Earth Institute Staff Directory

Dr. Robert S. Chen

Director , Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) , The Earth Institute

Senior Research Scientist , Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)

201 Geoscience
61 Route 9W
PO Box 1000
Palisades, NY 10964

BIOGRAPHY: Robert S. Chen is director of CIESIN, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, a research unit of the Earth Institute 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 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 co-chair of the GEO Data Sharing and Data Management 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 a member of its Practice Committee, and an affiliate of the Data Science Institute. Since 1998, he has managed more than 40 sponsored projects, with external funding exceeding $95 million.