February 2021 Merger Update

Ronni Grapenthin rgrapenthin at alaska.edu
Mon Feb 8 18:13:04 UTC 2021

Dear IRIS and UNAVCO Community,

It’s now been a couple of months since the successful membership votes that
approved the merger of UNAVCO and IRIS into the EarthScope Consortium. In
our capacities as Board Chairs, we wanted to reach out to keep you updated
on ongoing developments and progress by our community-governed

A Steering Committee consisting of UNAVCO and IRIS Board members and staff
is designing the process and the overarching vision for organizing the
EarthScope Consortium. The Steering Committee members are:

Rick Aster, Chair IRIS Board
Becks Bendick, UNAVCO President
Jerry Carter, IRIS Director of Data Services
Ronni Grapenthin, Chair UNAVCO Board
Glen Mattioli, UNAVCO Director of Geodetic Infrastructure
Brandon Schmandt, IRIS Board
Tonie Van Dam, UNAVCO Board
Bob Woodward, IRIS President

This group just charged four focused Planning Teams to assess scope and
examine operations in the specific areas of Financial and Information
Services, Human Resources, Programmatic Scope, and Community Governance.
Throughout, the accessible, efficient, and community governed culture and
operations of the EarthScope Consortium will be highly consistent with
those of our present consortia, as codified in our recently approved bylaws.

We also issued a final call for participation in our Request For
Information (RFI) related to future locations of the EarthScope Consortium,
a key step in identifying collaborators for the recompetition of NSF’s
geophysical facility. Responses are due by 5:00 PM MT February 26, 2021.
Please see the original RFI
<https://www.iris.edu/hq/news/story/geophysical_facility_rfi> for
background information.

While taking steps towards plans for merging operations, and thus
competitively positioning our community for NSF facility recompetition
(with the RFP expected to be released before the second half of 2021, and
proposals expected to be due in early 2022), IRIS and UNAVCO continue to be
collaboratively engaged in serving our joint communities under the SAGE and
GAGE awards. Recent and ongoing joint efforts, incorporating community
partners and guidance, include initiatives in Cloud Data Storage and Data
Distribution, Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure, and Education and Public

A successful response to the upcoming next generation NSF facility call
requires us to think deeply about the services and capabilities that will
best serve the geophysics community with scientific exchange, research
support, outreach, training, and technical innovation. This means designing
a new EarthScope Consortium organization from the ground up to create a
single, efficient, and optimal organizational structure that leverages the
very best elements of IRIS and UNAVCO while continuing to serve our
communities and missions under the SAGE and GAGE awards through 2023.
Fortunately, these dual roles are as much an opportunity as they are a
challenge as we draw on our deep community and staff expertise to determine
ways to be more innovative, responsive, and efficient.

If you have questions or concerns about recompetition and merger planning,
please reach out to any member of the Steering Committee and/or your IRIS
and UNAVCO committees. We will strive to be transparent and engaged with
our community regarding ongoing SAGE/GAGE efforts, the recompetition
process, and the transition to EarthScope.


Rick and Ronni

*(currently telecommuting - reach me via email)*
Ronni Grapenthin (he / him / his)
Associate Professor of Geodesy
Geophysical Institute
University of Alaska Fairbanks
2156 Koyukuk Drive
Fairbanks, AK-99775

web: http://www.grapenthin.org
office: Elvey 413B
phone: +1 907 474 7286
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