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Robert S. Chen

Senior Research Scientist in the Center for International Earth Science Information Network; Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network
61 Route 9W PO Box 1000 Palisades, NY 10964
  • Sedac Manager, Earth Institute
  • Member, Faculty Steering Committee, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing

Dr. Robert S. Chen is director of CIESIN, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, a research unit of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He manages the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), part of NASA’s network of earth science data centers. He also co-manages the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Data Distribution Center, which provides access to data and information from IPCC assessments and reports. Dr. Chen recently completed two terms as Secretary-General of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), an interdisciplinary body of the International Council for Science.

He is currently a co-chair of the Data Sharing Working Group of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), an intergovernmental initiative to implement a Global Earth Observing System of Systems. He is also a member of the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) Board on International Scientific Organizations. Dr. Chen is a member of the Science Advisory Boards of Creative Commons and of the Climate Change Science Institute of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At Columbia, Dr. Chen is an ex officio member of the Earth Institute Faculty and a member of its Practice Committee. His research areas include data access and stewardship, disaster risk assessment, climate change vulnerability and adaptation, and environment and security. Dr. Chen received his Ph.D. in geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and M.S. and B.S. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Selected Global Activities

The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) which I manage develops and distributes global-scale environmental and socioeconomic data as part of NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System.

Selected Research Locations

SEDAC data are generally global in scope, but many specific datasets focus on regions or countries of high interest in terms of sustainable development, vulnerability, or rapid change, e.g., coastal regions, areas of rapid urbanization, or protected areas.

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