Process and Goals for selecting a new location of the Pioneer Array.

A 2-Phase Process

Selection of a new 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 with observations from a new Array location.  A 2-Phase Sequential Lab approach is planned that will bring ocean scientists, educators and other stakeholders virtually together to evaluate 1) future location options for the Pioneer Array and 2) new design considerations that can enable exciting research endeavors at the new location. 

During each phase, one Micro Lab and a multi-day Innovations Lab are envisioned.  The Pioneer Array location selection will be made during Phase I of the proposed project, based on multiple factors (see Technical considerations for relocating the Pioneer Array) including science questions that can be addressed at the new site. During Phase II, the science and observation opportunities offered by the selected location will be further developed and used to optimize the design and observing potential of the Array at the new location.

Participant Selection for Innovations Labs – Selection of participants for the Innovations Labs is a key factor in achieving a successful event and reaching constructive recommendations.  Lab participants must have a willingness and excitement to explore new ideas in a collaborative setting.

A diverse mix of Lab participants is important to boost the innovation richness and dynamic. The Lab participants will be selected to achieve a broad range of disciplines and professional expertise, career stage (from early to senior), gender, cultural background, and life experience. Involving a wide range of people in the conversations will enrich the innovative quality, outputs, and outcomes of the Labs.  

The number of participants selected for the Phase I Innovations Lab will somewhat depend on the number of potentially feasible Pioneer Array geographic regions proposed by the applicant pool.  The Phase I participants are welcome to participate in the Phase II Labs.

Other Participants in the Phase I & II Labs – In addition to the selected participants, an NSF Panel, representatives from NSF, and the OOI Program team will attend the virtual Labs. The OOI Coastal and Global Scale Node (CGSN) team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), who is the current operator of the Pioneer Array, will not be part of the decision process for selecting a new location for the Array, nor contribute to specific location proposals. They will be available throughout the Innovations Labs to ensure participants have the best information for the proposed location options, and understand the capabilities of the array’s technologies.  


A Phase I Micro Lab will introduce the Pioneer Array relocation selection process to individuals who are interested in applying for the Innovations Lab.  The CGSN team will provide additional details about constraints that must be considered while selecting a new Array site.  The Micro Lab will take place on January 13, 2021 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm EST.

Applications to participate in the Phase I Lab are due on January 31, 2021 and participant selection is expected by mid-February. Participants selected for Phase I will also be considered for Phase II.

The Phase I Innovations Lab will take place during the week of March 15, 2021. During this Lab, the proposed Pioneer Array locations will be presented and evaluated by the selected participants.

An NSF Panel will provide a recommendation to NSF regarding the new Pioneer Array location at the completion of Phase I (late March/early April 2021)


A Phase II Micro Lab will introduce the participants and applicants to the objectives and goals of the Phase II Innovations Lab.   Details about the chosen Pioneer Array site will be provided and the CGSN team will offer technical details about the Pioneer Array.  The proposed Micro Lab is expected to be a 60-90-minute virtual event and take place in May 2021. 

Participants and Applicants from Phase I will be considered for participation in Phase II. If needed, there will also be a second application opportunity to participate in Phase II. Participant selection for Phase II is expected in early June 2021.

The Phase II Innovations Lab will take place during in late spring/early summer 2021. During this Lab, participants will work to identify the observatory opportunities that can be offered by the new Pioneer Array location. An objective will be to also discuss how the Pioneer Array sensors and platforms can be optimized to achieve science and education goals at the new site, based on environmental, logistical, and infrastructural considerations. Partnership and collaboration potentials at the new location will be discussed.

Following the Phase II Innovations Lab, the NSF Panel will provide a report to NSF that highlights the exciting opportunities that will be offered by the selected Pioneer Array location.  The report will describe the new discoveries that are possible and will offer insight on the Pioneer Array configuration that will optimize these opportunities.  Partnership and collaboration potentials will be included in the report.  The Panel report will be submitted to NSF by early fall 2021.

Innovation Lab Goals:

  • Phase I Lab Goal – Inform the selection of the Pioneer Array location.
  • Phase II Lab Goal – Optimize the science and educational potential of the Pioneer Array at the new location.