Intellectual Merit: Gordon Research Conferences have an excellent recipe for success, developed over decades and hundreds of conferences across the scientific disciplines. The Gordon Foundation provides substantial cost sharing and infrastructure support, and additional contributions are solicited from private foundations and federal agencies. Program chairs, elected by the community, form a program committee which invites leading researchers to present critical summaries of a range of important problems and to highlight the latest developments. Discussion leaders have also been recruited to stimulate and moderate discussion among the participants. Most people who attend the conference report that it is the best science conference they have attended in the past year.
This particular Gordon conference on Coastal Ocean Modeling is held every four years in a retreat setting (this year at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA). It brings together a diverse group of academic, federal and international researchers to share the latest discoveries and identify new challenges in coastal ocean modeling. Many of the topics explored in this conference (e.g. advances in numerics, nearshore modeling, mesoscale processes, ecosystem dynamics) are directly relevant to NSF research areas.
Broader Impacts: The most important broad impact of the conference is the establishment and nurturing of relationships between senior researchers and students/junior researchers. Because nearly half of the conference time is allocated to informal interactions among participants, and because Gordon Research Conferences are held in retreat-like locations, there is unparalleled opportunity to build these relationships and exchange ideas among people in not only different age groups, but also in different sub-areas of the field, or in different geographic regions.
The Gordon Research Conference on COASTAL OCEAN MODELING was held at Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, June 26 – July 1, 2011.The Conference was well-attended with 126 participants (attendees list attached). The attendees represented the spectrum of endeavor in this field coming from academia, industry, and government laboratories, both U.S. and foreign scientists, senior researchers, young investigators, and students. Of the 126 attendees, 62 voluntarily responded to a general inquiry regarding ethnicity which appears on our registration forms. Of the 62 respondents, 16% were Minorities – 2% Hispanic, 13% Asian and 2% African American. Approximately 25% of the participants at the 2011 meeting were women. In designing the formal speakers program, emphasis was placed on current unpublished research and discussion of the future target areas in this field. There was a conscious effort to stimulate lively discussion about the key issues in the field today. Time for formal presentations was limited in the interest of group discussions. In order that more scientists could communicate their most recent results, poster presentation time was scheduled. Attached is a copy of the formal schedule and speaker program and the poster program. In addition to these formal interactions, "free time" was scheduled to allow informal discussions. Such discussions are fostering new collaborations and joint efforts in the field. Thank you for your support of this Conference. As you know, in the interest of promoting the presentation of unpublished and frontier-breaking research, Gordon Research Conferences does not permit publication of meeting proceedings.