The Foundation for Earth Science (FES) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance Earth science information best practices in an open, transparent fashion. To achieve this goal, we collaborate with the scientists, academic institutions and research laboratories who are addressing some of the fundamental questions about our planet. Based in Boulder, Colorado, FES employs a small, talented staff committed to innovation, discovery and enabling scientists to do their best work.

FES develops, supports and provides backbone infrastructure to diverse communities of Earth science, education and technology practitioners with a focus on seeding innovation, developing best practices and advancing key technologies. We promote and optimize collaboration in Earth science through in-person meetings and virtual collaboration spaces in support of community‐defined topics in Earth science data stewardship, information technology and interoperability; science education (both K‐16 and educator professional development); and application areas like disaster response, climate and agriculture. 

As the volume of and types of data and information increase, there is a corresponding increase in users from diverse communities – scientists, researchers, policy makers, educators and the public – all of whom have specific data and information requirements. With this increase in volume also comes new challenges, such as data curation and stewardship, which are shared by those in the Earth science data and research communities. FES uses a creative, collaborative approach to effectively confront these large, complex problems and move Earth science forward.

Our work catalyzes connections across organizations, people, systems and data, allowing participants to leverage their collective expertise and technical capacity, and have input into the evolution of systems that support an organization’s mission. To date, we have:

Invested in next-generation technologies and approaches to spur innovation in Earth science

Increased the use of Earth science data and information

Expanded and strengthened collaborations among international, intergovernmental, academic, industrial and education communities

Inspired the next generation of scientists, engineers, explorers, and educators through interactions with Earth science and scientists research and facilities

FES was formed in 2001 by the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation); through a Memorandum of Understanding with the ESIP Federation. FES provided management support to the ESIP Federation as it moved from an operational prototype to an independent organization. FES has since expanded its scope to provide strategic planning and services to a number of Earth science communities.

FES is governed by a Board of Directors and managed by an Executive Director. The Foundation receives funding from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF); from philanthropic sources, such as the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; and from academic institutions, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.