Establishes a center that supports education, training and research through analysis and synthesis of open biological and environmental data to rapidly advance understanding of the Earth's biota in the face of environmental change.
NSF seeks to establish a Center fueled by open and freely available biological and other environmental data to catalyze novel scientific questions in environmental biology through the use of data-intensive approaches, team science and research networks, and training in the accession, management, analysis, visualization, and synthesis of large data sets. The Center will provide vision for speeding discovery through the increased use of large, publicly accessible datasets to address biological research questions through collaborations with scientists in other related disciplines. The Center will be an exemplar in open science and team science, fostering development of generalizable cyberinfrastructure solutions and community-driven standards for software, data, and metadata that support open and team science, and role-modeling best practices. Open biological and other environmental data are produced by NSF investments in research and infrastructure such as the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs), Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio), and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), as well as by many other public and private initiatives in the U.S. and worldwide. These efforts afford opportunities for collaborative investigation into, and predictive understanding of life on Earth to a far greater degree than ever before. The Center will help develop the teams, concepts, resources, and expertise to enable inclusive, effective, and coordinated efforts to answer the broad scientific questions for which these open data were designed, as well as key questions that emerge at interfaces between biology, informatics, and a breadth of environmental sciences. It will engage scientists diverse in their demography, disciplinary expertise, and geography, and in the institutions that they represent in collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and synthetic studies. It is expected that this new Center will build on decades of experience from NSF's prior investments in other synthesis centers, while providing visionary leadership and advancement for data-intensive team science in a highly connected and increasingly virtual world. It will serve as an incubator for team-based, data-driven, and open research that includes cyberinfrastructure, tools, services, and application development and innovative and inclusive training programs. The Center is also expected to spur collaborative interactions among the facilities and initiatives that produce open biological and other environmental data, and cyberinfrastructure efforts that support the curation and use of those data, such as Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO), CyVerse, Environmental Data Initiative (EDI), DataOne, EarthCube, and Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Centers for Excellence, to address compelling research questions and to enable training and data product and tool development. The new Center will further enable data-driven discovery through immersive education and training experiences to provide the advanced skills needed to maximize the scientific potential of large volumes of available open data.