This past fall, our building owner stopped by my office to ask if we were interested in expanding NCEAS into the newly available conference room on the second floor. The timing was serendipitous. With a growing number of working groups and frequently overlapping meetings, our ability to accommodate our community had become strained. Now, with a newly signed lease, NCEAS spans three floors of the historic Balboa Building in downtown Santa Barbara.
Indeed, NCEAS is in a phase of bold growth – in more ways than just real estate. One expansion that I am excited to give you a sneak preview of is the official launch of our coordinated environmental data science training and outreach program.
When NCEAS first launched over 20 years ago, it quickly became apparent that conducting synthesis research required overcoming substantial challenges in data discovery, preparation, and management. This led to the development of our second pillar of work: eco-informatics, now often called environmental data science.
More recently, it has become clear the full potential of this field remains inhibited by a different hurdle: limited training opportunities for scientists to gain the skills they need to leverage data science tools and approaches.
With the official launch of our environmental data science training and outreach program, we will build out our third pillar of work, focused on training, to a greater capacity. This will lead to better support for the next generation of environmental data scientists and enhance the power of scientific discovery. Stay tuned for the launch in the coming weeks.
I invite you to be part of this bold growth. Keep an eye out for opportunities for yourself, such as trainings or calls for proposals. Also, invite a colleague or friend who you think would be interested in NCEAS’ big-picture approach to join our community – they can subscribe to our newsletter and/or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to connect with our work, results, and opportunities.
I look forward to engaging with you this year, and I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2019.
Ben Halpern, Director