STATE OF THE GEOSCIENCES: OPPORTUNITIES, CHALLENGES, AND TURBULENCE
Dr. Donald L. Paul,
In many regards, the geosciences have seldom seen a period as interesting
and exciting as today. Or one filled with so much uncertainty.
Opportunities for advancing our understanding of the complexity and inter-relationships
of earth systems have never been better, or arguably as important.
At the same time, major challenges and turbulence surround the geoscience
profession due to the effects of globalization, a sea-change in the energy
industry, and the transformation of the R&D system.
Some key factors encompass the various combinations of opportunity,
challenge, and turbulence:
Science and Technology:
Business and Economics:
Multi-disciplinary systems approaches emerge to complex geoscience problems.
New measurements, data, and analysis capabilities grow.
Information technology, biotechnology, and materials sciences continue
to lead the breakthroughs.
Globalization of resources, markets, and technology creates both opportunities
The third major shift in 25 years is under way in the energy industry,
traditionally the largest employer of geoscientists.
Performance expectations for all industries and economies continue to rise.
A framing of these issues will help set the stage for an invigorating panel
discussion of the state of the geosciences.
The transformation of the R&D system impacts academic, industrial,
and governmental research communities.
Demographics shifts propagate through the geoscience profession and employment
The “networked world” is fundamentally altering professions and businesses
– will this happen in the geosciences too?
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