By: EarthCube Engagement Team

When setting out to create fundamental change, you need a robust outreach strategy. Outreach and broader impacts across a broad spectrum of media has become an intrinsic part of any scientific endeavor. Early career researchers are showcasing their field work on Instagram, tweeting about social issues in academia, organizing events on Facebook, and using personal blogs to share complexities of their work with their colleagues, or even make their work more accessible to the general public.  To help provide broader exposure for researchers and their research products, EarthCube has provided a number of targeted opportunities; opportunities that help highlight individuals, projects, EarthCube, and – by focusing on diversity among early career researchers and speakers – on the future of the geosciences as a whole.

Welcome to EarthCube!
EarthCube is an ambitious NSF-funded initiative with the mission of creating fundamental change by building a federated cyberinfrastructure platform for the geosciences. Through this cyberinfrastructure, researchers will be able to work together in ways not previously possible; to introduce new tools, develop new hypotheses, and to improve our ability to communicate science in an accessible, reproducible, and sustainable way.


While this vision for change, and much of the early work, has been completed by researchers with well-established and highly-esteemed careers, it will be the early career scientists, working on projects often unrelated to the original funded projects, who will truly benefit by taking the envisioned cyberinfrastructure beyond its conceived potential. It will be this new generation of researcher who will ultimately fulfill EarthCube’s mission of transforming geosciences in the 21st century.

Bringing the Geosciences into the 21st Century
In anticipation of fundamental change coming from next generation of researchers, EarthCube has created a number of outreach and engagement programs focused on early career promotion and the adoption of EarthCube technologies. These programs have been a tremendous success, and they will continue grow.

Early Career Travel Grants [link]

  • Available to early career researchers at all stages of their education, including B.Sc and M.Sc students actively engaged in research related to EarthCube. Last year, we supported the travel of 10 scientists, with several from outside the EarthCube network. These researchers presented their work at Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, the Ecological Society of America meeting, and the the 2015 Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium, among many others. In an effort to promote inclusivity and diversity in the earth sciences, additional funding for researchers from under-represented STEM backgrounds were provided to 60% of the recipients.

Distinguished Lecturer Program [link]

  • Last year the Distinguished Lecturer program supported 17 presentations at institutions across the United States. Researchers presented of their own work, but were required to provide a high level overview of EarthCube as part of the program (using this community slide deck). Distinguished Lecturers spoke at universities ranging from R1 institutions to regional, largely undergraduate institutions. Funding is provided for travel, with a larger supplement available for early career researchers to promote career diversity within the Distinguished Lecturer speaker list.

EarthCube Tools Webinar Series

  • Over the past year, the Science Committee has sponsored nine monthly “EarthCube Tools for Doing Geoscience” webinars to connect geoscientists with resources developed by Building Blocks (BB), Research Coordination Networks (RCN), and other EarthCube funded projects. More information is available here, including a calendar with upcoming webinars. Don’t miss a demonstration of SuAVE (Survey Analysis via Visual Exploration) on November 18.

EarthCube Visiting Scientist Program

  • For geoscientists inspired to build collaborations with developers of EarthCube cyberinfrastructure, the EarthCube Visiting Scientist Program provides travel funds to graduate students and early career scientists to visit EarthCube projects. Participants are encouraged to meeting with project leaders to learn more about implementing their resources to advance the researcher’s science goals. Thus far, 2 visiting scientists have been funded through this mechanism, and one became an official 2016 team member on a newly funded EarthCube project


Will you join us?
Through a number of parallel but distinct programs, EarthCube is promoting the transformative potential of geoscience research. EarthCube funds projects with tangible benefits for researchers in the geosciences by strengthening the underlying technology of existing data portals (e.g., EarthLife Consortium), developing new tools for accessing real time data services (e.g., CHORDS), and providing early support to geoscientific data discovery (e.g., FlyOver Country).  Enabling the next generation of researchers to adopt and continue to improve EarthCube technologies is critical to ensuring our long term success..

If you are an early career scientist with an interest in contributing to a fundamental change in the geosciences that will improve the way you do your own research, visit the EarthCube Opportunities site and find out how EarthCube can support you and your department!

The following people contributed to this post:

Simon Goring; Xuan Yu; Raleigh Martin; Sarah Stamps, Elisha M Wood-Charlson; Kenneth Rubin