Increasing Diversity in the Deep Carbon Observatory

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U.S. geoscientists remain substantially less racially and ethnically representative than the general population, which means a large pool of talent is not entering the geosciences. A number of barriers have been identified, including scarce role models, lack of strong geoscience departments at minority serving institutions, and limited career awareness in the general population. The geoscience community has invested decades into addressing this problem, especially recruiting new underrepresented individuals into the discipline. To extend these efforts, the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) partnered with the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) in 2015, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This project promotes active participation of traditionally underrepresented U.S. geoscientists in the new field of deep carbon science by encouraging deeper participation by geoscientists whose research aligns with DCO’s mission.

DCO is a decade-long, global research program dedicated to investigating the role that carbon plays in the Earth system. It has four science communities: Deep Energy, Deep Life, Extreme Physics and Chemistry, and Reservoirs and Fluxes. Four questions guide DCO’s efforts:

  1. How much carbon does Earth contain, and where is it?
  2. What is the nature of Earth’s deep carbon cycle?
  3. What forms of carbon exist within the Earth?
  4. What can deep carbon tell us about origins of life, Earth, and the Solar System?

AGI is dedicated to encourage participation by providing travel support for DCO workshops and events, instrumentation time at DCO-supported facilities, and support to conduct fieldwork or attend conferences to present collaborative DCO research. AGI is actively recruiting applicants for these opportunities. Eligible applicants are traditionally underrepresented individuals at the PhD, post-doctoral or early-career faculty level whose current geoscience research aligns with DCO’s mission or underrepresented geoscientists who are interested in pursuing this area of research. Successful applicants will receive grants of up to $4,500. As part of the project, AGI facilitates engagement of current DCO Science Network members to collaborate with incoming underrepresented geoscientists on synergistic research projects, while attending events or during instrumentation time.

  • Heather Houlton*
  • Christopher Keane*
  • Geological Society of America Annual Meeting 2015