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Robert Samors Appointed Coordination Officer of Belmont Forum e-Infrastructures and Data Management Project

The Belmont Forum is pleased to announce the appointment of Robert J. (Bob) Samors as Coordination Officer (CO) for the Forum’s e-Infrastructure and Data Management (eI&DM) Project. Bob brings a wealth of expertise and talent to this key position, drawing from his most recent role as Senior External Relations Manager for the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

The Belmont Forum eI&DM project was conceived to enable an e-infrastructure that supports the data-intensive, multidisciplinary research that is needed to address current and future global change challenges. The Belmont Forum seeks to develop an integrated approach that leverages existing research infrastructures across nations and disciplines to enable the incorporation of a wide variety of data into a more usable format for decision-making.

As the Coordination Officer, Samors will liaise and coordinate with eI&DM leads and co-leads, stakeholders, Advisory Board members, and other international partners in the adoption of data principles and best practices, promotion of effective data planning and stewardship, and development of an international training curriculum to enable practitioners to put these principles and practices into action, with a goal of making these resources and practices available and implemented in Belmont Forum activities and funded projects.

Prior to his sudden death on 16 August, Dr. Lee Allison, Co-Principal Investigator of the eI&DM Project, had looked forward to Samors leading the Coordination, Collaboration and Communication Office. Dr. Allison considered Samors to be instrumental in the scoping phase of the Belmont Forum e-Infrastructure and Data Management Collaborative Research Action (BF eI&DM CRA),co-leading Work Package 4 and contributing to the development and dissemination of the Community Strategy and Implementation Plan in 2015.

In addition to designing and implementing GEO’s engagement strategy, Samors has worked closely with experts and global leaders in data and information issues across a range of governments and international scientific and technical organizations. His earlier positions have included serving as Associate Vice President for Innovation and Technology Policy at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), as Associate Vice President for Federal Relations for the University of North Carolina System, and as Assistant Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan. He holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and a B.A. in Economics from Brown University.

Contact Bob Samors.

Belmont Forum

The Belmont Forum represents many of the world’s largest and most influential funders of environmental and social science research. Belmont Forum members collaborate to meet the Belmont Challenge “To deliver knowledge needed for action to avoid and adapt to detrimental environmental change including extreme hazardous events.” The Belmont Forum coordinates funding for collaborative research actions (CRAs), high-priority research activities that improve the way funding agencies collaborate with each other and develop opportunities for research.

More information on the Belmont Forum is available at

The Objectives of the E-Infrastructure & Data Management Project include:

  1. Adopt Data Policy and Principles that establish a global, interoperable e-infrastructure with cost-effective solutions to widen access to data and ensure its proper management and long-term preservation. Researchers should be aware of, and plan for, the costs of data intensive research. (Adopted in October 2015)
  2. Foster communication, collaboration and coordination between the wider research community and the Belmont Forum, and across Belmont Forum projects through a Data and e-Infrastructure Coordination Office established within a Belmont Forum Secretariat.
  3. Promote effective data planning and stewardship in all Belmont Forum agency-funded research to enable harmonization of the e-infrastructure data layer through enhanced project data planning, monitoring, review and sharing.
  4. Determine international and community best practice to inform Belmont Forum research e-infrastructure policy, in harmony with evolving research practices and technologies and their interactions, through identification and analysis of cross-disciplinary research case studies.
  5. Support the development of a cross-disciplinary training curriculum to expand human capacity in technology and data-intensive analysis methods for global change research.

Read more on the eI&DM project.