Since its inception, NEON has relied on expertise within the science, education, and engineering communities to advise on key areas impacting the design, construction, and maintenance of the Observatory with the goal of optimizing its operation. Currently, two types of external advisory bodies support staff and leadership in making key decisions that guide all of NEON's activities: the Science, Technology & Education Advisory Committee (STEAC) and Technical Working Groups (TWGs). Both bodies are comprised of experts nominated to serve in these roles who are selected by NEON staff following a rigorous selection process.
Science, Technology & Education Advisory Committee (STEAC)
The Science, Technology, and Education Advisory Committee (STEAC) is an external advisory body, providing strategic advice to Battelle, the NEON Chief Scientist and Observatory Director, and NEON program staff on the planning and operation of NEON and other relevant programs. Areas of focus for the committee include:
- NEON's science requirements
- Enhancements of the NEON Program
- NEON's strategic engagement
- Metrics and evaluation of program progress and success, including how the program can best meet its high-level goals
- Prioritization of operational activities
STEAC members are chosen from a pool of nominees; particular attention is paid to a number of attributes including diversity and inclusion in representation, area and level of professional expertise, and life experience. The STEAC holds monthly online meetings with the Chief Scientist and Observatory Director and other NEON staff as needed, and in-person meetings approximately twice per year. Reports of the STEAC's recommendations are generated from in-person meetings, and Battelle prepares responses to these reports. More information about the STEAC, as well as links to all reports and responses, are available on our STEAC webpage.
Technical Working Groups (TWGs)
NEON relies upon input from more than 20 Technical Working Groups (TWGs). These groups play an important role by providing input to NEON's data collection and processing methods and ensuring that NEON infrastructure, data, and programs are a valuable community resource. Working groups are participatory and advisory; they are often tasked with providing input on issues that have scientific, educational, engineering or operational implications.
Similar to how STEAC members are selected, TWG members are chosen from a pool of nominees with attention paid to diversity and inclusion in representation, area and level of professional expertise, and life experience. Members meet virtually on an as-needed basis, at least quarterly, to discuss topics specific to each TWG and asynchronous discussions are also held over email. Recommendations to NEON are made to the TWG lead(s); from here, they may be moved further up the decision chain for consideration. More information about the TWGs, as well as links to quarterly reports, including TWG recommendations and NEON responses, are available on our TWG webpage.