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Paros-PGI Observatory Technical & Innovation Center [OTIC]


Goal: To strengthen observation-based research at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory by increasing the Institutional capacity to design and develop innovative field and laboratory instrumentation.


Strategy: Increase the number and extent of field and instrumentation development projects at the Observatory through a) enhanced and coordinated engineering and technical support of instrument development and field activities b) provision of seed money to stimulate new projects for instrumentation development that are likely to generate new external funding.


Background: This initiative will be supported by endowment income yielded by the generous gifts of PGI Inc and Jerome M. Paros, which together constitute the  Jerome M. Paros-Palisades Geophysical Institute Fund for Engineering Innovation in Geoscience Research.




1. The OTIC Manager identifies and arranges for available, appropriate technical personnel to assist researchers in preparation of technical and instrument development components of observational based proposals for external support. The technical person is paid with OTIC funds for the proposal writing assistance [estimate: from 1 day to up to 2 weeks per proposal, as needed]. Objective: better proposals lead to more funds for fieldwork and innovative instrument development or application, which then strengthen the Observatory’s engineering and technical capabilities.


2. The OTIC serves as a clearinghouse for matching on-campus technical/engineering expertise to projects in need of less than one FTE of technical and engineering support. The need may range from providing advise to possible participation in the project. The OTIC Manager directs such requests to appropriate technical/engineering personnel within the Observatory. The assistance will be rendered on a cost-recovery basis. If on-campus talent is not available, the OTIC can assist in out-sourcing. As OTIC success leads to increased technical/engineering capacity out-sourcing would diminish Objective: Networking of Observatory engineering and technical talent leads to enhanced capability.


3. The OTIC runs a yearly competition for innovative technical/engineering projects, at the $10-20K cost/project.  A separate document describes the OTIC annual proposal competition. One project, maybe 2, deemed worthy would be funded with OTIC funds. There may not be a winner every year. Objective: encourage and enhance instrument development and observational based programs.


Comment: The OTIC will maintain a web site that facilitates coordination of the needs and talent for Observatory technical/engineering activities.



OTIC Steering Committee,


Arnold L. Gordon, OTIC Director

James Gaherty,

David Ho,

William Smethie,

Ajit Subramaniam,

Maya Tolstoy,

Andreas Thurnherr,


Bruce Huber, OTIC Manager