Strategic Development

The Strategic Development Team establishes collaborations and relationships with diverse stakeholders nationally and internationally to foster community-building, infrastructure interoperability and scientific discovery. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about opportunities for collaboration.

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Current Projects


The COOPEUS project (COOPeration EU-US) establishes collaborations between international environmental Research Infrastructures (RIs) in Europe and the United States to promote information and infrastructure interoperability across research domains.


Strategic Cooperation Council (SCC)

The SCC works to ensure the seamless integration of the strategies developed within the COOPEUS project by providing advice, guidance, and direction on the integration process between research infrastructures in the environmental field on both sides of the Atlantic.


Kepler Workflow Project

Working with San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and UNAVCO, we aim to lower data integration barriers by seamlessly combining workflows and supporting reproducible research and publication by linking to the Research Object infrastructure (ROHub).


Plant Phenology Ontologies (PPO) Project

Creating shared vocabularies to annotate plant phenological data sources (including NEON, NPN and PEP) using terms from the plant ontology, biological collections ontology and the newly developed plant phenology ontology to answer questions relating to phenological stages and their expression across time and space, and different environments.


GEO Carbon Project

Working to develop an integrated global carbon cycle observation system to monitor changes in the carbon cycle comprised of space and ground-based observations, in concert with modelling and analysis, to produce more robust budgets of carbon and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). A global initiative, the GEO Carbon and GHG Initiative, is working within the framework of Group on Earth Observations (GEO) to promote interoperability and provide integration across different parts of the system, particularly at domain interfaces.


News & Updates

NSF Delegation Visited CERN to Promote Cooperation with NEON

Dr. Xiubo Yu, Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN)
A delegation from the National Science of Foundation (NSF) , composed of Nancy Sung (Head NSF China Office), Matthew Hawkins (Head of NSF Large Facilities Office), Claire Hemingway (NSF OISE Program Manager), and Sun Bo and Shen Yu from NSF China had a meeting with Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN) , Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on 12 July, 2018. The purpose of this visit was aimed to explore the collaboration between National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and CERN, and status the CERN research infrastructure, data management and sharing capabilities. This meeting was jointly facilitated by Nancy Sung and Xiubo Yu, CERN Secretary General. Before the meeting, NSF delegation had a field trip to CERN Yanting Site.
Firstly Mr. Hawkins, made a presentation titled “Global Research Infrastructure Cooperation and Coordination”. He provided an updated status on NEON and Ocean Observatories Initiative as examples of distributed research infrastructure as well as NSF’s approach to Large Facilities and how we all work together to address best project guidelines from G7 Group of Senior Officials on Global Research Infrastructure.
Drs. Xiubo Yu, Chen Zhi and Guo Xuebing presented the science design and progress made by CERN, China FLUX and CERN data center, respectively. Dr. Yu introduced CERN and its planned future infrastructure design that includes a: coordinated landscape ecosystem monitoring and experimental system; environmental factors controlling experiment system; data transmission and integrated system; and ecological forecast and early-warning systems. Dr. Yu expressed sincere opportunity to learn from NEON and other research infrastructures including innovative science concepts, technical designs, solutions and operations.
The planned objectives for future CERN research infrastructure includes the development of: (a) new observations and experimental data on ecosystem functions and relevant environmental factors based on a precise, real-time and continuous measurement; (b) a process-based and mechanistic understanding of the underlying changes in ecosystem carbon-nitrogen-water cycles in the context of global environmental change; (c) the capabitlty to predict the changes in terrestrial ecosystem services, and a service center for the prediction and early-warning of ecological safety in China; and (d) forward-looking collaborative research.
The potential users of the CERN research infrastructure will focus on core areas for decision-making support (i.e., agriculture, ecosystem restoration, ecosystem-based adaptation), national science programme (i.e., water resource management, climate change and adaptation), national and international Research and Development use (i.e., network members of ILTER, GEOSS, Future Earth, and IPBES).
Ms. Xuebing also presented CERN data management system. She introduced CERN’s hardware, software and cyber architecture, that included; dataset categories, data sharing with DataONE (CERN will become DataONE member node shortly), web portal for data sharing, mainframe hardware for of long term monitoring, cloud computing platform-infrastructure services, and site-based server architecture.
Finally, both the US and China discussed mutually common issues related to continental-scale environmental research infrastructures, and expressed interst to continue deeper discussion and to promote close collaborations. Prof Guorui, Deputy Director General, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (CAS) reviewed the past cooperation with NEON and hope to continue further, a close, ongoing cooperation between CERN and NEON. Ms. Ping who is responsible for CERN governance in CAS headquarter also stated that CAS has increased the input for CERN research infrastructure. Nancy Sung expressed appreciation of CERN’s progress in data management and sharing in the past years, and she stressed that NSF would provide support to continue the bilateral cooperation between NEON & CERN after the closure of NSF Beijing Office.


