Critical Skills To Scale Up Ecology: An ESA SEEDS And NEON Workshop – June 1-5, 2020.

The Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability) program, in partnership with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), invites graduate students from underrepresented experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds to attend an interactive workshop from June 1-5, 2020 to develop key ecological data science skills and to discover ways to use NEON data.  The workshop will also be an opportunity to network with a diverse community of peers and meet NEON scientists and other professionals working in the Big Data field.

The Critical Skills to Scale Up Ecology Workshop provides critical skills for graduate students interested in working with multiple spatio-temporal datasets to address ecological questions.  Knowledge and skills learned in the workshop apply to ecological data from many different sources, including NEON. In addition to learning how to access and work with a wide variety of NEON data, this workshop emphasizes and teaches core data science skills with a focus on reproducible methods including:

  • Code documentation, sharing and reproducible workflows.
  • Using version control (GitHub) to support collaborative method development and to backup work.
  • Documenting and publishing methods and workflows.

In addition to the data science skills that will be covered, the workshop will also offer sessions on areas such as science communication, publishing, grant writing and diverse leadership. Specific topics will be selected by participants prior to the workshop.

The workshop contains four main components:

  • Foundational Preparation Materials: Self-paced online materials designed to provide participants with the required computer set-up information and foundational knowledge to come prepared into the workshop (expect 1-2 hrs of material depending on experience with the week’s topic).
  • Data Carpentry R for Ecologists (Day 1 & 2): Learn critical skills for reproducible research using R from the internationally recognized curriculum from Data Carpentry.
  • Explore NEON Data (Day 3 & 4): Apply skills learned in the previous days while learning to access and work with a wide-variety of ecological data products from NEON.
  • Culmination Project (Day 5): Apply and reinforce the skills learned through small group-designed research projects on a topic of interest. Work starting as capstone projects from similar workshops have resulted in publications or graduate thesis for participants.

This workshop will be hosted at NEON HQ in Boulder, Colorado.

Who Should Apply

If you are interested in the additional dimensions and integrative approaches that Big Data and a continental scale observatory can bring to your research, this workshop is for you!

Applicants must:

  • Be enrolled in a graduate program at a US institution.
  • Demonstrate either prior work in ecology or related field or interest in connecting your disciplinary background to ecological questions.
  • Address how your participation contributes to diversity, equity and inclusion of underrepresented scientists in ecology.

Participants are required to bring their own laptop computers for use during the workshop or notify instructors upon being selected that they would like to use a loaner laptop during the workshop.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

What is included in the award?

This is a fully funded experience for graduate students.  Acceptance for the award includes workshop registration as well as travel expenses; housing, meals, transportation (air and ground), as well as any other activity in the agenda.


By applying, I certify that I am,

  • A graduate student who will be enrolled in a US institution during the workshop in June 2020.
  • Have either prior work in ecology or related field or interest in connecting your disciplinary background to ecological questions.

submitDeadline is February 28, 2020.