Directors Statement

The mission of the Earth Research Institute (ERI) is to support research and education in the sciences of our solid, fluid, and living Earth. In the past fiscal year, ERI-affiliated faculty and researchers from across campus submitted 151 proposals requesting over $37.8 million in funding. During this same period, ERI welcomed 19 new PIs (12 faculty and 7 researchers) from across campus who either made their first submission or received their first award. The 2018-2019 year also saw completion of almost all of the construction of the North Campus Open Space restoration, completion of an ERI-led effort to upgrade campus cyberinfrastructure, and the addition of support for the UC Natural Reserve Office to our administrative unit.


The North Campus Open Space (NCOS) project - led by CCBER and detailed in the CCBER Director’s Annual Statement - is nearly complete. This restoration of 125 acres of wetlands and upland habitat has continued to engage undergraduate students through volunteering opportunities, and engaging campus teaching and research. Community events related to NCOS created new opportunities for UCSB’s neighbors to learn about the scholarship related to conservation science happening here on campus.


This year saw the completion of ERI’s NSF-funded efforts to implement within-campus network upgrades that provide efficient movement of diverse and distributed set of environmental and Earth observation data. In addition to within campus upgrades, we also obtained increased bandwidth between UCSB’s external connection - known as the CENIC network interface - to the UCSB North Hall Data Center where increasing amounts of data are stored. The combination of within campus networking improvements and upgrades to the campus connection will allow ERI and Geography collaborators located across the nation and world-wide to effectively access and share data sets created and archived within the UCSB campus. As a result of these efforts, Ellison Hall (home to ERI and the Department of Geography) now has a 10-40 fold increase in network bandwidth and the UCSB campus will see a 10 fold increase. The improvements provided through this project have reduced staff time spent managing network congestion. This reduction has allowed for increased productivity for staff and researchers, especially at the Earth Research Institute (ERI) and the Climate Hazards Group. The time savings for ERI compute staff has been channeled toward expanding and enhancing services within the ERI research compute environment. These efforts have enabled improvements in the HPC environment and given us the opportunity to provide new offerings including a new GPU system and environment which has led to new collaborations between multiple groups at UCSB.


As we enter 2019-2020, we are excited about the opportunity to assess our impact across campus via our upcoming external review. We are particularly excited about the emerging opportunities we see to contribute to campus-wide efforts related to data science and cyberinfrastructure, and to continue to support UCSB’s world-class faculty and researchers engaged in Earth and Environmental Science. This annual report provides a snapshot of the Earth Research Institute in 2018-2019, the research we do, and the impact of these efforts.

    Kelly Caylor

    Director, Earth Research Institute