Dr. Behzad Mortazavi, University of Alabama

Participants with a large range of knowledge, skills, and experience met at a workshop; “Path Toward a Coastal Observatory” on May 7-9, 2017 in Georgetown, South Carolina. This community-driven workshop was established to explore the needs and scientific motivations for design of a large-scale, integrated coastal observatory. The overarching goals for the workshop were, through a community process, to (i) synthesize the current societal, scientific, economic imperatives of understanding integrated coastal ecology (nationally and internationally) in light of a changing environment, (ii) develop conceptual designs of a coastal observatory to address these imperatives, and (iii) determine and plan and actionable path forward. The participants examined how this observatory could facilitate integrating theory, observational data and models, and how the Coastal Observatory of the future could integrate with existing networks and enhance their capabilities. The workshop participants emphasized that a successful Coastal Observatory would generate data products and tools that address societal need and facilitate decision-making. The workshop was hosted and co-sponsored by the Battelle-National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Clemson University’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science (BICEFS), the University of South Carolina’s Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences (BIMCS), and COOP+ (Horizon 2020 EU project).

COOP+ Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA)

Diarmuid Ó Conchubhair, Marine Institute, Ireland

COOP+ is currently developing aStrategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) which will form the basis for global co-operation and collaboration of the RIs involved in COOP+. The SRIA will also include input from the COOP+ designated Global Challenges (for more information on COOP+ Global Challenges: ). The SRIA will express the ambition of COOP+ in terms of all RIs participating in and associated with COOP+ with a specific focus on:
1) Global research and innovation challenges and needs in the mid-term (5-10 years)
2) Collaboration priorities, actions, instruments, resources, and an implementation timeline.
COOP+ will aim to have a final version of its SRIA complete for publication and dissemination at ICRI 2018 - 4th International Conference on Research Infrastructures (12 th – 14 th September 2018, Vienna).
For further information on COOP+, Global Challenges or the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda please contact: Diarmuid Ó Conchubhair. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654131

Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Southern Ocean Array

(55S, 90W) Improves Weather Forecast Data

Dr Robert Weller, WHOI

In February 2015, the U.S. NSF-funded Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) deployed an array of four moorings at 55 o S, including the deployment of the most southerly surface mooring established as a sustained ocean observing platform. The OOIGlobal Southern Ocean Array is one of four sites in the OOI focusing on the critical, yet under-sampled, high-latitude regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. One of the key scientific objectives of deploying this array was to provide key data to a very sparsely sampled area to better help modelers and forecasters understand the dynamic and volatile environment of the Southern Ocean.
As of August 9, 2017, data from the Surface Mooring of the Southern Ocean Array was integrated into the Global Telecommunication System (GTS) via the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) making these data more easily accessible for weather forecasters and modelers. Real time data from the surface buoy was being delivered into the OOI data system. However, OOI did not have the capability in place to place the data on the GTS. Bob Weller’s group at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), with support from a COOPEUS grant from NSF, developed the code and worked with the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) to put the OOI Southern Ocean surface buoy data on GTS.
This OOI global array surface moorings telemeter surface meteorology, and the raw data have one-minute averages of surface meteorological sensors. To make the OOI data compatible with the lower sampling rate data typically placed on GTS, six ten-minute averages were computed and sent once an hour. These data are contributing to an international effort to improve environmental prediction for the polar regions and beyond known as the Year of Polar Prediction ( ) that runs from mid-2017 to mid-2019 and is organized by the World Meteorological Organization.
In just the few weeks since its integration into the GTS, these data were tagged as having a big forecast impact by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts ( ECMWF ). On August 19, 2017, the Surface Buoy picked up a low pressure system moving through the area. By integrating these data into their forecast models, researchers were able to fill in some key spatial gaps in their observational coverage and overall reduce their 24-hr forecast error. With errors reduced in their forecast model, ECMWF was then better able to forecast the next huge Southern Ocean storm with a central pressure around 955 mb that had simultaneous major impacts on southern South America, Drake Passage, and the Antarctic Peninsula.
In addition to its surface buoy (pictured), the OOI Southern Ocean Array includes a network of moorings that support sensors for measurement of air-sea fluxes of heat, moisture and momentum; physical, biological and chemical properties throughout the water column. A full list of instrumentation on the Array is posted on the OOI website and data can be downloaded from the OOI Data Portal , as well as accessed through the GTS.
View the full Science Highlight from the OOI Newsletter here .

