Should the Pioneer Array be moved? If so, where?

In 2021, the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board (OOIFB) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are launching a process to consider whether to move the Pioneer Array from its current location, on the New England shelf and slope south of Martha’s Vineyard, to a new site. Selection of the next OOI Pioneer Array location, or decision to maintain the Array at its current location, will be driven by community input on the important science questions that can be addressed by the Pioneer Array.

The OOI community is invited to weigh in on this important decision during a two-phase sequential lab approach that will bring scientists, educators, and other stakeholders together virtually to evaluate 1) future location options for the Pioneer Array and 2) new design considerations that can enable exciting research endeavors at the chosen location.

Two Innovations Labs will be held in 2021. The Phase 1 Innovations Lab, March 15-19, will explore possible locations for the Pioneer Array based on multiple factors, driven by scientific questions that require an ocean observatory to advance knowledge. At the Lab, interdisciplinary teams will work together to ideate and develop a roadmap of possible locations including exploring new scientific, educational, and partnership opportunities.

The Phase 2 Innovations Lab, in late spring/early summer, will come up with a plan to maximize the science gains and broader impacts of the potential new site. If a new site is recommended, the Array would be moved in 2023. The OOI Coastal and Global Scale Nodes (CGSN) Team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution would continue the operation and maintenance of the array, regardless of its location.

The Lab’s findings will be considered by an NSF review panel, which will report to NSF in early fall on the new Pioneer Array location and how it can be optimized for science and education.

How to Become Involved

For those interested in learning more, a 60-90-minute informational session, Phase 1 Micro Lab, is planned for 13 January 2021, beginning at 1 pm Eastern. Representatives from NSF along with CGSN, the current operator of the Pioneer Array, will present information about the selection process and technical details about the Pioneer Array.

Individuals interested in applying for the Phase I Innovations Lab are encouraged to attend the Micro Lab. The information provided could be useful in submitting an application. To attend the Phase 1 Micro Lab, please RSVP here.

The application to participate in the Phase 1 Innovations Lab is available here. The application deadline is 31 January 2021.

Selected Innovative Lab participants will be announced in mid-February. Participants selected for Phase I will also be considered for Phase II.

What to Expect

The Innovations Labs will bring together scientists, stakeholders, and educators. Interdisciplinary teams will work together for six-hour days for the full week. Teams will form, pitch, and refine plans (based on input from experts and other participants). Participants will meet virtually each day of the week (M-F). Four days will be for synchronous meetings and one day will be dedicated to asynchronous team work

To learn more or to apply, click here.