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NSF EAR Express Update - Summer 2023

NSF Division of Earth Sciences Express Update Summer 2023 Banner

NSF Division of Earth Sciences Express Update Summer 2023 Banner

August 28, 2023

A Message from the Division Director for NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) 

Dear Colleagues,  

The summer months are a busy time at NSF, as we work to close-out the budget for this fiscal year and begin preparations for the year ahead. We have been very excited to see such a positive response to the GEO-EMBRACE (add link) and GEO-CM (add link) Dear Colleague Letters and I look forward to providing a more detailed update about these activities once we have completed this year’s close-out process.  

This is also a great time to reflect and consider the many changes and accomplishments of our team members. We are excited to welcome several new staff members to the EAR team, including two new rotating program directors, Kevin Mandernack with Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry and Rachel Teasdale with Petrology and Geochemistry; a permanent program director, Paul Cutler with our Midscale Facilities portfolio; and a new mission support team member, Samantha Page. We also celebrate the careers and contributions of two retiring team members, Patty Brooking and Russell Kelz, and thank them for their many years of service to the Division of Earth Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the broader scientific community.   

Earth Sciences staff members have attended several meetings this summer and you will find brief updates below.  We are already making plans to attend several upcoming meetings this fall, including that National Association for Black Geoscientists Annual Technical Conference in Washington DC, the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Pittsburgh, PA (congratulations to Program Officer Dr. Jennifer Wenner on being elected to be a GSA Fellow), the NDiSTEM Conference/SACNAS in Portland, OR, and the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, CA.  EAR representatives will be attending these meetings and are excited to visit with you and discuss NSF news and funding opportunities. 

But no matter what time of year, we are always eager to hear from you. If you have any questions or information that you’d like to share, please reach out to one of our program team members HERE or send an email to me. 

Dena Smith-Nufio 

Division Director, Earth Sciences 



EAR Staffing Updates


New Staff

Dr. Kevin Mandernack has joined the Geobiology and Low-temperature Geochemistry Program as a rotator in the Division of Earth Sciences. Dr. Mandernack comes from the Department of Science and Mathematics at the California State University, Maritime.  His research focuses on biogeochemical cycling of elements in modern and ancient environments; characterization of microbial communities through cell membrane lipid and molecular analyses; measurement of reaction rates and microbial activities; and biomineralization processes.

Dr. Rachel Teasdale has joined the Petrology and Geochemistry program team as a rotator in the Division of Earth Sciences. Dr. Teasdale comes from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at California State University, Chico where her research includes lava flow emplacement processes, and petrologic investigations of southern Cascades volcanoes in the Lassen region and geoscience education research. 

Ms. Samantha Page has joined EAR as a Program Specialist. She will be primarily providing logistical support for the Geomorphology and Land-use Dynamics, Tectonics, and Critical Zone programs. Ms. Page previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security/ Secret Service as an Administrative Operations Specialist and the Department of Justice and NRT Property Management as an Administrative Assistant.    

Dr. Paul Cutler has joined the Division of Earth Sciences and will be overseeing our Midscale Infrastructure portfolio. Dr. Paul Cutler comes to EAR from NSF’s Office of Polar Programs where he has been a Program Director in Antarctic Sciences since 2015.  His responsibilities included the Antarctic Glaciology program, the COLDEX Science and Technology Center, the Ice Drilling Program, and the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. Prior to joining OPP, Paul was Program Director for the Geomorphology and Land-use Dynamics program in EAR, as well as acting Section Head and acting Division Director. 

To learn more about EAR new staff members please go HERE. 


After a 47-year career in the federal government, Patty Brooking has decided to retire. Her journey began in June 1975 when she joined the National Science Foundation (NSF). Patty's tenure spanned the administrations of nine Presidents and twelve NSF Directors, reflecting her enduring commitment to public service. Patty Brooking's remarkable career at the federal government and her significant contributions to the NSF community will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy. Her dedication to excellence and her tireless efforts have made a positive impact on the organization and its mission. As she embarks on her well-deserved retirement, she leaves behind a trail of accomplishments that will inspire future generations of public servants. Patty will be missed by her EAR colleagues. We wish her the best in her well-earned retirement.  To learn more about Patty's career please go HERE.

