EFI-RCN 2020 Conference

Ecological Forecasting Initiative 2020: Coordinating the NEON-enabled forecasting challenge

Host: NSF-sponsored EFI-Research Coordination Network and NEON.

Dates: May 12-14, 2020

Location: NEON headquarters in Boulder, CO 

We are excited to announce the first meeting of the Ecological Forecasting Initiative Research Coordination Network (EFI-RCN), an NSF-sponsored 5-year project focused on increasing the use of NEON data for ecological forecasting. The goal of the first meeting is to design a forecasting challenge, similar in format to a data science competition, that stimulates ecological forecasting using NEON data products to enable intercomparison and synthesis. Such intercomparison will allow the evaluation of different forecasting approaches to improve our understanding of the predictability of ecological dynamics at local, regional, and continental scales. The objectives of the first EFI-RCN meeting, in support of designing the NEON-enabled forecasting challenge, are to:

  1. Identify focal data products to be used in the forecasting challenge. The selected data products will balance multiple objectives, including utility of forecasts (or modeling frameworks used in the forecast) for managers and agencies as well as ensuring coverage of a range of ecological systems and processes.
  2. Define the standards for archiving ecological forecasts for submission to the challenge. We will create community-driven standards with the goal of implementing these standards for use by the broader ecological forecasting community.
  3. Define the criteria to evaluate forecasts submitted to the foresting challenge.
  4. Identify cyberinfrastructure, training, and software needs to empower as many members of the ecological community as possible to participate in the forecasting challenge.
  5. Launch the forecasting challenge!

 We envision the key products from the meeting including manuscripts describing the “rules” of the forecasting challenge, a description of the community standards, and a roadmap for forecasting using NEON data. The format of the meeting will be mostly working group-focused, with short talks to stimulate the group’s progress towards the objectives and a poster session to highlight the forecasting research being led by the meeting participants 
Please stay tuned for more information regarding the application process.  This EFI meeting will be limited to 65 participants due to space constraints and is focused on EFI-RCN and NEON-related objectives, however, we envision EFI having a much larger, all-hands conference in 2021.