NobleReach Foundation

The Environmental Data Initiative, National Phenology Network, iDigBio

Digitizing and preserving environmental and biological data for open and reproducible science

*NSF-Funded, Ecology, Data

Initiative Description

The cohort of EDI, NPN and iDigiBio represent significant national investments in cataloging and enabling the broad availability of ecological, phenological and biodiversity data. As centralized points for NSF investment in digital data collections for over a decade, the three have amassed significant data in each of their respective disciplines, representing both a historical record and the ongoing evolution of our environment that is critical to climate and environmental fields.  In aggregate, the three arguably hold the most extensive data collection of biological data in the United States. The data they hold is freely available to any user today. Furthermore, these initiatives serve as a cornerstone of an educational ecosystem, providing training, knowhow, and capabilities to advance the field of science through increasingly powerful means of data capture and analysis.

A brief on the three initiatives:

EDI, the Environmental data initiative, is a leader in information management, promoting best practices and stewardship to drive high-quality data and metadata in the environmental field. To date, EDI has 90,000 data sets held within 14TB of data. Users download tens of thousands of data packages a week.

NPN, the USA National Phenology Network, connects volunteer observers, government agencies, educators, and students to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals.  As a technology platform, NPN combines a mobile app for easy citizen science participation, with data storage and a set of data use tools. NPN garners ~4,000 active contributors a year and creates a number of data packages for researchers.

iDigBio has facilitated and enabled the digitization of a significant portion of the US’s heritage of biological specimens with over 137 million digital specimens, representing a leading database for biodiversity research. The iDigBio team works with museum and academic collection curators to digitize, store, and disseminate collections data, including transcribed label records and specimen images, and is at the center of a training ecosystem for digitization of biological information.

Recognizing the significance of the scientific research and potential impact for climate and environmental initiatives outside research, EDI, NPN, and iDigBio have been awarded an additional grant with business support explicitly devoted to expanding commercial activity to build a path to operational sustainability and growth as part of partnership between NSF and the NobleReach Foundation. The aim of the partnership is to speed biotechnology development, translation, and commercialization for NSF-funded investigators. See here for a link to the press release. NobleReach aids in the identification of experts to facilitate commercialization as well as on the translation of science into business.

Job Description

An established, NSF-funded ecology data platform initiative already servicing thousands of users is hiring a business lead to work closely with the scientific leadership team to define commercialization opportunities and build out a related business plan. This role is pivotal in guiding the team to a position of sustained, long-term impact in areas of increasing importance for understanding climate change impacts and the formulation of solutions and services that can adapt, mitigate, and even potentially reverse these impacts. The individual will work closely with the leadership team and will be responsible for identifying and developing revenue opportunities, defining a business and organizational strategy to foster commercialization pathways, and initiating funding avenues to support the organization’s activities and growth plan. Success in this role will set the organization up for sustained growth and impact.

Core areas of accountability:

  • Act as business lead within the organization, coordinating and collaborating with team principles
  • Identify, size and prioritize target markets through voice of the customer analysis
  • Refine product and business model to meet user/customer/market need
  • Engage with potential customers to refine, and confirm through pilot/MVP adoption, product and business model opportunities
  • Develop a strategic business plan to guide the transition of the organization, its products and its business models over a 3-5 year period
  • Drive a strategic partnering and funding plan

Key Experience Desired:

  • Proven experience in bringing data-focused products or services to market, with a first-hand understanding of opportunity assessment, product/market fit focused strategies, business development and product management.
  • Experience creating, and articulating, comprehensive strategic plans and associated operational emergent strategy frameworks to address new opportunities
  • Understanding of, or passion to work with, environmental, ecology, plant and animal data collection, aggregation and analysis methods.
  • Familiarity with a variety of organization and funding models, from non-profit and philanthropic funding to c-corp and venture capital fundraising
  • Background in mentoring teams through organizational change and/or refining organizational identities is helpful.
  • Previous experience developing a new product or targeting a new user segment within an established business will be helpful.

This is a consulting role. The location of the role is flexible and can remote with some travel. Candidates located in the Gainsville, FL, Madison, WI or the Tuscon, AZ areas have the opportunity for frequent face-to-face engagement with the team principles.

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