After a 30-year career in the federal government, Russell (Russ) C. Kelz decided to retire. Russ walked into the halls of the National Science Foundation (NSF) at 1800 G. St NW Washington D.C. on 21 September 1992. He started in the Division of Ocean Sciences and joined the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) in 1995 where he worked until his retirement as a Program Director for the Instrumentation and Facilities Program (EAR/IF). Russ made numerous contributions to NSF during his career. Over his career Russ traveled extensively domestically and internationally in service to NSF/EAR to Greenland, Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, Canada and to many parts of the U.S., participating in conferences, workshops, and field excursions. He received his B.S. in Mineral Economics from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and his M.S. in Geological Oceanography from University of Rhode Island under Major Professor Dr. Michael Arthur. Russ will be much missed by his EAR and NSF colleagues. We wish him the best in his well-earned retirement.  To learn more about Russ's career please go HERE.


EAR News

Congratulations to Program Officer Dr. Jennifer Wenner on being elected a Geological Society of America Fellow. Dr. Wenner was nominated for her exemplary mentoring of geoscience students, her development of educational tools for the training of geoscientists, her leadership in the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and her outstanding service as Program Director in the Division of Earth Sciences at the National Science Foundation.  

About GSA Fellows: "Society Fellowship is an honor bestowed on the best of our profession by election at the spring GSA Council meeting. GSA members are nominated by other GSA members in recognition of a sustained record of distinguished contributions to the geosciences and the Geological Society of America through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic, and library responsibilities."   

You can go to the following page to see the full list of 2023 GSA fellows: 


Update to the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) Data and Sample Policy   

On July 14, 2023, NSF published a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), NSF 23-131, announcing an update to the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) Data and Sample Policy. The updated policy applies to EAR proposals submitted after 90 days from publication of this DCL (i.e., after October 12, 2023) and until the policy is updated or replaced. The updated EAR Data and Sample Policy and an updated set of resources for this policy are available here. The updated policy strengthens certain requirements for proposal data management plans (DMPs) and for reporting to NSF on data and sample management activities in EAR awards. NSF recently announced upgrades to and the NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) to make it easier to report on data sharing in project reports. Questions concerning NSF policies for data and sample management and sharing should be directed to the programs to which principal investigators anticipate submitting proposals. 



Navigating NSF and GEO


EAR Program Director Dr. Jennifer Wade created a video on Navigating NSF and the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) for scientists thinking about applying for NSF funding for the first time. In this video Dr. Wade discusses proposal preparation, the merit review process, opportunities in NSF and GEO, and resources to learn more information.


Approaching Deadlines


NSF 22-547 

Cooperative Studies of the Earth's Deep Interior (CSEDI)  

Supports research infrastructure and collaborative, interdisciplinary studies of the Earth's interior, including how interior dynamics affect the Earth’s surface and the evolution of the Earth as a whole. 

Full Proposal Target Date is September 25, 2023 


NSF 22-612 

Paleo Perspectives on Present and Projected Climate (P4CLIMATE) 

The goal of the interdisciplinary P4CLIMATE solicitation is to utilize observational and modeling studies to provide paleo perspectives addressing the two research themes: 1) Past Regional and Seasonal Climate; and 2) Past Climate Forcing, Sensitivity, and Feedbacks. 

Full Proposal Target Date is October 20, 2023 


NSF 22-625 

EAR Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF) 

Supports independent postdoctoral research and professional development in research areas supported by the Division of Earth Sciences. 

Full Proposal Deadline is October 25, 2023 


PD 21-178Y 

Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD-EN) 

Supports creating a network of professionals to implement evidence-based best practices and resources that improve diversity, equity and inclusion within the geosciences. 

Full Proposal Target Date is October 27, 2023 


NSF 21-628 

Centers for Innovation and Community Engagement in Solid Earth Geohazards 

Supports university-based centers that study the solid Earth processes underpinning natural hazards, broaden participation of underrepresented groups in the geoscience workforce, and foster community engagement through public outreach and hazard mitigation. 

Letter of Intent Deadline is November 16, 2023 


NSF 22-632 

Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation (CSSI) 

The Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation (CSSI) program seeks to enable funding opportunities that are flexible and responsive to the evolving and emerging needs in cyberinfrastructure (CI). The program continues to emphasize integrated CI services, quantitative metrics with targets for delivery and usage of these services, and community creation. 

Full Proposal Deadline is December 1, 2023 


NSF 23-594 Geoinformatics (GI)                                                                           Supports the development of community cyberinfrastructure to advance research and education in the Earth sciences.                                                                                

Full Proposal Target Date is December 1, 2023 


To view more funding opportunities please go here. 

REMINDER: Many EAR programs no longer have deadlines. We encourage you to review the solicitation of the program you are interested in and reach out to the program officers if you have any additional questions. 


Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs)

NSF 23-125

Extreme, Compound, and Cascading Hazards (EC2H) Invites fundamental research into adaptive and/or resilient responses to natural disasters, extreme events, and other natural hazards. 

To view a more complete list of current DCLS please go here. 