Strategic Cooperation Council (SCC) Meeting at European Geophysical Union (EGU) Conference

The Strategic Cooperation Council (SCC), the joint coordinating activity between COOP+ Open Board (OB) and COOPEUS Strategic Collaboration Board (SCB), works to ensure the seamless integration of the strategies developed within the COOPEUS AND COOP+ projects between research infrastructures in the environmental field on both sides of the Atlantic. The Strategic Cooperation Council is operating under the concept of a joint group. Specifically, a two-track mode: i) decision-making activities, largely focused on COOP+ OB activities versus ii) versus advisory activities, continuing to work on defining and operationalizing the SCB. The SCC is composed of representatives of Research Infrastructures (RI) to bring the perspective of organizations that are involved in the development of funding strategies.

April 13th, 2018

U.S. Global Change Research Project (USGCRP) Releases Climate Science Special Report (CSSR): Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4)

This report is an authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, with a focus on the United States. It represents the first of two volumes of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990. This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence. The observed increase in carbon emissions over the past 15-20 years has been consistent with higher emissions pathways. In 2014 and 2015, emission growth rates slowed as economic growth became less carbon-intensive. Even if this slowing trend continues, however, it is not yet at a rate that would limit global average temperature change to well below 3.6°F (2°C) above preindustrial levels.

USGCRP, 2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 470 pp, doi: 10.7930/J0J964J6.

BATTELLE - NEON Becomes a Research Data Alliance (RDA) Organizational Member

The current global research data landscape is highly fragmented, by disciplines or by domains, from oceanography, life sciences and health, to agriculture, space and climate. The RDA enables data to be shared across barriers through focused Working Groups and Interest Groups, formed of experts from around the world & from academia, industry and government to directly and logically tackle numerous data infrastructure challenges. The RDA vision is building the social and technical bridges that enable researchers and innovators to openly share data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society. For many global organizations, RDA is a vehicle to help incorporate data sharing technologies. RDA has a lot of momentum in being the premier science and technology forum for advancing computer science, informatics, data portals, interoperability, etc for the environmental sciences. Plus, they are international in scope.

We have recently named BEI a delegate to be part of the Assembly that convenes at RDA Plenaries and the election of the RDA Organizational Assembly Board. As a RDA Organizational Member (OM), we have an institutional voice to provide strategic direction, and assist in the implementation and adoption of RDA’s Recommendations. Also, as an OM we can work with and develop ‘RDA working groups’ (this incorporates a different stakeholder engagement strategy and can augment and supplement our current strategy), and we will have a voice in the RDA forum, to provide advice and counsel on the best way forward to tackle future problems faced in data exchange/informatics/interoperability.

With our new Organizational Membership, Battelle will be participating in the 11th RDA Plenary Meeting, which focuses on the development of infrastructure and community activities aimed to reduce barriers to data sharing and exchange, and promote the acceleration of data driven innovation worldwide. Under the theme "From Data to Knowledge", the Plenary meeting includes the participation of all data scientists, experts and practitioners engaged in the advancement of data-driven science and economy.

Strategic Cooperation Council (SCC) Meeting at American Geophysical Union (AGU) Conference

During the 2017 Fall AGU Meeting in New Orleans, representatives from COOPEUS and COOP+ stakeholder research infrastructures took advantage of the opportunity to co-locate a meeting of the COOPEUS Strategic Cooperation Board and the recently formed COOP+ Open Board. The group met on 14 December 2017 to hear brief activity updates from COOPEUS and COOP+, to hold the inaugural meeting of the COOP+ Open Board, and to discuss the re-alignment of the governance of the two efforts. From the meeting, we have realigned this newsletter as the Strategic Cooperation Council (SCC).

