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We are a scientist-driven institution where leveraging existing research efforts produces powerful new insights and moves scientific understanding and its inclusion into management forward at an accelerated pace.

World map showing scientific contributors from a growing list of countries around the world.
The Powell Center has welcomed scientific contributors from a growing list of countries around the world.

Each year we send out a call for proposals, evaluate them on their scientific merit and award funding to the top proposals which then become our Working Groups. 

Working Group Activities

Most Working Groups meet at the Powell Center more than once during the project life to discuss ideas, apportion responsibility, synthesize information, compare results, and write. Much of the actual project work of data preparation, manipulation, modeling, and analysis is done in-between on-site meetings. Principal Investigators assemble Working Groups in advance. Support with technical aspects, including data management, is provided at any time during the life of a Working Group.


Staff includes co-directors, and administrative, IT, and computing support.  The directors are advised by a Science Advisory Board (SAB) with three-year rotating terms. A Memorandum of Understanding between USGS and the National Science Foundation allows partial support for some Working Groups to come from the SF Geosciences Directorate.  The Powell Center is housed at the USGS Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Science Advisory Board (SAB)

The SAB is comprised of scientists from USGS and other federal agencies, selected for their critical and broad analytical skills. The SAB provides advice on goals and directions of the Powell Center and reviews proposals for Working Groups. SAB members serve three year terms. Nominations may originate from anywhere within USGS, and candidates are evaluated by the current SAB for their scientific capabilities and experience with group synthesis activities. View more information about the SAB.

Informatics and Computing Staff Support Services

The Powell Center coordinates with Working Groups to determine and accommodate technical and data management needs. Upon proposal approval, Working Group members are provided with online collaborative tools for preliminary discussions and data sharing. Resources are available in information management and delivery, information technology, modeling, statistics, and GIS.