Looking ahead from the LTER Network Office

Network News Winter 2014, Vol. 27 No. 4
Network News

When the LTER Network Office (LNO) was last renewed in 2009, NSF made the decision to re-compete the Office in 2015.  That time is upon us now, and the competition for the new office will take place over the next eight months.  NSF will publish a request for proposals shortly with the goal of having an award in place before the All Scientists Meeting in fall 2015.  The new network office will perform some but not all of the functions associated the current office.  Hence, meeting support and communication will be continued under the new award, but LTER information management and the Network Information System will be addressed through a different mechanism.  A group of LTER information managers are gathering information to help NSF define this new management approach.  The competition represents an exciting opportunity to re-define the role of the network office in supporting LTER science and education.

I am looking forward to the challenge of writing a proposal that will continue the LNO at the University of New Mexico while implementing new approaches to address the needs of the LTER Network.  Staff at the LNO are committed to continuing to provide service to the Network according to the new guidelines from NSF.  We hope to use experience gathered over the past 17 years to develop a proposal that will respond to the needs of the Network effectively and efficiently.  As always, we solicit your advice and ideas about new or improved strategies that should be included in our proposal. 

Because of the timing of the competition, there will be a period of a few months between the end of our current award in April 2015 and the initiation of a new award, whether at UNM or another institution.  We are soliciting support from NSF to bridge that gap and to allow us to carry out plans for the All Scientists Meeting (see the accompanying article).  NSF has been very responsive to our request, and we are confident that we will be able to continue basic services to the LTER Network throughout the transition period.  Moreover, both the LNO and NSF are committed to maintaining a smoothly functioning Network Information System until a new management approach is implemented.  Some changes are inevitable during the transition, but we hope to keep these to a minimum and to provide ample notice before they occur.