Ideas Lab

earth from space with blue horizon on black background
Nov. 14 to Nov. 18, 2022

3:23 pm MST

Golden, CO
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It is increasingly urgent to understand and mitigate the impacts of space weather on human technology and society. One major risk is from geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) on power grid systems. At the most extreme end, a major geospace storm can result in GICs causing permanent damage to transformers and generators that cause large scale power grid blackouts. Making progress in mitigating the impact of GICs on power grids requires an integrative approach that brings together expertise across sectors and fields. KnowInnovation, supported by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is hosting a Geomagnetically Induced Currents and Power Systems Innovation Lab to generate creative strategies and new research collaborations aimed at improving understanding of GICs and their impact on human infrastructure.

The 5-day in-person Ideas Lab will take place November 14-18, 2022 at the Table Mountain Inn in Golden, Colorado. Travel funding will be supported through the Innovation Lab. Researchers and operational industry leaders are invited to apply. The Lab encourages expertise in the geomagnetic and geoelectric field, magnetospheric and ionospheric sciences, ground conductivity, power systems, and power grid operations.

The Geomagnetically Induced Currents and Power Systems Innovation Lab will bring together experts from a wide variety of fields to envision new projects related to GICs and power grids and to develop new research collaborations. Applicants (~30) who demonstrate a collaborative spirit and represent a variety of backgrounds and approaches will be selected to participate. Senior, mid-, and early career professionals are all welcome to apply. At the end of the lab, participants will have formed new collaborations around innovative ideas that integrate research and operations goals and needs. Opportunities for submission of project proposals from the sponsoring agencies (NSF, NASA, and NOAA) will be highlighted and participants will have the opportunity to interact with funding officials. 

Applicants must be willing to commit to active engagement for the entire duration of the Innovation Lab.


The Innovation Lab

An Innovation Lab is an intensive, interactive, and free-thinking workshop on a particular topic, involving up to thirty diverse participants. It aims to stimulate thinking in promising new research approaches drawing from diverse domains such as space science, natural hazards, and infrastructure resilience. Participants will be expected to engage constructively in dialogue with each other, the facilitators, and the Subject Guides to develop collaborative research proposals for opportunities available at NASA and NSF. Collaboration will be encouraged, especially by bringing diverse minds together to embrace this challenge.

The Innovation Lab will run over five days starting on Monday and concluding after final presentations on Friday. The approach of the Innovation Lab is not to discuss ideas that are already well developed but not yet published. Rather, the goal is to bring individuals from different disciplines together to interact and engage in free-thinking on first principles, to learn from one another and create an integrated vision for future research projects. It is expected that the sharing of these ideas would be encouraged within the Innovation Lab but their confidentiality would be respected outside the Innovation Lab. Through the course of the five days, teams will form, pitch and refine plans (based on input from subject guides and other participants) for interdisciplinary projects that advance scientific questions the understanding, prediction, and mitigation of geomagnetically induced currents.


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