The Foundation for Earth Science provides supporting infrastructure to scientists and institutions in the Earth science data and technology communities, guiding vision and strategy and supporting activities from concept through implementation and evaluation. A collaboration with FES helps projects maintain overall strategic coherence and assists with management of the day-to-day operations and implementation of the work. FES staff provide services ranging from ongoing facilitation, technology and communications support to assistance with data collection and reporting, and management of the logistical and administrative details. Services can be customized to meet individual project needs and include the following:

Strategic Planning and Impact

FES leads organizations through the processes of defining goals, measuring outcomes and demonstrating impact. We work with our partner organizations to identify and implement strategies that lead to the accomplishment of project goals, and on the development of ways to share these successes. Identifying assessment and improvement processes ensures that our project participants are prepared to measure impact and report on their work to funding agencies, colleagues and the Earth science community.

Meeting and Event Planning

MeetingFES plans and executes virtual and face-to-face collaborative meetings. These bring together Earth science data and technology experts to exchange current understanding on trends and technologies and share expertise across the Earth science domain, functional and cross-sector communities. Meetings are an essential tool to build and sustain community, allow community-driven collaborations and have extended periods of face time to advance the projects serving the Earth science community as a whole.

For virtual meetings, FES uses WebEx Web Conferencing to support monthly telecons with video, screen-sharing and audio capture for our communities. WebEx is also used during in-person meetings to extend participation to those that cannot travel. FES also supports In-person meetings, such as the ESIP annual meetings, which involve more than 300 in-person attendees and a growing number of remote participants.

Virtual Collaboration Spaces

FES optimizes collaboration through in-person meetings and virtually through collaboration spaces, such as the ESIP Commons and ESIP Wiki. Our partners utilize these neutral forums for knowledge exchange and collaboration–an intellectual commons of sorts–where practitioners solve common problems. This community-based approach is discipline neutral, with the technology solutions supporting science by improving discovery, access, integration and interoperability. The infrastructure we provide our partners leverages the Internet and recent advances in collaboration web services. We are continually looking for ways we can better support online communities and enable them to be as productive as possible.


Sharing the process of doing science and the results of research with the public is a responsibility of scientists and institutions. FES helps institutions, projects and scientists develop their online presence and strategize and create communications and outreach initiatives.

Our primary science communication initiative is an event called Ignite@AGU. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, the world’s largest meeting for Earth and space scientists, is attended by more than 20,000 scientists and students each year. Since 2011, in support of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program and in partnership with AGU’s Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI) group, FES has hosted Ignite@AGU. The event is open to the public and enables scientists to showcase their research interests through fast-moving, creative presentations. 

FES has been asked to host similar Ignite events at the 2015 Marine Technology Society/IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society conference and the 2016 NOAA Environmental Data Management workshop.

Education and Outreach

HikersFES is committed to STEM education and has a strong track record of engaging teachers and students. Through the ESIP Education Committee’s leadership and other outreach, professional development and engagement efforts, the ESIP Federation provides additional channels for science results to extend beyond the research community. We aim to enhance K-16 education and provide training/fellowship opportunities for graduate students, with efforts to involve underrepresented minority students and those with limited access to mentoring and networking opportunities.

FES supports and provides professional development opportunities for early career researchers. Each year, six graduate students and postdocs interested in bridging the gap between informatics, technology and Earth science and applying research to real-world problems are selected as ESIP Federation Student Fellows. The fellowship provides students a stipend, travel support and the opportunity to work closely with professionals in an interdisciplinary, cross-sector group on current Earth Science problems. FES also awards the annual Raskin Scholarship to a current graduate or postdoc in Earth or computer sciences, who has an interest in community evolution of Earth science data systems.

Trainings and Professional Development

FES identifies, plans and supports trainings and workshops for the Earth and data science communities in areas that are traditionally not covered by other community organizations. These in-depth trainings are designed to help scientists expand their knowledge, work more efficiently and better communicate their research. Past offerings include a training workshop introducing the Agile software development and leadership methods to ESIP meeting attendees and a two-day Software Carpentry Bootcamp to teach basic lab skills for scientific computing, such as Unix Shell, Python or R, SQL, and Git and Github.

In 2013, FES supported the ESIP Federation Data Stewardship Committee in the development of a Data Management Short Course for Scientists. This free online course consists of 35 modules organized into four sections: The Case for Data Stewardship, Data Management Plans, Local Data Management and Responsible Data Use. The goal of this course is to provide a syllabus of complementary data management information with each module being a stand-alone topic, so that users can personalize their learning experience based on their data management knowledge, skills and experience.

Fiscal Sponsorship

Fiscal sponsorship, or program incubation, is an effective and efficient mechanism for starting new nonprofits, seeding new projects that benefit the Earth science data and research community and delivering services to those in this community. Each year, FES selects and acts as a fiscal sponsor for projects and the activities of groups or individuals engaged in work related to our mission. In doing so, FES assumes financial responsibility for the project, and provides certain services and oversight. In addition to mission fit, we expect project leaders to adhere to our stated standards of ethical conduct, organizational policies and operational procedures.

If you would like to collaborate with FES or learn more about the services we offer, please contact us at 919.870.7140 or email