COLUMBUS, Ohio—(April 8, 2016) Battelle, an independent, nonprofit research and development organization, has been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to complete the construction, commissioning and the initial operations of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).
NEON currently is under construction in 20 ecologically distinct domains across the United States, from Alaska to Puerto Rico. The project will allow scientists to understand and forecast interactions between life and the environment—including changes in climate, land use and invasive species—at the scale of an entire continent. Battelle will be responsible for completing the construction of 81 field sites and the infrastructure needed to gather data from those sites. In addition, Battelle will develop the processes necessary to provide the ecological data to the scientific community.
“We are honored that the NSF has the confidence in Battelle to bring the National Ecological Observatory Network to fruition,” said Mike Janus, Vice President of Battelle’s Infrastructure and Environment business. “This program aligns well with Battelle’s mission of translating scientific discovery and technology advances into societal benefits. We will draw upon both our program management and scientific expertise as we assume leadership of the NEON program.”
“NEON is truly a visionary project, one that will allow scientists to take the pulse of our planet and help forecast its future,” said NSF’s Assistant Director for Biological Sciences, James Olds. “This decision enables NEON to continue moving forward; the quality of Battelle’s technical and management approach will ensure NEON will meet the evolving needs of the research communities it serves.”
Battelle, in coordination with the NSF, will be reinvigorating paths for the broader ecological community to become closely engaged with the project, helping to ensure NEON goes into operations successfully and remains scientifically transformative well into the future. To facilitate transition in project management and responsibility, the current members of the NEON Inc. Board of Directors have willingly stepped aside and have been replaced by select members from Battelle.
“We would like to thank the past and present members of the NEON, Inc. Board of Directors for their work and contribution to the initial stages of the project. We look forward to their continued engagement and support in bringing the project to a successful completion,” said Battelle’s Janus. “Everyone who assisted with the start-up of NEON should feel proud of what has been accomplished. We will work to build upon all that has been done so far knowing that there are many more good things to come.”
NEON is the first life science project to be constructed solely with NSF Major Research and Equipment and Facilities Construction funding. This funding is used to build complex, cutting-edge research facilities, such as telescopes and particle accelerators that advance the boundaries of scientific knowledge. NEON will gather and provide high-quality information on interactions between land, life, water and climate across a continent and over the course of a human generation. Like all such facilities, the vast amounts of data generated and the technical and human resources developed from NEON will help advance human understanding for decades to come.
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit www.battelle.org.
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