Here is a summary of the discussion (led by Frank Davis, joined by Jim Bever, Cherie Briggs, Ed Hackett, Eli Holmes, Taylor Ricketts, Peter Thrall and others)
Early on, the NCEAS Science Advisory Board (SAB) was actively engaged in setting initiatives, recruiting participants and helping to develop proposals (kudos to founding Chairperson Steve Carpenter). In later years, the SAB spent much more time reviewing the ever-increasing number of proposals.
At this juncture, NCEAS may need two different boards:
1) an external board for strategic program guidance/program assessment/linking to external public & private sector partners. This Board of 7-10 individuals would be comprised of a few distinguished senior scientists from ecology, environmental science, health science, and social science, as well as leaders from government, corporations and NGOs. Among other functions, this board would help the NCEAS Director scan for funding opportunities and research needs and priorities.
2) a research advisory board for advice on research directions and priorities and for independent review of proposed new initiatives and submitted proposals. This board of 12-16 individuals would be comprised to represent a spectrum of research expertise in ecology and other key disciplines.
(Note: NCEAS originally had a structure like this, with an External Advisory Committee and a Science Advisory Board. The EAC was discontinued after a few years.)
FD was advised to disband the current SAB and form a “Transition Board” that would help define and populate the two new boards and could help sharpen the identity and brand of NCEAS moving forward. The group felt that the scope of both boards should be expanded to include health and other areas where there are critical needs to link with ecologists for new synthesis activities. FD was also advised that the role of the boards and expectations of board members needed to be clearly articulated and unambiguous.
Board mechanics were also discussed. Everyone agreed that both boards should meet semi-annually, once virtually and once physically at NCEAS for a 2-day meeting (with one day of overlap between the boards).
Programmatic review of NCEAS, which will no longer be the purview of NSF, could be managed by the chairpersons of the 2 boards.
Taylor Ricketts offered to make the current SAB aware of these discussions. FD will consult with NSF about the proposed transition board during this no-cost-extension period.
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