EFI Unconference 2023

Bringing People Together to Do Forecasting: Training, Technology, Theory, and Translation
Unconference = participant-driven meeting

June 21-23, 2023
Location: NEON Headquarters, Boulder, CO

The goal of the 2023 Unconference was for participants to work together on products such as developing forecasts, automating forecasts, developing teaching materials/tutorials, refining or creating software tools, analyzing forecasts for a manuscript, developing visualizations, or working on other activities proposed by the participants.  There will be a particular focus on using NEON data. The meeting provided an opportunity to learn new approaches and skills from other participants.

The meeting included a poster session for attendees to present their research.

This was an in-person event with no registration fee and with support for travel within the US available.  Due to space constraints, the Unconference was limited to 50 people. The application process allowed us to balance multiple facets of diversity including demographics, industry, career stage, and thematic interests.

Blog Post Updates

  • This blog post provides an overview of the Unconference and the 10 projects that were developed during the Unconference: https://bit.ly/efi-unconference-project-updates
  • This post explores the challenges of transporting ecological models across multiple systems and the ability to train a model with one set of data and apply it to a new set of data.
    The project group used a case study with NEON forest data and similar datasets generated under the Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) program to applying ecological models developed for one dataset to another.
  • This blog post follows up on a project from the EFI 2023 Unconference which describes the work in progress to update the dashboard for the EFI NEON Ecological Forecasting Challenge. The post describes a prototype for the updates dashboard that will include the ability to synthesize forecasts submitted to the Challenge, provide summary metrics, and a self diagnostic platform for individuals and teams that submit to the Challenge.


Wednesday, June 21

8:00Arrive at NEON
8:00 – 8:15Introduction to EFI-RCN, Overview of the Unconference, and Logistics
8:15 – 8:30NEON Welcome from Kate Thibault (NEON Science Lead)
8:30 – 9:30Ice Breaker led by Cayelan Carey (Virginia Tech)
9:30 – 10:30Review of Project Ideas and Project Selection
10:30 – 12:00Unconference Working Session 1
12:00 – 1:00Lunch at NEON (provided by the EFI-RCN);
Concurrent: Student Mixer lunch & Post-doc Lunch led by EFI Student
Association co-chairs LM (Lynda) Bradley (Emory University) & Meghan Beatty (University of Florida)
1:00 – 3:00Unconference Working Session 2
3:00 – 3:30Report Back (2 minute flash talks)
3:30 – 4:45NEON Tour
4:45 – 6:00Poster Session and Social Hour with NEON Staff 
6:00End of Day – Dinner on your own

Thursday, June 22

8:30Arrive for Day 2
8:30 – 9:00Ice Breaker led by Cayelan Carey (Virginia Tech)
9:00 – 11:30Unconference Working Session 3
11:30 – 12:00Report Backs (2 minute flash talks)
12:00 – 1:00Lunch at NEON (provided by the EFI-RCN);
1:00 – 5:30Unconference Working Session 4
6:30-8:30Dinner as a group at The Rayback Collective which has a gathering of food

Friday, June 23

8:30Arrive for Day 3
8:30 – 10:00Working Groups prepare reports and next steps for individuals, EFI Working Groups, or new groups
10:00 – 12:00Demo of Projects (5 minute presentations); Exit Survey; Synthesis and Next Steps; Box lunches to go

The Unconference is supported by the Ecological Forecasting Initiative Research Coordination Network (EFI RCN) and its support from the National Science Foundation (DEB-1926388).