Discussions on governance identified the need to avoid overlap and proliferation of these types of activities. Closely linked to the overlap conversation, the group also discussed the appropriate focus for governance e.g. procedural, decisional, process. The group also highlighted the important role that governance can play in facilitating culture change in these communities of practice. A decision was made to hold another face-to-face meeting with a notion to include representatives from other entities that work in aligned spaces, such as RDA, World Data System, CODATA, GEO, and ESIP.

The COOP+ Open Board portion of meeting outlined the Open Board structure and function and presented an overview of a key deliverable for the COOP+ project to be developed by the Open Board in consultation with the SCB. This deliverable is a strategic planning document for COOP+.

The meeting at AGU is part of a new effort to hold monthly tag-ups of these groups. These monthly tag-ups are designed to identify and share knowledge gained as part of COOPEUS and COOP+ projects and activities. These meetings are also part of the effort to re-think the organizational aspects of the overarching activity. The hope is to create a common sense of direction and a shared history of constructive interactions. This shared history of progress will better support the overarching goals to align national and regional research infrastructures with their counterparts in other regions.


Dr. Henry (Hank) Loescher

Dr. Loescher’s career has been at the nexus of science, engineering and project development. Formally educated as an Ecosystem Scientist. He received his PhD and MSc from the University of Florida. He was the second hire for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), a first-of-its continental-scale ecology major research facility that integrates science, engineering and project management. Hank has lead multiple NEON Project Science Teams (i.e., Instruments, Mobile Platforms, Aquatic) through the important NSF/NSB Review stage and early construction. Hank was also part of a small elite team that crafted NEON's Continental Design, and has contributed to numerous engineering efforts. He is currently directing NEON’s strategic development efforts (presentations available), and focusing on public/private enterprises. His research interests include determining the biotic and abiotic controls on ecosystem-level carbon and energy balance across spatial and temporal scales. He continues to publish, and has over 70 peer review papers. Prior to his tenure at NEON, he was at Oregon State University administrating the DOE AmeriFlux Program.

Staff Bio

Melissa Genazzio

Melissa Genazzio is the CoopEUS Staff Scientist funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI) initiative. She works to engage, broaden participation, and coordinate COOPEUS partnerships and NEON planned activities. This unique large-scale Project Science management supports the US Observatories in this endeavor and works closely with our EU counterpart to achieve COOPEUS’s goals.

Staff Bio

Dr. Mike SanClements

Mike is a forest soil scientist whose research has expanded into the limnology and biogeochemistry of temperate and polar ecosystems. Mike joined NEON following a post-doctoral appointment at the University of Colorado Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). Since 2015 Mike has led the Terrestrial Instrument Science Team at NEON. In addition to his leadership role at NEON Mike continues to be an active researcher in the fields of terrestrial and aquatic biogeochemistry and is the Incoming Chair Elect of the Soil Science Society of America Forest, Range, and Wildland Soils. Beyond research, Mike is extremely interested in journalism and writing about environmental topics for the popular press--he is the author of the book Plastic Purge published by St. Martin’s Press. Mike holds a B.S. in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana, an M.S. in Soil Science from North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maine (2009).

Staff Bio

Dave Durden

David Durden is a Surface Atmosphere Data Scientist in the Terrestrial Instrumented Systems team for the NEON project. His efforts are related to fostering globally interoperable environmental observations through collaboration between research networks, implementing standard approaches for algorithmic processing of environmental data, and developing open source software to accompany data products to increase data provenance. He has provided leadership in the GEO Carbon and GHG initiative under Task 3 “Optimizing in-situ measurement across networks” by participating in the initiative’s kickoff meeting and providing an invited talk at the 2017 GEO plenary meeting.

Staff Bio

Learn more about our collaborators

Science Strategy Overview

The 2011 Science Strategy builds upon the 2006 ISEP and the 2009 NEON Observatory Design.

The National Ecological Observatory Network is a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation and operated under cooperative agreement by Battelle. Check out the PowerPoint presentation An observatory approach to enable ecological forecasting: The role of the National Ecological Observatory Network, which provides general information on the science rationale and design for the National Ecological Observatory Network, and introduces the concepts of interoperability.

For more information, please contact Dr. Henry (Hank) Loescher.

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