Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN),
Columbia Climate School
Senior Research Scientist, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)
201 Geoscience 61 Route 9W PO Box 1000 Palisades, NY 10964 USA
Robert S. Chen is director of CIESIN, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, a research unit of the Columbia Climate School based at the Lamont campus in Palisades, New York. For more than two decades, Dr. Chen has managed the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), part of NASA’s network of earth science data centers and a regular member of the World Data System of the International Science Council (ISC-WDS). He also co-manages the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Data Distribution Center, and serves as an ex officio member of the IPCC Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessments (TG-DATA). Dr. Chen is currently one of three co-chairs of the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and co-leads the Human Planet Initiative of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). In 2017, he launched the POPGRID Data Collaborative, an international effort to improve the quality, accessibility, and use of global-scale gridded population data. Dr. Chen is a Councilor of the American Geographical Society (AGS), a member of the GEO Data Working Group, and active in the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP). He served on the UN Secretary General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development in 2014, and was Secretary-General of the ISC Committee on Data (CODATA) from 2004-12. Dr. Chen has served on the Governing Council of the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO), and the NRC Board on Research Data and Information (BRDI). At Columbia, Dr. Chen is an ex officio member of the Earth Institute Faculty and an affiliate of the Data Science Institute. Since 1998, he has managed more than 40 sponsored projects, with external funding exceeding $100 million.
FIELDS OF INTEREST
Interdisciplinary research on human interactions with the environment and the human dimensions of global environmental change; development of trustworthy data and information resources and decision support systems for disaster management, climate change, environment and security, and sustainable development; scientific and geospatial data management, stewardship, open access, and knowledge delivery in support of sustainability science and sustainable development; valuation and impact metrics for data investments; geographic education.
Ph.D., Geography, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1987
M.S., Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1982
M.S., Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1982
B.S., Earth and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1976
HONORS & AWARDS
2016-17, Co-lead of New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) team that received the 2016 Science Media Award (interactive category) and the 2017 MUSE Media & Technology Gold Award (interpretive interactive installations category), for the Connected Worlds exhibit at NYSCI