MCA: Career Advancement in Polar Cyberinfrastructure: GeoAI and Cyberinfrastructure Empowered Pan-Arctic Permafrost Feature Recognition and Change Detection

Project: Research project

Project Details


MCA: Career Advancement in Polar Cyberinfrastructure: GeoAI and Cyberinfrastructure Empowered Pan-Arctic Permafrost Feature Recognition and Change Detection MCA: Career Advancement in Polar Cyberinfrastructure: GeoAI and Cyberinfrastructure Empowered Pan-Arctic Permafrost Feature Recognition and Change Detection Summary: This project will start an exciting research partnership between two mid-career women scholars PI Wenwen Li (expert in GeoAI and cyberinfrastructure from Arizona State University) and Dr. Anna Liljedahl (Arctic permafrost hydrology scientist from Woodwell Climate Research Center). Together, they will exploit novel ways to deepen the integration of cutting-edge AI, geospatial analysis, and cyberinfrastructure into Arctic permafrost research. Specifically, novel GeoAI (Geospatial Artificial Intelligence) solutions will be developed to empower the ongoing efforts of AI-based high-resolution mapping of permafrost thaw at pan-Arctic extent. By enabling location-aware and multi-source deep learning and the integration of key spatial principles, i.e. spatial dependency and spatial autocorrelation, the proposed GeoAI model is more powerful and competent in analyzing Arctic data than general AI models. It will create spatial data products with higher veracity at a much faster speed, accelerating thereby the navigation and understanding of the New Arctic. Besides research collaboration, a carefully cultivated professional development plan will be executed. This includes taking an Arctic Science summer course at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, followed by a field trip to the ice-rich permafrost in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Outcome-driven ideation sessions will be held between Li and Liljedahls groups to exchange domain knowledge, foster interdisciplinary convergent thinking, and develop high-impact research papers and competitive proposals. Li will benefit from witnessing Liljedahls day-to-day team management through virtual and in-person site visits and more formal leadership training received through the HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) leadership institute. Finally, Li will sharpen her leadership skills by co-creating with Liljedahl an initiative of Women in Polar Cyberinfrastructure and develop webinars and mentorship programs to foster the career advancement of students, postdocs and early-career scholars. Intellectual Merit: This project will accelerate the research advancement and professional development of mid-career scholar Li through a cohesive, cross-discipline partnership, and a self-driven development plan. The research partnership with Dr. Liljedahl will fill Lis knowledge gap in Arctic science, remove the barrier to broaden and deepen the penetration of Lis stellar GeoAI work into Arctic permafrost research, which will open up new opportunities for Li to develop translational GeoAI research for solving long-standing or emerging Arctic problems. The proposed collaborative research will substantially accelerate ongoing efforts of pan-Arctic mapping of permafrost thaw, contributing to an improved understanding of permafrost degradation and climate change across multiple scales. It will also become an important success story to stimulate more convergence research combining Arctic science and GeoAI. This move is a critical step toward developing GeoAI as a vital part of Polar and Earth and Environmental Sciences research and curriculum. In addition to research accomplishment, the professional development activities will substantively expand Lis knowledge base in Arctic science, strengthen her internal and external communications skills, boost research productivity through interdisciplinary collaboration and prepare her to take on bigger leadership roles in large multi-institutional grants and academic organizations. Broader Impacts: Gender inequality is a persistent issue in polar science. Women who study AI are situated as significant minorities in disciplines dominated by men. The lack of voices and perspective in an area of increasing scientific importance cannot be understated. As new technologies emerge to evaluate our changing Arctic permafrost, we must also consider bringing in emerging scientists and diverse specialties to address this highly dynamic field. This project will provide protected time to nurture the career growth of PI Li to rise as a field leader in Polar Cyberinfrastructure (CI). The new partnership fostered by this project will yield fruitful outcome for both scholars, including co-authored publications, workshops, expanded professional network and increased research visibility. More importantly, the joint initiative of Women in Polar Cyberinfrastructure will broaden the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in Polar CI research and foster the growth of next-generation workforce with interdisciplinary skills.
Effective start/end date9/1/218/31/24


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $359,841.00


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