Thread: IRIS-UNAVCO merger implementation updates

Started: 2022-03-18 13:37:25
Last activity: 2022-03-18 13:37:25
Bob Woodward
2022-03-18 13:37:25
Dear IRIS and UNAVCO Community:

We recently communicated with you the news that the EarthScope Consortium will locate its primary instrument center at New Mexico Tech, in Socorro, NM. The joint Boards of Directors of IRIS and UNAVCO also approved additional resolutions that, when combined with other recent resolutions and principles, address EarthScope Board elections, staffing, and salary structures. We have been keeping the community informed about these developments via our “Joining Forces Newsletter” every other month (back issues here However, we wanted to provide a more timely update via this e-mail message.

The bylaws that the community approved for EarthScope dictate the broad process whereby the first EarthScope Board of Directors will be elected. The joint Boards have developed a timeline for this process which will be posted to the Joining Forces website soon. The key point is that nominations will be developed over the late spring and summer, with elections in late summer. We hope that the entire community will participate in the nomination process as we prepare to build an outstanding inaugural Board of Directors for our new consortium.

It is the talented staff of IRIS and UNAVCO, whether as direct employees or via subaward, that have made our consortia centers of excellence. To maintain our high standards for support and innovation, EarthScope will endeavor to retain our unique staff expertise. Existing IRIS and UNAVCO staff will be transitioned to EarthScope without having to compete for the jobs they already do so well. Most subaward work will also be transitioned to direct EarthScope labor. EarthScope will work closely and collaboratively with subaward partners to achieve smooth transitions of activities, including extending employment offers to employees who presently work on these subawards.

Finally, we note that EarthScope will be a national organization, with staff working in different locations and applying their talents across the multiple programs and projects that EarthScope will operate. To this end, EarthScope will employ a compensation system that pays employees consistently based on job description, wherever they work, and that salaries will be tied to national compensation surveys based on peer organizations. Position descriptions, qualifications, and pay grade structures will be established based on best practices for not-for-profit and science organizations. This includes providing multiple pathways to qualification for positions so that talented people can find their way to the EarthScope Consortium from a wide variety of life experiences.

As we get closer to the merger transition, we will be making many operational and strategic decisions to position EarthScope as an agile and innovative organization that continues to meet the highest standards of service and responsiveness to the scientific community. We are excited by the opportunity to look at how we’ve accomplished our mission in the past, keep the practices that work best, and address practices that limit our adaptiveness and efficiency. This will be an iterative process over the coming years, and it will critically depend on continued close collaboration with our stakeholders and our community. We therefore welcome your input on the merger and implementation planning through both structured and informal channels. Right now, we encourage you to take a few minutes to fill out this online survey to communicate your thoughts on community governance, facility needs, and the upcoming merger. IRIS and UNAVCO Board member teams will be hosting Zoom events with Member Representatives and interested community members. If you are a Member Representative, you will be hearing directly from a Board Team (one IRIS and one UNAVCO Board member). If you are not a Member Representative and you would like to participate in a call hosted by a Board Team, please email Rhonda Porter (rhonda.porter<at> for scheduling information. Finally, you are always encouraged to reach out directly to governance members or facility staff with your great ideas.


Ronni Grapenthin Chair, UNAVCO Board of Directors
Rick Aster, Chair, IRIS Board of Directors
Becks Bendick, President, UNAVCO
Bob Woodward, President, IRIS
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