This post is the viewpoint of myself, Scott Collis, and does not represent the views of the United States Department of Energy
Dear readers, I have some exciting career news. For the next twelve months I am going to be detailed, at 25% of my time, to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. I will be reporting to the division director of the Earth and Environmental Systems Sciences division (EESSD).
While I have not started yet and the full scope will be determined collaboratively with my DOE colleagues, the first projects I will be tackling will be related to the DOE BER Research Development and Partnership Pilot (RDPP) and Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW) – Earth and Environmental Systems programs. A focus will be on improving access of typically underrepresented groups to the division and generally increasing the presence and visibility of the division to all scientists. So many of us who have been funded by EESSD for many years know the structure of DOE programs and their funded activities can be difficult to navigate and many of us have benefitted from having others help us understand the myriad of opportunities at DOE.
This old model does not lend itself well to increasing the diversity of EESSD science. If we are going to attract the attention of scientists at typically underrepresented institutions (eg HBCUs and MSIs) we must aid in the navigation of EESSD. This will be achieved with improved clarity of language, having clear and welcoming points of contact, round tables and outreach efforts.
In my view, this work is essential as unintentionally limiting (and to labor the point, not by design) EESSDs science teams to well resourced and well connected institutions the Office of Science will not have the diverse workforce it needs that allow diverse ideas to flourish. Who knows? The next great earth scientist who solves big problems like warm rain onset, representing ice bearing clouds in climate models accurately or how the world’s carbon stocks will change in a changing climate may be sitting somewhere at an institution that has yet to engage with DOE.