Understanding the impacts of climate change and the loss of biodiversity, and predicting and preparing for extreme environmental disturbances such as wildfires, floods and drought, require combining and synthesizing data sets that provide information at varying scales.
To support the analysis and integration of these data and advance the use of data-intensive approaches and training in environmental science, the U.S. National Science Foundation has announced the creation of the Environmental Data Science Innovation and Inclusion Lab, or ESIIL (pronounced "easel"), through a $20 million, five-year award to the University of Colorado Boulder. Scientist Jennifer Balch is the principal investigator. The new synthesis center is funded jointly by NSF's Directorate for Biological Sciences and Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
ESIIL's open Collaborative and Scalable Environment cyberinfrastructure will lower barriers to scientific collaboration by connecting to data sources such as NSF's National Ecological Observatory Network, Long-Term Ecological Research Network, Ocean Observatories Initiative and Critical Zone Collaborative Network. It will also provide tailored user experiences as well as analytics and cloud computing. By hosting open education resources on a learning and research portal, ESIIL's impact will scale to a global audience.