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Fall 2021 Message from Division Director, Dr. Steven Goldstein

November 9, 2021

Dear EAR Community

As I write this letter, we’re into the 2022 fiscal year. Over the last year, the EAR Staff has worked hard to support the Earth Science research community, focusing on four main priorities – funding Earth Science research and education, dealing with effects of COVID-19, promoting BAJEDI (Belonging, Accessibility, Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) in the Earth Sciences, and prioritizing and implementing the Earth in Time report. EAR is proud of our performance on these fronts, all of which are works in progress.

Responding to COVID-19, EAR’s efforts included a letter in early 2021 that we sent to every PI and co-PI of an active award, outlining what to do in order to apply for COVID relief. This resulted in the disbursement of several million dollars in supplements that targeted support for students, postdocs, and technicians, who are the most vulnerable cohorts in our community. In addition, funds from the American Rescue Plan allowed us to fund many deserving proposals, which we are pleased to say included 34 EAR Postdoctoral Fellowships, about twice as many as we had expected to be able to fund.

EAR has continued to work hard to support BAJEDI principles. We are keenly aware that good intentions are not enough, and we need to ensure results. More than half of the EAR American Rescue Plan funds were used to forward BAJEDI objectives by supporting individuals and institutions that represent underrepresented groups in the geosciences. In addition, our internal EAR BAJEDI Working group has been working on language for solicitations to further the broadening of participation by underrepresented groups, better monitor compliance on broader impacts, and address outstanding issues regarding work on Native/Tribal lands.

In order to address the recommendations in the Earth in Time report, EAR has working groups assigned to focus on each one of them. And there has been great news that one of the recommendations, to build a Very Large Multi-Anvil Press, can be taken off the checklist because “FORCE” – Facility for Open Research in a Compressed Environment(Award 2131833) has been funded to the tune of $13.7M as part of the NSF-wide Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure Program (Mid-Scale RI-1). Congratulations go to Kurt Leinenweber and the rest of the group at Arizona State University.

We’ve been pleased with the community responses to webinars that we’ve hosted over the past few weeks on two facilities solicitations. One, which we call “Beamlines”, is NSF 21-592 – Community Facility Support: Synchrotron-based analytical capabilities advancing Earth and Environmental Sciences research and training (full proposals due 3/4/22), will support access for NSF PIs to U.S. synchrotron facilities and reflects a long-standing and productive partnership with the DOE. The second one, which we call “Geohazards,” is NSF 21-628 – Centers for Innovation and Community Engagement in Solid Earth Geohazards (Letters of Intent due 11/30/21), will fund the next phase of basic geohazards research. Both solicitations involve significant budget increases.

As in my other letters to the community, I encourage communication with the Division of Earth Sciences. NSF is a bottom-up agency that responds to the community, and we need to hear from the community. If you have anything you want to share, please don’t hesitate to contact the appropriate Program Directors, or send me an email at

Dr. Steven Goldstein

Division Director, Earth Sciences

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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