The Earth from Space Institute (EfSI) is dedicated to Earth system science and its societal benefits based on the unique contributions of space-based Earth observations and resulting information that are now being used increasingly in a wide range of decisions and management practices. EfSI builds on the legacy of its parent Universities Space Research Association (USRA) which was established 50 years ago, during the Apollo era, to engage universities in support of U.S. national space and aeronautics exploration.
EfSI benefits greatly from USRA leadership in the Earth Sciences to convene multi-disciplinary science and decision-making communities, coordinate and conduct natural and social sciences research and analysis, and develop quasi-operational products and services that promote environment-smart and risk-informed development decisions, and to foster greater resilience to disasters risks.
Significance & Purpose
We believe our higher purpose is to improve the social and economic well-being of vulnerable communities around the world. Applying space-based technologies to real-world challenges here on Earth requires the data and unique insights of different experts and practitioners. When we set targets and goals, and take the time to gather input from leaders from across federal, state, and local governments, industry, academia, philanthropy, international organizations, and the media, the outcomes are demonstrably better.
We work hand-in-hand with leaders from across different disciplines, backgrounds, and cultures to create actionable science and accelerate the transition of applied research to products and services that inform response teams, managers, and governments and address the long-term needs of citizens affected by climate-fueled disasters. Our purpose is not only driven by the need to improve response to disasters but also to mitigate their incidence in the first place.
As a convening organization, EfSI:
- Brings together interdisciplinary thought leaders and practitioners.
- Develops relationships between the university community, government entities, industry, NGOs, and the community of practice, including international organizations.
- Serves as an incubator for innovative ideas, collaborations, and partnerships for satellite Earth Observations (EO).
As a research organization, EfSI:
- Conducts fundamental physical and social science research to understand the principles of the complex environmental and human processes that shape our world.
- Provides scientific leadership, bridging physical and social science, research and operations.
- Submits research for peer review and publication in high-impact journals.
As an operational organization, EfSI will:
- Develop and deliver satellite-derived products and services that offer value to our stakeholders.
- Ensures the societal relevance and quality of our products and services through community engagement and risk communication.
- Offer capacity-building activities, training, and workshops and facilitate the adoption of remote sensing applications.