Strategic Plan

Articulating Our Purpose and Vision

This strategic plan, approved by the PSI Board of Trustees, articulates PSI’s fundamental purpose, long-range goals, and the basis for decision-making to achieve those goals. It sets forth the basic principles that give PSI its distinctive character.  The plan lays out priorities that will guide planning as PSI pursues its vision.

The strategic plan has two main parts: (a) a statement of the Institute’s mission, vision, and core principles and (b) the strategic approach to meeting its goals.

Mission, Vision, and Principles

Mission. The Planetary Science Institute studies the origin, characteristics, and evolution of planetary systems, including our solar system, Earth itself, and planetary systems around other stars.  We convey the resulting knowledge to the scientific community, and to the public at large to promote science education and science literacy.  We further use this knowledge to advance human activity in space and shape the future of robotic exploration of the solar system.

Vision. PSI strives to be a leading institution in:

  • All areas of planetary system exploration, from basic research and data analysis to spaceflight missions;
  • Advancing science education and science literacy;
  • Supporting and expanding human space activities that benefit from and advance knowledge of the solar system; and
  • Informing policy impacting the future of solar system exploration.

Principles. The Institute’s culture and the way it operates are guided by a set of core principles:

  • Creating an environment within which the ambitions of scientists and educators can be pursued and realized. Advancement of our vision can only be achieved by the initiative of our scientists and educators.
  • Maintaining a culture of community and mutual support among our scientists, educators, and staff. Everyone within the Institute is respected by everyone else. Collaboration is emphasized. Sharing knowledge, experience, and ideas is valued.  Mentoring is encouraged.
  • Compliance with government regulations and statutes.  
  • Integrity. The Institute and its employees will always act with honesty and integrity in their internal and external dealings.
  • Maintaining awareness of PSI’s internal strengths and weaknesses and of external opportunities and challenges.
  • Maintaining an egalitarian organizational structure. No person receives special treatment or consideration. People are valued for what they do and contribute, not for their title or seniority.
  • Sustainability and stability are emphasized to provide long-term viability of the Institute.  This includes facilities, projects, and hiring, with attention to ensuring affordability and minimizing volatility.
  • Transparency. When institutional information is conveyed, it will be complete, accurate, and designed for accessibility.

Strategic Approach

The PSI strategic approach includes of a set of broad priorities to advance the vision of the Institute and a set of decision-making criteria that activities addressing those priorities must satisfy. These activities are defined and undertaken by the CEO with input from and participation by the staff and Board. The CEO regularly reports to the Board on the status of these activities.

Priorities. PSI priorities, which are informed by current internal and external conditions, are as follows:

  1. Maintain PSI’s strengths, mitigate its weaknesses, take advantage of external opportunities, and address external challenges.
  2. Increase funding opportunities for PSI’s scientists and educators.
  3. Expand institutional infrastructure, e.g., laboratories and hardware development capacity.
  4. Expand public awareness of PSI’s contributions – at local, national, and international levels.

Decision-making criteria. Activities addressing PSI priorities must:

  1. Be consistent with our mission and vision.
  2. Be implemented in a way that is consistent with our principles.
  3. Contribute to sustainability.
  4. Have expected costs that are realistic and affordable.