management Program  to develop special projects supported from outside the core NSF funding.
NCEAS projects have influenced public policy and resource management in many ways, from testimony before Congress to the development of analytical tools. For example, NCEAS scientists contributed to California’s Channel Islands Marine Protected Areas  planning process. In another example, a Working Group’s timely publication on pollinators’ ecosystem services was used by the Congressional Research Service (Johnson, CRS Report for Congress: Recent Honeybee Declines , 31 May 2007) to inform lawmakers about Colony Collapse Disorder.
- NCEAS' Ecoinformatics  Program is dedicated to the development and dissemination of technological tools that facilitate analysis and synthesis in ecology. Consequently, the NCEAS Ecoinformatics group is a leading developer of collaborations and technical solutions to provide more efficient and powerful access to and analysis of ecological data.
- NCEAS and many collaborators have obtained significant funding from NSF and private foundations for more than a dozen Ecoinformatics research projects .
- NCEAS maintains a data policy  which encourages and facilitates the sharing of data, while respecting the intellectual property rights of data owners.
- A number of projects have developed major synthetic data sets that will have significance to the broader ecological community.
NCEAS provides access to a data repository  containing information about research data sets collected and collated as part of NCEAS' funded activities. Information in the NCEAS Data Repository  is concurrently available through the Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB) , an international data repository.
- The average number of authors of an NCEAS article is significantly higher, and the percent of NCEAS articles with a single author is significantly lower than the average for articles in Ecology.
- Sociologists discovered that the NCEAS model promotes a higher level of productive collaboration than other, more typical models such as in situ resident centers: an interaction density of 50%, 2.5 times higher than the average for other groups that have been analyzed.
- Unplanned interactions between and among resident and visiting scientists have resulted in significant and new research collaborations.
- NCEAS undertakes a number of education and outreach  initiatives to increase the public understanding of science, foster interest in ecology and technology professions, and contribute to the local community.
- NCEAS scientists have worked with over 2300 local 5th graders in NCEAS’ Kids do Ecology  program. In the program, scientists work in local classrooms to provide inquiry-based instruction in the scientific method as applied to ecological questions.
- The companion Kids Do Ecology  website, is an award winning bilingual site used internationally by students and teachers. The site contains education resources and information on biomes, marine mammals, and presentation of data. From the first six months of 2010, the site had over 90,000 unique visitors.