In DepthEcology

NSF looks for new contractor to finish troubled observatory

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Science  18 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6267, pp. 1454
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6267.1454

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The problems keep mounting for an ambitious effort to monitor changing ecosystems across the United States. Last week the National Science Foundation wrote to NEON Inc. that it has "minimal confidence" in the Boulder, Colorado-based organization's ability to complete the $434 million National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), ecology's pioneering foray into big science. NSF will look for another contractor to complete NEON, which aims to monitor environmental changes at dozens of sites representing 20 different ecosystems across the United States. But that's only the first step in NSF's attempt to finish construction and operate the troubled project. The new management will face problems ranging from a poisoned relationship with the scientific community and disagreements with NSF to cost overruns and siting troubles.