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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Efi Foufoula-Georgiou
  • (949) 824-9643
Award Date:09/13/2002
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 19,271,727
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 37,156,813
  • FY 2004=$3,591,355
  • FY 2002=$4,709,660
  • FY 2010=$3,624,458
  • FY 2005=$3,360,594
  • FY 2008=$4,000,000
  • FY 2003=$4,234,084
  • FY 2011=$2,511,339
  • FY 2007=$3,948,423
  • FY 2009=$3,800,000
  • FY 2006=$3,376,900
Start Date:08/01/2002
End Date:07/31/2013
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:490100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:STC: National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics
Federal Award ID Number:0120914
DUNS ID:555917996
Parent DUNS ID:117178941
Program:STC CLASS OF 2002

Awardee Location

Street:200 OAK ST SE
Awardee Cong. District:05

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Street:200 OAK ST SE
Cong. District:05

Abstract at Time of Award

National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics Gary Parker, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Christopher Paola OIA-0120914, University of Minnesota ABSTRACT The National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED) is a Science and Technology Center focused on understanding the processes that shape the Earth's surface, and on communicating that understanding with a broad range of stakeholders. NCED's work will support a larger, community-based effort to develop a suite of quantitative models of the Earth's surface: a Community Sediment Model (CSM). Results of the NCED-CSM collaboration will be used for both short-term prediction of surface response to natural and anthropogenic change and long-term interpretation of how past conditions are recorded in landscapes and sedimentary strata. This will in turn help solve pressing societal problems such as estimation and mitigation of landscape-related risk; responsible management of landscape resources including forests, agricultural, and recreational areas; forecasting landscape response to possible climatic and other changes; and wise development of resources like groundwater and hydrocarbons that are hosted in buried sediments. NCED education and knowledge transfer programs include exhibits and educational programs at the Science Museum of Minnesota, internships and programs for students from tribal colleges and other underrepresented populations, and research opportunities for participants from outside core NCED institutions. The Earth's surface is the dynamic interface among the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. It is intimately interwoven with the life that inhabits it. Surface processes span environments ranging from high mountains to the deep ocean and time scales from fractions of a second to millions of years. Because of this range in forms, processes, and scales, the study of surface dynamics has involved many disciplines and approaches. A major goal of NCED is to foster the development of a unified, quantitative science of Earth-surface dynamics that combines efforts in geomorphology, civil engineering, biology, sedimentary geology, oceanography, and geophysics. Our research program has four major themes: (1) landscape evolution, (2) basin evolution, (3) biological sediment dynamics, and (4) integration of morphodynamic processes across environments and scales. Each theme area provides opportunities for exchange of information and ideas with a wide range of stakeholders, including teachers and learners at all levels; researchers, managers, and policy makers in both the commercial and public sectors; and the general public. NCED is headquartered at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota. Participating institutions are the University of Minnesota, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, the University of California at Berkeley, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Princeton University. To learn more about NCED, including opportunities to participate, please contact us at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory or via the NCED website:

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Tejedor, Alejandro and Singh, Arvind and Zaliapin, Ilya and Densmore, Alexander L. and Foufoula-Georgiou, Efi "Scale-dependent erosional patterns in steady-state and transient-state landscapes" Science Advances, v.3, 2017, p.. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1701683 Citation details  

Singh, Arvind and Reinhardt, Liam and Foufoula-Georgiou, Efi "Landscape reorganization under changing climatic forcing: Results from an experimental landscape: LANDSCAPE EVOLUTION" Water Resources Research, v.51, 2015, p.. doi:10.1002/2015WR017161 Citation details  

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics

The National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED) was established in 2002 as an NSF Science and Technology Center (STC), the first such center to study the processes that shape the surface of the earth and lead the development of a quantitative, predictive Earth Surface Science. During its ten years as an STC, NCED developed a new investigational paradigm in understanding landscape dynamics and their response to change, through the integra­tion of geomorphology, ecology, hydrology, sedimentary geology, engineering, social sciences, and geochemistry; and the synergistic combination of field investigations, physical experiments, and computational models. NCED pioneered the use of high-resolution digital topography to advance hypotheses, guide fieldwork, and test theories on the interaction of water, earth, and biota.  It discovered new transport laws in hillslopes and rivers, and advanced the explicit prediction of watershed attributes, such as riverbed grain size, landslide locations, algal abundance, food web interactions, and surface-subsurface exchanges.   It developed the first land-building predictive models for deltas and played a major role in the discussion on how to restore the deteriorating Mississippi river delta following the destruction from hurricane Katrina. NCED’s research led to the development of open source software for training and research, an e-book for sediment transport theory and applications, and the blueprint of a Deltas manual to guide decision making in delta restoration.  NCED’s research also significantly advanced the scientific basis of stream restoration practice and educated students and professionals through extensive stream restoration short courses and science-to-practice implementation. 

NCED’s broader impacts have been unique. It catalyzed the first large-scale collaboration between a major University and a Science Museum – the U of M, Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) partnership, seen nationally as a prime example of taking research to the public.  NCED inspired and co-funded the SMM exhibits of: Big Back Yard, Science on the Sphere, Future Earth exhibit, and Science Kiosks, some touring internationally.  NCED founded the Geoscience Alliance, a national alliance for increasing the participation of Native Americans in the Earth Sciences, and NCED’s collaboration with the STEM center at the U of M continues to provide teacher training material in the natural sciences and engineering. Through its visitors’ program, NCED has opened its doors to hundreds of scientists from around the world. NCED has trained an impressive number of young scientists who are now faculty members in major institutions around the world. A major legacy of NCED is the Summer Institute on Earth-surface Dynamics (SIESD) attended every year by 40 young researchers from around the world who are exposed to interdisciplinary research, scientific networking, and mentoring.   Our NCED synthesis post-docs model has been a great success of how to train young scientists in an interdisciplinary environment and prepare them for a successful research career.

 NCED accomplishments in numbers: 200+ MS/PhD students graduated, 50 post-docs, > 1000 journal publications/ more than half co-authored, 500+ underrepresented students in science camps, 1000+ participated in short courses and partner group meetings, 100+ scientists in 3 multi-disciplinary working groups, 22 PIs in 11 institutions provided leadership and liaison with 9 other community efforts, two major conference for young scientists in ES (MYRES:160 delegates), 300,000+ visited the SMM BBY, 4,000,000+ visited Water: H2O=Life, 98 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and summer interns wit...

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