Battelle Awarded $416 Million From the U.S. National Science Foundation to Operate the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a highly competitive five-year award to Battelle for the continued operations and maintenance of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). NEON is a ground-breaking continental-scale large facility that is specifically designed to enable long-term, open-access, standardized ecological data collection. From 81 U.S. field sites, the Observatory collects and provides free and open data and samples that enable scientists to characterize, quantify, and predict how our nation's ecosystems are changing.
"We are excited to work closely with the full scientific community to expand the reach and impact of NEON data and assets to strengthen science and education," said NEON Chief Scientist and Observatory Director Paula Mabee. "Battelle was selected to complete construction and manage operations of NEON by the NSF first in 2016, and we will continue to advance the NEON mission over the coming years."
Under this award, Battelle will provide more than 180 data products to the ecological research community. NEON data has been the basis of over 600 scientific papers and has been cited nearly 17,000 times in other publications. Use of the data portal has steadily increased each year with more than 70,000 visitors in 2022 alone.
"We are appreciative of the support from so many dedicated individuals, programs, societies, and agencies over the past seven years," said Mike Janus, General Manager of the Environment & Infrastructure business unit. "We look forward to maintaining and expanding these partnerships as we build new programs that use NEON data to better understand our world."
NEON is a national investment with assets across the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Data generation and usage are increasing daily and are regularly being used and cited by researchers around the world for their studies. Beyond collecting open data and samples, under Battelle management NEON creates a plethora of resources for researchers, educators, land managers, and more. Education and training initiatives include workshops, seminars, tutorials, data skills courses, and code sharing. Across NEON's 20 Domains, community outreach helps show people the importance of ecological data, and how to use it in their daily lives or local classrooms.
In addition to continuing the operation and maintenance of NEON through this cooperative agreement, Battelle's collaboration with the NSF also includes a contract to enable Arctic research by providing logistical, operational, and other critical support.
"We share a mission with the NSF in harnessing the power of science to enhance discoveries that benefit the world," said Battelle President and CEO Lou Von Thaer. "We have worked vigorously over the last seven years to institute a culture at NEON focused on safety, diversity, and operational excellence. We brought the full force of our expertise and long history of operating large, complex research programs for federal agencies to NEON and are proud of its current success and optimistic about an even better future."
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit www.battelle.org.
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