Community News


A project led by NSF CAREER award recipient Laura Alvarez at The University of Texas at El Paso, has resulted in the development of a groundbreaking fully autonomous boat. This innovative watercraft is equipped to perform bathymetric surveys, which involve mapping the depth and terrain of bodies of water like oceans, rivers, and lakes. Unlike traditional surveys that require a crew of individuals, this robotic boat can carry out the task independently, streamlining the process and potentially assisting with reconnaissance missions. The boat operates with advanced features such as four thrusters for swift movement, a solar panel and lithium battery for extended operation, and a sophisticated multibeam echosounder to calculate water depth and analyze seafloor materials. The success of this project holds promising implications for water-related studies and scientific research, offering an effective and accessible solution for conducting in-depth surveys of aquatic environments.  

This project received funding under the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award 2239550 and NA22SEC4810016 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Cooperative Science Center Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). The statements, findings, conclusions and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF and NOAA. 




CUAHSI Hosts 2023 Colloquium on Discovering New Horizons in Water Science  

Program Directors from Hydrologic Sciences (Hendratta Ali, Laura Lautz and Chris Lowry) recently attended the 2023 CUAHSI Biennial Colloquium, which focused on “Discovering New Horizons in Water Science.” The colloquium was organized by CUAHSI, which is an NSF-supported organization that provides data and software services, education and outreach programs, workshops and grants to support the water science community. Over 100 students, academic faculty, and Federal agency scientists participated in the colloquium, which included keynote lectures, topical sessions and workshops. NSF Program Directors hosted a workshop on “Navigating the NSF Hydrologic Sciences program.” For the workshop, Program Directors discussed the scope of research supported by the Hydrologic Sciences program and introduced other related programs at NSF. Participants worked together to explore program “fit” for sample funded awards and interacted with NSF Program Directors. The Hydrologic Sciences program is continuing to explore different ways to engage the research community in effective outreach about the program and NSF. 





On June 12-14, 2023, the AndesNet collaboration and SZ4D Project Team convened a workshop in Termas El Corazon, Chile to develop a consensus recommendation from AndesNet to SZ4D regarding the geographic region of SZ4D instrumentation in Chile. This workshop also sought to develop a plan for priority AndesNet activities (e.g., analysis of instrumental data, geological work, modeling) under the SZ4D Implementation Plan. Nearly 90 participants representing Chilean institutions, with participation from Argentinian scientists and U.S. scientists from the SZ4D Project Team attended in the workshop, which consisted of a series of plenary and breakout sessions. The workshop culminated in a series of recommendations for geographical placement of the MultiArray (consisting of the VolcArray, SurfArray, and MegaArray), as well as a suite of activities (e.g., sampling, modeling) that are not dependent on the location of the arrays. The output from the workshop will be used to inform future planning for the SZ4D effort. In addition to the workshop, representatives from AndesNet, SZ4D, NSF, and the U.S. Embassy in Chile met with the Chilean Minister of Science to discuss the project and future collaborations amongst scientists, and NSF and the Ministry. 




Goldschmidt 2023 Conference 

GEO/EAR Program Directors (Douglas Kowalewski and Jennifer Wade) recently attended the annual Goldschmidt conference in Lyon, France. Drs. Kowalewski and Wade appreciated having the facetime with US PIs and their international collaborators, and were impressed by the large cohort of students at oral and posters sessions who presented on NSF funded research from deep Earth geochemistry to surface processes and climate change. US researchers also presented on numerous use-inspired research themes at Goldschmidt including Energy & Resources as well as Environmental Geochemistry & Human Health. 





2023 Interior of the Earth Conference  
Program Director, Wendy Panero, from Geophysics and Cooperative Studies of the Earth’s Deep Interior (CSEDI), recently attended the 2023 Interior of the Earth Conference hosted by the Gordon Research Conferences.  Dr. Panero participated in a panel on non-academic careers and making a transition from academic to non-academic roles. NSF supported the travel and attendance for many of the early career researchers attending the conference.



EAR-funded Research in the News



Plate tectonics not required for the emergence of life 


 NSF EAR-1656348 and EAR-2051550 


Study presents new clues about the rise of Earth's continents 


NSF EAR-1855208


Beneath the Earth, ancient ocean floor likely surrounds the core 

Science Advances

NSF EAR-1855624, EAR-1855624, EAR-2216564 


Geoscientists probe geochemistry, microbial diversity of Peruvian hot springs 

Nature Communications: Earth & Environment 

NSF EAR-1623034 


Searching for ancient bears in an Alaskan cave led to an important human discovery 


NSF EAR-1854550, EAR-9870343, and EAR-0208247

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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