NSF recently awarded the LTER National Communications Office (LNCO) to the University of California at Santa Barbara (PI Frank Davis; Co-PIs Carol Blanchette, Jenn Caselle, Matt Jones, Stacy Rebich Hespanha, and Mark Schildhauer). The office will be operated at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in downtown Santa Barbara. The LNCO is conceived as an integrated set of activities in three areas - Communication and Outreach, Synthesis Research, and Education and Training – that builds on NCEAS' longstanding relationship with LTER scientists, leverages existing staff capacity and infrastructure, and takes advantage of UCSB’s strengths and resources in ecology, environmental science and management, environmental communication and media, and environmental informatics.
The purpose of this working group is to initiate discussions with the LTER community regarding ways to maximize the LNCO's effectiveness in meeting its primary roles, which are to “foster and coordinate research, education, and outreach activities across the Network as well as facilitate Network governance”…and to “promote the LTER program both nationally and internationally” (NSF Program Solicitation 15-535).
The co-organizers will provide a brief overview of the proposed LNCO. Discusion topics will include (but not be limited to):
- How would you like to see the LNCO effort allocated in terms of promoting engagement within the LTER community ("intra-network") vs. between the LTER community and other constituencies ("outreach")?
- What are key needs and priorities for catalyzing and enabling synthesis research among LTER scientists and among LTER, ILTER and non-LTER researchers?
- What collaboration mechanisms/modalities are most urgently needed now? e.g., support for in-person working group meetings; on-demand videoteleconferencing "meeting rooms"; email lists; shared document repositories?
- What are the most urgent graduate and early career training needs in open science, synthesis, and science communication?
- What is the current capacity at LTER sites for public engagement and how can the LNCO helpfully add to that capacity?
- Are there specific issues that should be the focus of additional early discussions between the LNCO and LTER community?