STEPPE: Supporting collaborative research and education on Earth’s deep-time sedimentary crust.

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Dena Michelle Smith, Geological Society of America Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States
STEPPE—Sedimentary geology, Time, Environment, Paleontology, Paleoclimate, and Energy—is a National Science Foundation supported consortium whose mission is to promote multidisciplinary research and education on Earth’s deep-time sedimentary crust. Deep-time sedimentary crust research includes many specialty areas—biology, geography, ecology, paleontology, sedimentary geology, stratigraphy, geochronology, paleoclimatology, sedimentary geochemistry, and more. In fact, the diversity of disciplines and size of the community (roughly one-third of Earth-science faculty in US universities) itself has been a barrier to the formation of collaborative, multidisciplinary teams in the past. STEPPE has been working to support new research synergies and the development of infrastructure that will encourage the community to think about the big problems that need to be solved and facilitate the formation of collaborative research teams to tackle these problems. Toward this end, STEPPE is providing opportunities for workshops, working groups and professional development training sessions, web-hosting and database services and an online collaboration platform that facilitates interaction among participants, the sharing of documentation and workflows and an ability to push news and reports to group participants and beyond using social media tools. As such, STEPPE is working to provide an interactive space that will serve as both a gathering place and clearinghouse for information, allowing for broader integration of research and education across all STEPPE-related sub disciplines.