The NSF sponsors Research Coordination Networks (RCNs) to advance science research including create new directions in research or education. Groups are supported to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic and international boundaries. An RCN provides opportunities to foster new collaborations, including international partnerships, and address interdisciplinary topics. These can cover broad areas such as implementing novel networking strategies or development of community standards for data and meta-data.

The RCN has a broad range of ocean disciplines and scientists from many countries. A list of members is available here. New members are welcome and contributions to working groups addressing key ocean issues are encouraged.

The foundation for the RCN came from community recommendations in a series of workshops from 2009-2012. These focused in two areas:

  • Coordination and facilitation of ocean observations including (1) building of commitments from the different nations to implement and sustain global ocean observations; (2) capacity building; and (3) development of processes to ensure successful transition from research support to sustained operational support.
  • Articulation and outreach, making clear to governments, industry, and NGOs the need for and value of ocean observations (e.g., to augment coastal and marine spatial planning, especially in the US to implement the National Ocean Policy).

The RCN works in the following way: the RCN operates primarily through electronic information exchange and typically meets three times per year, two virtual meetings and an annual in-person meeting. The technical fora are working groups (WG), which focus on specific issues such as open data, sensors, and sustainability. An issue paper with recommendations is created by the WG. The RCN Plenary reviews and comments on the WG reports prior to their forwarding to appropriate parties such as NSF and international organizations. In these activities, the RCN works closely with existing coordination bodies and mechanisms for ocean and marine observations.

The OceanObs RCN is sponsored by the National Science Foundation under the grant number  OCE 1143683.