Initiated in July 2009 with generous funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the DCO seeks to advance the burgeoning field of deep carbon science by fostering an international research coordination network. Guided by a portfolio of ambitious decadal goals, DCO leadership, including its Secretariat, Executive Committee, and Scientific Steering Committees, serves as a resource to launch, coordinate, and sustain research teams focused on achieving those goals. The DCO distributes critical seed funding to nurture deep carbon science, but it is not a funding agency. Rather, the program’s ambition is to leverage Sloan funding by a factor of 10 or more with new resources solicited from varied government, corporate, and private sources.

DCO science is categorized into four science Communities, each led by a Chair and Co-Chair with guidance from a theme-based Scientific Steering Committee. Each Community has a specific suite of scientific objectives requiring a combination of field-based investigations, laboratory experimentation, and computer simulations. Efforts to develop next-generation instrumentation to advance the study of deep carbon while engaging a diverse international group of scientists is also a cornerstone of the DCO agenda. While this approach implies a separation of scientific approaches, there is actually a great degree of overlap among the four Directorates, illustrating the integrated nature of this relatively new field of scientific inquiry.

•    Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community
•    Reservoirs and Fluxes Community
•    Deep Energy Community
•    Deep Life Community

The DCO Secretariat provides central coordination and oversight for Community, instrumentation, and cross-Community and Community-wide projects, and for DCO’s international management structure comprised of an Executive Committee and Community-level Scientific Steering Committees that together form the International Science Advisory Committee. Currently, DCO research endeavors directly involve more than 500 scientists from 20 countries, with cumulative support from many sources exceeding $50 million. To achieve maximum success over this ten-year endeavor, the DCO is building a broad international consensus on research needs and opportunities, as well as soliciting new investments in deep carbon science research from government agencies, private foundations, and corporations.

DCO’s Engagement and Data Science Teams—which are indispensable to highly leveraged fundraising and critical to creating a lasting legacy for DCO research —are coordinated across the spectrum of DCO interests. Representatives from each DCO Community serve as Engagement Liaisons and members of a Data Science Advisory Committee.


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