Lamont Weekly Report, February 17, 2012

Some personnel news:

Nichole Anest has been promoted to curator of Lamont's Core Repository. Under the leadership of Mo Raymo, we are planning to start a major renovation to build and support next-generation analytical facilities. As everyone knows, the cores are a never-ending source of new observations and new science, and Nichole's curation will be a crucial bridge to future utilization of the repository. Nichole takes over from Rusty Lotti, who retired last year, and who was instrumental
in giving us a great base for future growth.

Linda Fingerson started as the new division administrator for Marine Geology & Geophysics on Monday, February 6.  Previously, she managed grants in the Ford Foundation's media, arts and culture unit, focusing on journalism, electronic media policy and Native American arts and culture. She holds a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from NYU and
is active in the arts herself; she sings, plays the flute and acts in and produces cabaret performances. She also tends a vegetable garden at her home in Cortlandt Manor, NY. Welcome, Linda!

The President's budget was released on Monday, and the top-line budget levels for the science agencies were good. Of course, this is only the start of an election year budget debate, which we will be tracking very closely.

We were visited on Valentine's Day by a senior analyst from the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, who wanted to discuss issues related to climate science and climate observation programs. It was a great off-the-record discussion; thanks to all who participated. Connections with OSTP are important, so we are preparing some followup materials.

Edie Miller and her staff, particularly Wanda Espinal, have been hard at work eliminating the travel reimbursement processing backlog. Our admin staff now processes travel reports within a few days of submission to our Finance office.  There is still a backlog downtown, but we are no longer part of the problem. And Morningside knows this. Working on it...

From Naomi Schrag, Associate Vice President for Research Compliance:

"As you may know, our office offers a Certification in Administration of Sponsored Projects for administrative staff who work with sponsored projects.  I am writing to let you know that the individual(s) in your school listed below are among the first to have successfully completed all requirements necessary to earn the Certification:

-        Laura Barry-Bliss, Department of Ocean and Climate Physics

-        Laura Lichtblau, Department of Ocean and Climate Physics

-        Jennifer Potocnik, Facilities and Support Services

The Certificate program provides a foundation of knowledge about the federal regulations and University policies and procedures that govern research and compliance at Columbia."

Well done, Laura, Laura and Jennifer!

You may have noticed that our media coverage continues to increase. This week, it was the Russians drilling into Lake Vostok. Last week it was Death Valley's "Big Bang." Our communications team coordinates with their colleagues on the Morningside campus to ensure that what we do is mentioned, or that our scientists are brought in to comment on the
news of the day when appropriate. This is useful on many levels, but also an institutional responsibility. Fortunately, and predictably, we have a lot to say. So, answer the phone when Kim Martineau calls.

Speaking of news releases, I received a news release on Monday, February 13, 2012, from NSF, informing me that NSF's "Division of Atmospheric Sciences (ATM) became the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS) to more accurately reflect the range of science activities supported by the Division."

Apparently, too many proposers are still targeting ATM, and not AGS. ATM changed its name to AGS on October 1, 2009. Just sayin'.