NEON 2001 Excerpt


National Ecological Observatory Network -- Budget Excerpts

(Millions of Dollars)

1 In FY 1999, $34.67 million was carried over into FY 2000, largely in support of the South Pole Station Modernization Project.

 

The FY 2001 Request includes $12.0 million to initiate construction of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). To complete this project, this Budget requests advance appropriations of $20.0 million in FY 2002, $27.0 million in FY 2003, $20.0 million in FY 2004, $14.0 million in FY 2005, and $7.0 million in FY 2006. Total NSF funding for construction of this project, including the experimental facilities, archives and network, is $100.0 million over the period FY 2001-2006. Funding for the maintenance and operations of NEON will be provided through the Research and Related Activities account.

NEON will consist of 10 observatories nationwide that will serve as national research platforms for integrated, cutting-edge research in field biology. Each observatory will pursue interdisciplinary research using state-of-the-art infrastructure. Collectively, the network of 10 observatories will form a large array that will allow scientists to conduct experiments on ecological systems at all levels of biological organization from molecular genetics to whole ecosystems and across scales ranging from seconds to geological time and from microns to regions and continents. NEON is needed to understand how our nation's ecosystems function and to predict their responses to natural and anthropogenic events. NEON will also systematically and directly support application of new technologies, such as functional genomics and molecule-specific stable isotopes, to advance ecological research.

Each NEON observatory will include the site-based experimental infrastructure needed to conduct large, complex field experiments and regional to continental-scale measurement and analysis. Each site will also house and maintain well-documented natural history archive facilities and facilities for biological, physical and data analyses. In addition, each observatory will have unique infrastructure to address site-specific research questions. Intensive studies will be facilitated by standardized equipment for integrated field and laboratory research.

Each site will deploy this infrastructure for use in comprehensive integrated studies of ecosystem processes, biodiversity dynamics, behavioral ecology, population variability, ecophysiology, and molecular genetics in different geographic regions across the U.S. NEON sites will be selected via a peer review process.

The 10 geographically distributed NEON observatories will have scalable computation capabilities and will be networked via satellite and landlines to the very high performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS), to each other, and to specialized facilities, such as supercomputer centers. By creating one virtual installation via a cutting-edge computational network, all members of the field biology research community will be able to access NEON remotely. This will facilitate the predictive modeling of biological systems via data sharing and synthesis efforts by users of the facility. It will also enhance interagency and international collaboration in field biology research.

Construction funding for the NEON physical facilities is scheduled to be completed in FY 2006. A Coordinating Unit, established through a competitive, peer-reviewed process, will operate NEON. This Unit will promote Network-level activities, coordinate acquisition of, or develop, computer software for communication and information sharing, and test and develop new technologies for NEON research with input from all NEON host institutions, affiliate organizations, and the user community.

NSF Support for NEON

(Millions of Dollars)

*Maintenance and Operations costs funded through Biological Sciences in the Research and Related Activities account.

Milestones for the NEON are outlined below:

FY 2001 Milestones:

Initiate construction of experimental, archival and analytical core facilities for first cohort of NEON sites;
Procure and install analytical instrumentation and research equipment; and
Start development of system architecture for the flow, integration and networking of data, communications and materials
across the fully operational NEON.

FY 2002 Milestones:

Initiate competition for management of NEON Coordinating Unit (NCU);
Complete construction of core facilities for first NEON cohort;
Beta test core facilities of first NEON cohort;
Initiate construction of experimental and analytical core facilities for second cohort (3) of NEON sites;
Procure and install analytical instrumentation and research equipment for second cohort; and
Complete development and begin testing of system architecture for data, communication, and materials flow across NEON.

FY 2003 Milestones:

Establish NEON Coordinating Unit;
Finish construction of core facilities for second NEON cohort;
Beta test core facilities of second NEON cohort;
Initiate construction of experimental and analytical core facilities for third cohort (4) of NEON sites
Procure and install analytical instrumentation and research equipment for third cohort; and
Complete testing and begin implementation of networking and integration interfaces.

FY 2004 Milestones:

Finish core facilities for the third NEON cohort;
Beta test core facilities of third cohort;
Refine (if necessary) and implement refined network and integration interface system across all NEON sites; and
NCU solicits proposals and allocates resources to user community.

FY 2005 Milestones:

Complete construction of specialized facilities for third NEON cohort;
Begin construction of specialized facilities that require simultaneous, multiple-site installation;
Beta test core facilities for third NEON cohort, solicit proposals and make user awards;
Implement fully developed and tested networking system; and
NCU solicits proposals and allocates resources to user community.

FY 2006 Milestones:

Complete construction of specialized facilities that require simultaneous, multiple-site installation
All sites operational;
NCU solicits proposals and allocates resources to user community;
Networking completed; and
Management structure in place.