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Battelle Books $416M NSF Award for Continued NEON Operations Support; Lou Von Thaer Quoted

Battelle will continue to operate and maintain an observatory network that enables long-term collection of ecological data for use by the scientific community under a potential five-year, $416 million cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

The National Ecological Observatory Network is composed of terrestrial, atmospheric, aquatic and remote sensing systems and related infrastructure at 81 field sites across the U.S., including Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico, and works to provide scientists with free access to open data and samples to help them characterize and understand the changing ecosystems, Battelle said Friday.

The nonprofit applied science and technology organization will provide the ecological research community with over 180 NEON-derived data products through the agreement.

Lou Von Thaer, president and CEO of Battelle, said the organization shares a mission with NSF in improving discoveries through science and has worked with the agency in the last seven years to help it establish a culture at NEON with a focus on diversity, safety and operational excellence.

“We brought the full force of our expertise and long history of operating large, complex research programs for federal agencies to NEON and are proud of its current success and optimistic about an even better future,” added Von Thaer, an eight-time Wash100 awardee.

NSF said Battelle will also implement asset plans and procedures, perform sample analysis and curation and facilitate engagement with the user community.

The nonprofit tech company has been overseeing NEON operation and maintenance since 2016 and managed the observatory’s completion in 2019.

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