Earth Science Information Network

Relationship of Consortium to Federal Agencies Gao ID: NSIAD-96-13 October 27, 1995

The Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network was established in 1989 as a private, nonprofit organization chartered by the state of Michigan. It is structured as a consortium of university and nongovernmental research organizations. The Consortium's mission is to provide access to, and enhance the use of, information on human interactions in the environment by scientist and policy makers. In addition to discussing the Consortium's mission, this report provides information on (1) the Consortium's past and prospective funding, (2) the way in which NASA will oversee the Consortium's work on the human dimensions of global change, and (3) the similarity of activities between the Consortium and the National Science Foundation's Centers for the Human Dimensions of Global Change, and (4) the Consortium's building requirements.

GAO found that: (1) CIESIN enhances scientists' and decisionmakers' use of information on human interactions in the environment through access to HDGC databases worldwide; (2) four federal agencies have provided most of the $82 million in CIESIN funding; (3) although they are satisfied with its performance, three of the agencies will cease CIESIN funding due to budgets constraints and higher priority needs; (4) NASA will continue funding CIESIN so that it can develop and operate a Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) which will incorporate socioeconomic data into its Earth Observing System Data and Information System; (5) federal funding reductions will cause CIESIN to compete for grants and contracts from other sources; (6) NASA believes it can appropriately oversee CIESIN SEDAC activities; (7) there is no duplication of effort between NSF centers for HDGC and CIESIN because CIESIN does not conduct or sponsor basic research; (8) Congress appropriated about $42 million in fiscal year (FY) 1993 to build CIESIN headquarters, but has subsequently withdrawn all but about $3 million; (9) NASA can support only those CIESIN-leased facilities that support SEDAC activities; and (10) to maximize the usefulness of CIESIN work and to justify NASA noncompetitive contracting decisions, CIESIN work needs to be evaluated for its usefulness to federal programs and the noncompetitive SEDAC contract award needs to be justified.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Team: Phone:

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.