Under the tutelage of Denis Bogan, (who will be retiring soon after many years), I led the reviews for Cassini Data Analysis and (New Horizons at) Jupiter Data Analysis programs this past month. It was quite educational and reinforced what all the program officers have been saying: the most difficult part of getting awards announced in a timely manner is finding enough qualified reviewers willing to serve at the same time. We strove to find balanced panels and multiple external reviews for every proposal, but it was quite difficult in some cases. We were able to have real-time input from panelists who would otherwise not have been able to take part by having them attend virtually; a solution that seemed to please everyone. One thing is clear, whether in person or virtual, we badly need you to serve as reviewers for us. Since every proposal is read by four (and sometimes as many as to eight) people, it would be ideal if you read that many proposals for every one you submit. Of course we must avoid conflicts of interest, but if you are willing to provide external reviews or serve on a panel, please send an email to email@example.com volunteering to be a reviewer. Please send a CV and let us know what programs or subject areas you are qualified to review.
We have had some important personnel changes here at SMD I'd like to tell you about. Of course, I do my best to keep up the role that Yvonne Pendleton played as "SARA" in my role as research lead for SMD, dealing with everything related to ROSES solicitations, NSPIRES, reviews, and funds disbursement. The education and public outreach (E/PO) part of what Yvonne did will be taken over by Stephanie Stockman, the new E/PO lead for SMD. Stephanie has played a leadership role in NASA's Earth and space science E/PO programs at Goddard for the past 16 years. She is currently a senior E/PO specialist in Code 690 at Goddard. We are all very happy that she will be joining us in SMD to continue her E/PO leadership in a new role. John Rummel has sailed away (literally) from NASA and Washington DC to be the Director of the East Carolina University Institute for Coastal Science and Policy and his interim replacement as the Director of the Astrobiology Program will be Mary Voytek of USGS. For more information see the NAI web story. There are other changes too, please see the what's new page for more information.
As always, I remain committed to improving our already excellent research, data analysis and technology development programs. I will be assisting Jim Green at the NASA town hall presentation at the DPS meeting in Ithaca in mid-October where we will present data showing that we are making selections faster and answer questions regarding reviews. I hope to see you there.
Max (a.k.a. SARA)