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Community Town Hall: Merger Negotiation Update

  • Dates: June 4, 2020
  • Location(s): Remote/Online

Written by Donna Charlevoix
10 June 2020

The UNAVCO President (Dr. Bendick) and Board chair (Dr. Flesch) were joined by their IRIS counterparts in a community town hall on June 4, 2020. The presentation focused on the progress of merger negotiations between UNAVCO and IRIS in response to the 23 January 2020 NSF Dear Colleague Letter. Over 130 individuals participated in the hour-long webinar.

UNAVCO and IRIS leadership shared that they have made excellent progress towards developing a new organization that will leverage the expertise and knowledge of both UNAVCO and IRIS. Discussions have been positive, collaborative, and forward-looking. They stated that it is clear that while there is a long history and deep culture associated with each organization, we will be able to come together in a merger of equals to create a new and innovative organization that will make vital contributions to an engaged society, which is resilient to geohazards and is informed by geophysical discovery and global collaboration.

The town hall presented some aspects of the developing merger arrangement, talked about future plans, and answered a number of questions. The full recording of the webinar is available for community members unable to attend or who would like to revisit the content.

An announcement was made of a naming content for the new, merged organization. Entries are now being accepted via this form. The deadline to submit is 15 July, 11:59 PM PDT. The winner will be announced in August.

Additionally, an announcement about a forthcoming Request for Information (RFI) soliciting possible locations for future operations was provided.


An approximate timeline for the remainder of the merger process was provided and is subject to change.

  • Late May – June 2020: Town hall meetings for staff and community members
  • June - August 2020: Merged consortium naming contest and RFI on possible locations of future facility operations and offices
  • August 2020: Boards of Directors vote on merger terms and merged corporation by-laws
  • September 2020: Second round of virtual town halls with staff, community and UNAVCO/IRIS member representatives
  • Fall 2020: Membership representatives from UNAVCO and IRIS vote on merger terms
  • September 2020 - December 2021: Merger implementation planning
  • Spring 2021: NSF solicitation for a new geophysical facility released
  • Winter 2022: Proposals due to NSF
  • Fall 2023: Close of current SAGE and GAGE Cooperative Agreements with UNAVCO and IRIS, and transition to a new merged corporation and a single, integrated geophysical facility

UNAVCO and IRIS community members at the 2019 SAGE/GAGE Workshop in Portland, OR. (Photo/IRIS)

Members of the UNAVCO-IRIS Negotiation Committee

  • Rick Aster, IRIS Board chair
  • Becks Bendick UNAVCO President
  • Bob Detrick, IRIS President
  • Lucy Flesch, UNAVCO Board chair
  • Ronni Grapenthin, UNAVCO Board member
  • Samantha Hansen, IRIS Board member
  • Glen Mattioli, UNAVCO GI Director
  • Chuck Meertens, UNAVCO GDS Director
  • Ed Nissen, UNAVCO Board member
  • Susan Schwartz, IRIS Board Member
  • Doug Wiens, former IRIS Board chair
  • Bob Woodward, incoming IRIS President

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Last modified: 2020-06-29  18:38:57  America/Denver