NEON values our user community and strives to provide the services and resources that meet the community's diverse and evolving needs. This requires continuously listening to our users on ways we can improve, while also identifying opportunities to meet the needs of a broader community in order to grow our user base. All of our engagement, education, and outreach activities are guided by our strategic engagement plan. Developed from findings published in our 2018 Community Engagement Assessment report, the 2018-2022 plan centers around three goals:
- To optimize NEON: Continuously improve and adapt NEON data, resources, and infrastructure through interactive community engagement.
- To engage a robust, active, and inclusive NEON user community: Build and leverage community relationships across scales (local, regional and continental) to facilitate community-driven research using NEON data, resources, and infrastructure.
- To advance science: Facilitate the use of NEON data and infrastructure to advance science.
We aim to achieve an optimized Observatory with a robust, active, and inclusive NEON user community that transforms science and maximizes NEON-related research over the next 30 years and beyond.
NEON Strategic Engagement
Optimizing NEON requires continuously improving and adapting the data, resources, and infrastructure to meet community needs through our engagement strategy. NEON is intended to be a community resource and, as such, must reflect the evolving needs of its user community and society at large. We provide numerous ways to collect community feedback (see below) while expanding efforts to facilitate optimization and accountability through our Community Engagement Technical Working Group [add link]. We work to ensure a diversity of perspectives is represented by all of NEON's external advisory bodies. This enhances the development of new, innovative ideas and research questions that NEON can help address while ensuring the program addresses issues of social and cultural relevance to diverse communities.
Engaging an Inclusive User Community
Building a robust, active, and inclusive user community is supported through multiple education and training programs. They allow transdisciplinary user groups to gain the data management and analysis skills needed to work effectively with NEON data as well as experience working with team science and reproducible research approaches. Recruitment of individuals from groups underrepresented in STEM to these programs, while hosting them at Minority Serving Institutions and other similar organizations, supports our ongoing efforts to broaden participation in STEM. Our outreach activities also broaden awareness of the program through customized social media campaigns that reach existing and potential users.
Our Dedication to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We aim to promote and facilitate diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of our work. We do this by working towards ensuring diverse perspectives are represented within our staff and external advisory boards, hosting inclusive events, making our resources broadly accessible, and partnering with organizations and institutions serving underserved and underrepresented groups across the STEM enterprise. In 2019, with funding from the NSF INCLUDES program, NEON co-led the development of the Environmental Data Science Inclusion Network (EDSIN). EDSIN facilitates and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion within the environmental and data science fields. Anyone is welcome who has a strong interest in being part of these discussions and the developing network, so please join us.
Advancing science is at the core of NEON's mission. Numerous science workshops and working groups hosted or led by our staff have facilitated convergent research approaches to catalyze scientific innovation and discovery. Science and Domain staff continuously offer research support to transdisciplinary scientists through proposal development and the Assignable Assets program [add link]. The contributions made to relevant research networks have provided opportunities for the expansion of NEON operations by promoting data synergy and interoperability. Either through direct or indirect science engagement, the program has delivered numerous peer-reviewed publications [add link].
Ways to Engage
There are many ways you can engage with the NEON program:
- Check out upcoming events in your local area
- Connect with us via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or YouTube
- Join an external advisory board
- Collaborate with us on your research and educational projects
- Become a partner
- Get support incorporating NEON infrastructure into your research
- Request a site tour
- Request a presentation or workshop
- Come work with us
- Send a general inquiry
- Provide general feedback
As part of our engagement strategy, NEON staff collect data on all of our engagement activities to ensure we are making progress towards the outcomes identified in our strategic engagement plan. We provide dashboards to the community, updated monthly, with details on our progress towards each of our three goals: to optimize NEON, to build an inclusive user community, and to advance science. If you have questions about our metrics or reporting procedures, please contact our strategic engagement team.
Over the years, the NEON program has collected feedback from the community to guide construction, and now operations, of the Observatory. Through these activities, we have developed several reports summarizing the feedback we have received, and in some cases, our response to that feedback. Below are links to reports from our external advisory boards, community needs assessments, and evaluation of programs led both internally and externally by our partnering organizations.
External Advisory Boards
Reports from our Science, Technology, and Education Advisory Committee (STEAC) are written twice a year and can be found on the STEAC webpage.
Reports from our Technical Working Groups (TWGs) are written once per year and can be found on each TWG webpage.