University of Southern California


NSF 14-553 – EarthScope National Office (ESNO)

Slots:                                                    One                      
Nomination per School:               One
Proposals may not be submitted directly by the PI; nominations are submitted by the School’s Research Dean’s Office.    

LOI:                                                         NA
Internal Deadline:                          June 9, 2014
External Deadline:                         September 24, 2014
Award Information:                       
Type:  Standard Grant or Continuing Grant or Cooperative Agreement
Estimated Number of Awards: 1
Anticipated Amount:  $600,000
Estimated average of approximately $600,000 per year for FY2015 and in subsequent years, for up to 4 years, pending annual performance and availability of funds.

Materials to Office of Research: Single Page Proposal Summary (0.5” margins; single-spaced; font type: Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia typeface; font size: 11 pt.). CV – (4 pages maximum)

Link to Award:

Purpose: EarthScope is an Earth science program to explore the 4-dimensional structure of the North American continent. The EarthScope Program provides a framework for broad, integrated studies across the Earth sciences, including research on fault properties and the earthquake process, strain transfer, magmatic and hydrous fluids in the crust and mantle, plate boundary processes, large-scale continental deformation, continental structure and evolution, and composition and structure of the deep Earth. In addition, EarthScope offers multiple opportunities for Earth science education at all levels and an excellent opportunity to develop cyberinfrastructure to integrate, distribute, and analyze diverse data sets.

The nucleus of the Program is the EarthScope Facility, a multi-purpose array of instruments and observatories consisting of the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD), and the USArray. These observatories provide an unprecedented amount of geophysical data to address the processes that formed and continue to deform North America.

A series of community meetings and workshops beginning in 1999 culminated in the publication of EarthScope facility construction and science plans in October 2001 and March 2002, respectively. A key need identified in the community-developed integrated science plan (“EarthScope: Scientific Targets for the World’s Largest Observatory Pointed at the Solid Earth”; available from was “EarthScope must proactively develop a communication mechanism with the broad research community capable of using EarthScope data and results.” One option identified in the plan was the creation of an “EarthScope Office”, with responsibilities that could include serving as a “central clearing house” for EarthScope products; initiating peer-reviewed, integrated EarthScope publications (for example, monographs and/or comprehensive annual EarthScope science reports); organizing workshops and sessions at national meetings; publishing a monthly newsletter, and maintaining an up-to-date Web presence, including an EarthScope archive. NSF adopted the concept of such an EarthScope National Office for which a periodic competition would be held.

Duties of the next EarthScope National Office

NSF invites proposals to build on this success and develop the third EarthScope National Office. Duties of this office will include, but are not limited to:

In addition, the next office will coordinate a community-wide EarthScope education and outreach (E&O) effort centered on the five major goals of the EarthScope E&O Implementation Plan (

  1. Create a high-profile public identity for EarthScope that emphasizes the integrated nature of the scientific discoveries and the importance of EarthScope research initiatives;
  2. Establish a sense of ownership among scientific, professional, and educational communities and the public so that a diverse group of individuals and organizations can and will make contributions to EarthScope;
  3. Promote science literacy and understanding of EarthScope among all audiences through informal education venues;
  4. Advance formal Earth science education by promoting inquiry-based classroom investigations that focus on understanding Earth and the interdisciplinary nature of EarthScope; and
  5. Foster use of EarthScope data, discoveries, and new technology in resolving challenging problems and improving our quality of life.

The E&O effort should effectively ensure that EarthScope data and discoveries, and their implications, reach a broad spectrum of local, regional, and national audiences, including scientists, educators, students, landowners, policymakers, and the general public. The EarthScope E&O effort will explicitly encourage partnerships with underrepresented institutions and non-profit organizations, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI), Community and Tribal Colleges, National Parks, and museums.

The next National Office will pursue additional activities that are compatible with the fundamental mission of the EarthScope National Office: to foster, facilitate, coordinate, and support integrated science, education, outreach, and related activities for the EarthScope program.

EarthScope National Office Structure

NSF anticipates that successful operations and management of the next National Office will require a senior-level scientist (the proposal PI) who will serve as the part-time ESNO Director and manage the activities of the office; a full-time EarthScope E&O Coordinator, whose effort will be devoted to the EarthScope E&O program; and additional dedicated support staff who will perform the other functions of the office. The ESNO Director will also chair the EarthScope Steering Committee. NSF anticipates that the next EarthScope National Office will continue to leverage the capabilities of the EarthScope Facility and will work in partnership with ESSC, NSF, and the community in order to achieve the mission of the office.