In November 2016, NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD) released a solicitation for proposals to advance specific elements of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Work Programme 2017-2019. With this solicitation, NASA hopes to engage organizations, especially non-Federal domestic organizations, in contributing to and achieving progress on the GEO Work Programme.
The GEO Work Programme is “the primary coordination and planning instrument to assist GEO with the selection and prioritization of its activities to achieve its Vision.” This vision – To realize a future where decisions and actions, for the benefit of humankind, are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observation information and services – is being realized though GEO Community Activities, GEO Initiatives, GEO Flagships and GEO Foundational Tasks, which form GEO’s implementation toolkit.
The key objectives of NASA’s solicitation include:
• Achieve demonstrable progress, results, and accomplishments in specific elements of the GEO Work Programme;
• Advance use of Earth observations to inform decisions and actions;
• Advance and broaden domestic involvement in the U.S. national support to GEO and the GEO Work Programme;
• Increase the uptake of Earth observations to inform decisions and actions and broaden the organizations routinely using them;
• Increase international collaboration and partnering across GEO and broaden the GEO community;
The solicitation called for activities including projects, studies, workshops, and trainings, and it involves innovative communications work. The solicitation also called for these activities to coordinate with global organizations that are involved with the specific work element(s) they address.
NASA is currently completing its evaluations of submitted proposals, collected through March 2017, to identify those that help increase GEO’s achievements, and enable greater uses of Earth observations to benefit the private sector, civil society, academia, public sector, and the public. Proposals will be reviewed for various criteria, including their plans to address: 1) the identification of possible data products (or refinements) that would advance the use of Earth observations by communities associated with the GEO Work Programme element and other communities; or 2) applications development and applied research, if appropriate to the element.
The call encourages innovative approaches, both technical and programmatic, to enable the objectives of the GEO Work Programme element. Examples include, integrating crowdsourcing and challenges into project design. Additionally, the scope of this call includes significant external communications and outreach to engage and work with relevant organizations, and to showcase the value and benefits of Earth observations across the range of Earth satellite missions and observation types. However, basic research is outside the scope of this call.
This call for proposals and the awards are being managed by ESD’s Applied Sciences Program. The Program promotes efforts to discover and demonstrate innovative and practical uses of Earth science data and knowledge. Program activities support goals to deliver near-term uses of Earth observations, build capabilities for applying Earth science data, and contribute to satellite mission planning.