The role of the STEAC is to provide community-driven advice to the NEON Chief Scientist and Principal Investigator(s) on: (i) the direction and vision of the Observatory, which includes how the Observatory and other relevant projects can meet their high-level goals; (ii) how best to position Observatory capabilities to address frontier science and science strategy, which can include reviews, new data products, initiatives, collaborations, relations with other Observatories, research infrastructures, and Research and Synthesis Centers; (iii) how best to align observatory efforts with other Federal investments, (iv) how Operations and logistics can address the science requirements, and (v) educational objectives and programs.
The science, education and engineering communities provided essential input regarding NEON’s design from its inception to the early Observatory design phases. In preparation for the NEON’s Preliminary Design Review by the National Science Foundation in 2003, six multidisciplinary teams of experts reviewed and revised key aspects of the Observatory’s design.
Currently, NEON relies upon input from Technical Working Groups (TWGs), comprising science, education and engineering experts. TWGs provide input to the Observatory’s data collection and processing methods; they also help ensure 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.