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  30 September 2002

To: The UNAVCO Community
From: Will Prescott, President, UNAVCO, Inc.

Between the inauguration of UNAVCO, Inc. and the prospects for Earthscope, this is a very exciting time for the UNAVCO community. I am very honored to have been selected to play a role at this time.

I would like to take this opportunity to bring you up to date on a few of the things that are happening and to comment on some things I hope to be able to do in the future.

To start with the present:
We have signed a lease for office space for the new UNAVCO, Inc. headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. Our doors open on Monday, September 30th. We are planning an open house for the 21st of October 2002.  Anyone in the area then is encouraged to visit us.

Our new address is:
3360 Mitchell Lane, Suite C
Boulder, CO 80301-2245

As you may be aware there was much discussion about where to locate this headquarters. The decision was made to locate in Boulder, Colorado. From my perspective, this decision has been a life saver. We have a very short time to  get UNAVCO, Inc. up and running all of the appurtenances of a full-fledged corporation: offices, employees, payroll, benefits, cost accounting, telephones, internet connectivity. This process is being made much easier by the proximity to the UCAR/UNAVCO Facility.

We have hired Wayne Shriver to be the Executive Director of UNAVCO, Inc. Wayne has done a great job guiding UCAR/UNAVCO through some turbulent times. Now he is in for a real ride. He has already been invaluable in making the UNAVCO, Inc. operational. I am not exaggerating when I say that it would not be possible without him.

Chuck Meertens has agreed to serve as the Manager of the UCAR/UNAVCO Boulder Facility. Chuck has a long history with UNAVCO and I appreciate his willingness to take on this new role.

PBO Update:
We are continuing to develop the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) component of an Earthscope proposal. In this effort we have been working with IRIS and the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth people to integrate these pieces into a single proposal and also to develop a plan for managing the entire Earthscope facility.

Since the draft of the PBO proposal was released last month there have been a number of changes. These are summarized below. (See PBO Proposal 2002 [pdf] for a copy of the current released draft of the proposal.)

1) GeoPBO
The original draft of the proposal did not address Geo-PBO issues. In accordance with earlier discussions and with guidance from NSF, we are earmarking $5M of the PBO money for Geo-PBO. There are two plans circulating for how this money should be spent. I have asked a Geo-PBO steering group (Schwartz, Wernicke, Burbank, Rubin) to provide me with guidance about what Geo-PBO should consist of, and to write a Geo-PBO section of the proposal.

2) Budget
There have been a number of changes affecting the budget.

a) GeoPBO - see above

b) Reserve - the Standing Committee suggested that we need one, and the Earthscope RFP is likely to direct that we have a 5% reserve, so we are incorporating that into the proposal.

c) MREFC/R&RA - NSF will request two budgets: an MREFC budget for purchase and installation and an R&RA budget for operation and maintenance. NSF is looking for a clear division of expenses between MREFC funds for building the stations and R&RA funds for operationa and maintenance. This will require developing a clear definition and careful tracking of when a site becomes "operational"

d) Direct/Indirect costs - We (UNAVCO, Inc) have had discussions with NSF about whether the PBO proposal should include indirect costs or whether all activities should be done as direct costs. The consensus is that we will use direct cost funding.

e) Revised budget - The RFP for Earthscope is likely to request proposals that include $100M for the PBO component.

The net affect of these various changes will likely be to ease the budget pressure on PBO somewhat. We are in the process redoing the budget to include these changes. At the same time we having an independent process build the complete budget from the starting assumptions just to catch "spreadsheet" errors.

3) Science advisory committees
In the original PBO proposal draft, we had planned to have "Regional Scientists", a scientist in each region that would provide science prioritization and advice to the engineers and technicians building the network. After much discussion and several modifications, we have settled on a new (and in my opinion, better) plan. I have directed Mike to replace the regional scientists with four Science Advisory Panels.

Subduction committee - responsible for Pac NW, Alaska and Canada
Transform committee - responsible for California and Mexico
Intraplate committee - responsible for Basin and Range, Wasatch
Volcano committee - responsible for Cascade, Alaska, Yellowstone, Long Valley volcanos

The committees will provide a mechanism for science input on all topics related to building PBO. In particular, they will provide advice on prioritization as to where sites go and as to the order in which sites are built.

We are also finishing up a proposal to provide continuing support to the existing networks.

For the future:
One year from now, we will be moving the UCAR/UNAVCO Facility from its current home in UCAR to UNAVCO, Inc. We have initiated discussions with UCAR to make this process as smooth and painless as possible. I appreciate the willingness of all the current UCAR/UNAVCO Facility employees to help us with this process. This is a major change for the people involved.

I am interested in increasing contacts between UNAVCO, Inc. and other solid earth science groups. As noted above we are cooperating with IRIS in Earthscope. We are also planning to hold our next annual workshop jointly with IRIS. I have begun discussion with people at the University of Colorado and at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science* (CIRES) in the Boulder, Colorado area. These collaborations are one part of strategy to increase the interaction between the operational components residing in the UNAVCO Facility and PBO on the one hand and the science community that UNAVCO serves on the other. *Those of you with a long history with UNAVCO are already familiar with CIRES. UNAVCO started life as a project within CIRES.

We have begun discussions with several independent groups about developing new ways to make PBO and other GPS data more accessible to the education community and other non-geoscientist audiences. Susan Buhr of CIRES, Anahita Tikku of Lamont, and Michelle Hall-Wallace of the University of Arizona, Tucson all have expressed interest in using GPS data and results in outreach programs and we will be working with them to develop this further.

In closing, I would like to reiterate my excitement about the prospects for UNAVCO for the next few years. We have some big opportunities and some big challenges ahead of us.


William H. Prescott

Last modified: Wednesday, 08-Jul-2015 15:56:18 UTC


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