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The Earth Surface Processes Institute

The Earth Surface Processes Institute (ESPIn) is a six-day immersive training experience organized by CSDMS for 25 early career scientists, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, researchers, and faculty. ESPIn is designed to help participants advance their research in earth and planetary surface processes by teaching skills in numerical modeling, in modern, collaborative, scientific software development, and in the use of open source community cyberinfrastructure. A mix of experienced scientists, visiting faculty, and research software engineers provide instruction.

ESPIn is a combination of learning and doing.

ESPIn 2023 group photo
ESPIn 2023: learning and doing!

ESPIn uses the CSDMS Ivy course material, with topics including:

  • Project Jupyter
  • Introduction to the Shell
  • Text Editors and Development Environments
  • The Anaconda Distribution
  • Introduction to Version Control with Git and GitHub
  • Basics of Python Programming
  • Python Programming for ESP Scientists
  • Landlab
  • The Permamodel Toolkit
  • The Basic Model Interface
  • The Python Modeling Toolkit
  • High-Performance Computing
  • Best Practices in Scientific Software Development

ESPIn kicks off with a big ideas, mini poster session: participants create a poster from two sheets of paper, one with research interests, the other with personal interests. This session helps participants introduce themselves and find shared interests.

ESPIn isn't just about instruction. Daily time blocks are dedicated to working in small, self-organized teams on a research, data analysis, and coding project. Participants can also work on developing and advancing their own research. Get a taste of past ESPIn team projects by checking out their webinars and labs.

ESPIn includes dedicated time for a local field trip, peer-to-peer networking, and professional development, including a career panel.

ESPIn concludes with team project presentations, which set up participants to continue to develop ideas.

For questions regarding ESPIn, please contact us at

ESPIn 2024

CSDMS is excited to announce that ESPIn 2024 will be held July 29th through August 6th at the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Community (SEEC) facility on the CU Boulder East Campus.

Participant costs (reimbursement for transportation costs up to $600 for national and $1200 for international students, enrollment, accommodations, breakfast and lunch on teaching days) will be supported for 25 participants. Applicants are responsible for dinners, and all other incidental expenses.

All applicants selected for ESPIn 2024 are also expected to participate in a webinar showcasing their demonstration projects that will be available for community participation sometime in August or September 2024.

Continued lodging support will be provided from Sunday, July 28th to Tuesday, August 6th, breakfast and lunch each day will be provided.

Important Dates

  • December 1: Application window opens
  • January 26: Application window closes
  • February 16: Notifications
  • July 29-August 6: ESPIn 2024


The agenda for ESPIn 2023 can be found here. The 2024 preliminary agenda will be published in January or February.

This agenda may change slightly as we secure guest science lecturers and career panelists, but the ordering and duration of the lesson topics and team project development blocks are likely set.


Application instructions will be available very soon!