Building Communities of Practice Around Environmental Open Data Science
Feb 08, 2019
Julia Stewart Lowndes
Building Communities of Practice Around Environmental Open Data Science

  Please join us Friday when it will be our pleasure to welcome Blair Stewart’s daughter Julia Stewart Lowndes. There is huge potential for data science to accelerate research and generate solutions to pressing environmental problems on land and sea. But many scientists are excluded from efficient use of data science because they lack “downstream” basic skillsets, mindsets, or support in academia they would need to engage with such tools. Environmental scientists are a diverse community that ranges from climatologists to geneticists, but they are united by an enormous need to work efficiently with data – and by the fact that they seldom have formal computing or data analysis training of any kind. There is great opportunity to borrow from the work of software engineers and use collaborative open tools that facilitate better science in less time. However, a fundamental shift is needed in the environmental science community that prioritizes data science and provides emerging scientific leaders training in open science tools and practices to strengthen and accelerate their work.

  Julia will discuss her work to catalyze this shift through two programs she has developed and lead at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The first is the Ocean Health Index training program, which teaches international government and academic scientists how to channel the best available scientific information into marine policy using our scientific method and tools. And the second, she has recently launched in January 2019 as a Mozilla Fellow: Openscapes, a mentorship program that empowers environmental scientists with open data science tools and grows the community of practice.  

  Julia Stewart Lowndes is a marine data scientist and Mozilla Fellow, working to increase the value and practice of open environmental science. She has been working in this space since 2013 at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara. With the Ocean Health Index, she has led training programs for data-driven ocean policy efforts around the world and led a transformative publication in Nature Ecology & Evolution: Our path to better science in less time using open data science tools. She earned her PhD at Stanford University in 2012 studying drivers and impacts of Humboldt squid in a changing climate.

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