Information for Researchers

Last update: August 2, 2017

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), operated by Battelle, provides open, continental-scale data that characterize and quantify complex, rapidly changing ecological processes. This page is intended for investigators interested in using NEON data and resources in their research.

Construction Progress and Data Availability

The NEON project is currently in construction and initial operations. As constructed sites transition to operations, “provisional”-grade data products are added to the Data Portal and free to download and use. Due to their file size, airborne data are currently available by request.

A substantial number of specimens and samples collected by NEON will be placed into one or more museums or similar institutions. These are collectively called the NEON Bioarchive and are made available to investigators for further study. Explore our Archival Samples catalog to better understand how our samples can be used for your research.

The requesting process for access to bioarchive materials will vary based on each museum or institution’s guidelines. Learn more about NEON samples and specimens.

Research Proposals & Letters of Support

The NEON Project does not fund research. For opportunities to propose research projects involving NEON data and resources, please contact the National Science Foundation (NSF) or other funding agencies. Information about the NEON project and related funding programs is available on the NSF NEON Project web page.

We are available to provide information about NEON infrastructure and current status to aid researchers who are developing proposals. Researchers should also work with us when selecting sampling areas so as to avoid impacts to NEON measurements and observations and to collect or process samples on behalf of investigators. NEON field operations support above and beyond routine coordination and normal workflows must be fully reimbursed by the PI or funding agency.

If a researcher seeks planned NEON data products that are not currently available, please contact us for an estimate on when the products may become available. Please note that the potential for unforeseen construction delays may impact the estimated schedule.

If you are writing an NSF grant proposal for a research project that involves using NEON resources that are not yet available, NSF requires that you include a letter of support from the NEON Project that attests to the anticipated availability of the resources you propose to use.

Instructions for how to obtain a letter of support

Access to NEON infrastructure and resources

Assignable Assets: Various components of NEON infrastructure are available for research and educational purposes. Researchers may formally request to use these Assignable Assets as part of research. Costs associated with the use of these assets must be fully reimbursed by the PI or funding agency.

NEON’s Assignable Assets include:

  • Mobile Deployment Platforms (MDP)
  • Integration of additional instruments onto NEON Sensor Infrastructure (SI)
  • Use of Observational Sampling Infrastructure (OSI)
  • NEON Airborne Observation Platforms

Field Operations (FOPS) Resources: NEON FOPS personnel may be available to support externally funded research on a full cost recovery basis. Requests will be carefully evaluated by the Director of Field Operations to determine if the requested use of FOPS personnel is feasible and whether it might require overtime.  We will estimate labor rates when requests cannot be fulfilled as part of the existing protocol workflows.

Contact us for more information.

Field Sites: NEON encourages research studies that leverage NEON infrastructure, including research conducted at one or more NEON sites. Please note that NEON does not own the properties where NEON sensor/instrument and observational sampling infrastructure reside. Researchers will need to obtain required access and use permits from the site host, but NEON can assist with this. If your proposed research requires access to field sites where NEON is present, please contact us to discuss your ideas. We may be able to:

  1. Assist in evaluating the potential impacts of proposed activities on NEON measurements and observations
  2. Assist with site host coordination and location of field sampling on site
  3. Help you find additional information about a field site, permitting or other questions.

An important note about field site access

Access to NEON field sites is governed by site host policies and permitting requirements. NEON staff may be able to assist with the site access process as needed. For more information, please contact us and also make sure to review the guide below.

NEON Site Research Coordination Guidelines

Read these guidelines if you are interested in learning more about how to coordinate research activities near NEON sampling locations. If you are interested in conducting research activities on or adjacent to NEON field sampling locations, please review the process for requesting assignable assets.


Site Status for External Research Activities

Discover which NEON field sites are open to additional research activities with this handy workbook. Please note that this workbook may be updated periodically as information about our site hosts change. Last updated on August 2, 2017.