Cyberinfrastructure Center of Excellence


Creating a Thriving Workplace

A conversation about the successes and challenges with building a stellar CI workforce in NSF Major Facilities.

Workshop report is now available.
Please access the PDF, DIO, and citation information here at Zenodo

Sponsored by the CI CoE Pilot and CI4Resilience
Tuesday June 29th, 2021 – Online via Zoom

The CI CoE Pilot and CI4Resilience project is are hosting a one-day workshop on June 29 for NSF Major Facilities (MFs), on creating a thriving workplace. At the 2019 NSF Workshop on Connecting Large Facilities and Cyberinfrastructure, participants working in MFs described needs and challenges with building and developing staff that we had not heard discussed by those working in more mainstream academic research institutions. To explore this further, the Pilot conducted a series of interviews with managers at MFs to learn more about their experiences with hiring, retention, training and mentoring, work culture, rewards and recognition, and loss of personnel. From these interviews we learned more about how MFs grow and develop their staff, what aspects of their staffing situations appear to be unique to working in an MF, and what aspects tend to resemble more typical academic research institutions. To continue to fulfill our mission of supporting and fostering the work of MFs, we are hosting this workshop to provide a forum for discussion and idea-sharing around professional development issues specific to MFs.

The workshop will focus on three main topics:

  • Working in remote or distributed teams
  • Working in non-traditional physical environments
  • Creating a work culture that taps into intrinsic motivations


Target Audience

  • This workshop is for MF staff at any level — new employee to seasoned manager — who are interested in professional development and helping their MF achieve its goals in creating a thriving workplace.
  • If you work at partner organizations (e.g., SGCI, TrustedCI) or elsewhere in the MF ecosystem and also have interests in building and developing staff, this workshop may interest you as well.
  • If you are employed at NSF and work with MFs, or have particular interest in staffing and professional development in large research organizations, then we encourage you to attend as well.



Noon - 12:15pm EST /
9:00am - 9:15am PST
Opening Remarks

Ewa Deelman (CI CoE)
Laura Christopherson (CI CoE)
12:15pm - 1:00pm EST /
9:15am - 10:00am PST
  Keynote: Creating a Trained and Motivated User Base for Large Research Facilities and Their Data

Drawing on lessons learned from four decades of use and engagement with management of the US Academic Research Fleet and other Ocean Science research facilities, the speaker will advocate for targeted training efforts and programs that help the science community understand what Large Research Facilities offer, how they are managed and funded, how they are accessed and scheduled, and the full scope of user responsibilities and risks. Such training programs can improve workforce retention amongst early career scientists, and foster collaboration and outreach. A 10-year retrospective will be given on the “UNOLS Chief Scientist Training Program” that was initiated in 2011 to provide such training to sea- going oceanographers. Evolving cyber infrastructure tools that may extend to remote facility users will also be highlighted.
Clare E. Reimers, Distinguished Professor,
College of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University and Project Scientist for the RCRV Project
1:00pm EST - 1:45pm EST /
10:00am - 10:45am PST
Remote/Distributed Team Work

Many MF staff are spread around the globe and have to find ways to coordinate their activities and collaborate effectively without the benefit of physical proximity. Many work in different time zones, different cultures, and different geopolitical situations--all of which can affect how work is done.
  • Alisdair Davey
    (National Solar Observatory)
  • John Haverlack
    (US Academic Research Fleet)
  • David Schultz
    (IceCube Neutrino Observatory)
  • Wendy Whitcup
    (CI CoE)

Moderator: Jaroslaw Nabrzyski (CI CoE)
1:45pm - 2:15pm EST /
10:45am - 11:15 PST

2:15pm - 3:00pm EST /
11:15pm - Noon PST
Non-Traditional Work Settings

Many MFs are located in harsh environments (e.g., the Antarctic, around the sites of volcanoes and frequent earthquakes); or require extended work away from home, family, and friends (e.g., aboard ships on the ocean); or are situated in remote locales away from the hustle and bustle of a big city or a buzzing college campus and the opportunities those locales hold. We all spend a lot of time at work and one's physical work environment can impact health and well-being as well as the ability to be productive and achieve goals.
  • Ralf Auer
    (IceCube Neutrino Observatory)
  • Joel Brock
    (Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source)
  • Laura Greene
    (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University)
  • Christopher Romsos
    (Oregon State University, Regional Class Research Vessels)

Moderator: Mats Rynge (CI CoE)
3:00pm - 4:30pm EST /
Noon - 1:30pm PST
Creating a work culture that taps into intrinsic motivations

In this session participants will learn about the concept of intrinsic motivation and its three building blocks: autonomy, mastery, and purpose, as described by career analyst Daniel H. Pink. In his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink argues that the problem-solving needed in the 21st-century workplace will only be achieved by self-directed employees who have opportunities to develop their skills and contribute to something greater than themselves.
Andrew Brown (Notre Dame)
4:30pm - 4:40pm EST /
1:30pm - 1:40pm PST
Wrap Up

Moderator: Kerk Kee (CI CoE)


Workshop Code of Conduct

This workshop is dedicated to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all people, regardless of background or identity. By participating in this workshop, participants agree to abide by this Code of Conduct and accept the procedures by which any Code of Conduct incidents are resolved. We do not tolerate behavior that is disrespectful or that excludes, intimidates, or causes discomfort to others. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on characteristics that include, but are not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, citizenship, nationality, ethnic or social origin, pregnancy, familial status, veteran status, genetic information, religion or belief (or lack thereof), membership of a national minority, property, age, education, socio-economic status, technical choices, and experience level.

Everyone who participates in workshop activities is required to conform to this Code of Conduct. It applies to all spaces managed by or affiliated with the workshop. Workshop hosts are expected to assist with the enforcement of the Code of Conduct. By participating, participants indicate their acceptance of the procedures by which the workshop resolves any Code of Conduct incidents.

Expected behavior

All participants in the CI/CS Workshop and communications are expected to show respect and courtesy to others. All interactions should be professional regardless of platform: either online or in-person. In order to foster a positive and professional learning environment, we encourage the following kinds of behaviors in all workshop events and platforms:

  • Use welcoming and inclusive language
  • Be respectful of different viewpoints and experiences
  • Gracefully accept constructive criticism
  • Focus on what is best for the community
  • Show courtesy and respect towards other community members

Unacceptable behavior

Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants at any workshop event/platform include:

  • written or verbal comments which have the effect of excluding people on the basis of membership of any specific group
  • causing someone to fear for their safety, such as through stalking, following, or intimidation
  • violent threats or language directed against another person
  • the display of sexual or violent images
  • unwelcome sexual attention
  • nonconsensual or unwelcome physical contact
  • sustained disruption of talks, events, or communications
  • insults or put downs
  • sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or exclusionary jokes
  • excessive swearing
  • incitement to violence, suicide, or self-harm
  • continuing to initiate interaction (including photography or recording) with someone after being asked to stop
  • publication of private communication without consent

Consequences of Unacceptable behavior

If you believe someone is violating the Code of Conduct, we ask that you report it to any of the workshop organizers. Participants who are asked to stop any inappropriate behavior are expected to comply immediately. If a participant engages in behavior that violates this code of conduct, the organizers may warn the offender, ask them to leave the event or platform, or investigate the Code of Conduct violation and impose appropriate sanctions.

This code of conduct is adopted from the FABRIC Community Workshop and the excellent code of conduct articulated by Software Carpentry.