- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
U.S. Ocean Scientists Search for Top 10 List
25 February 2014 11:00 pm
HONOLULU—Marine researchers are facing a 15 March deadline for weighing in on how the National Science Foundation (NSF) should set priorities for U.S. ocean science over the next decade.
“Now is the time to speak up—we’re looking for ideas,” said oceanographer Shirley Pomponi, the co-chair of a blue ribbon panel charged with advising NSF on the issue, here on Tuesday at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting. The priority-setting effort comes as U.S. ocean scientists voice increasing concerns about the future of their field, which is struggling to sustain a robust research fleet and adapt to stagnating funding.
To address such issues, last year NSF officials asked the panel, organized by the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council (NRC), to develop “a compelling research strategy for increased understanding of the oceans over the decade 2015-2025.” NSF is one of the major funders of marine research; its oceans office has spent some $350 million annually over the past few years, and the agency has played a major role in building costly new ships, automated seafloor observatories, and networks of instrumented buoys and floats.
As money has gotten tighter, however, ocean researchers have sometimes disagreed about science and spending priorities. For example, some have argued for investing in robotic instruments rather than new ships.
The NRC panel hopes to help defuse such internal conflicts by developing a long-term consensus plan similar to those adopted by astronomers and physicists. Its Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences, scheduled to be released in early 2015, is supposed to identify both high-priority research projects and the infrastructure needed to conduct them. And it will examine how NSF could work with other federal agencies, such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to fund research.
To fuel its discussions, the panel—co-chaired by Pomponi and former U.S. Navy oceanographer David Titley of Pennsylvania State University—is first surveying researchers, asking them to identify three top research priorities within and outside of their disciplines, as well as three ideas for needed technology or infrastructure. The panel has set up a website to collect the responses and has so far gotten about 200, but would like to see more by the mid-March deadline.
The next step, Pomponi says, will be to whittle the suggestions down to a manageable number. “We’re thinking no more than 10 priorities,” she told an audience at the meeting. And she’s hoping that a consensus will emerge: “We don’t want this to be a food fight among the different disciplines of ocean sciences.”