The Arctic Observing Network (AON) program encourages proposals to make long-term field observations to detect and understand Arctic system change occurring on time scales longer than the duration of a typical NSF research grant. These projects should address major drivers and/or impacts of system change and generate data intended for wider use by the scientific research community in understanding the changing Arctic system. Data analysis may be included as part of the proposed work. These may be single-investigator or collaborative proposals for up to 5 years of observations. Continuation of observations beyond 5 years requires a successful new proposal, which must demonstrate that data previously collected are used by the scientific research community. In general, AON will support scientific and community-based observations of biodiversity, ecosystems, human societies, land, ice, marine and freshwater systems, and the atmosphere as well as their social, natural, and/or physical environments. The AON Program will also consider proposals for: (1) the development of in situ or remote sensors and autonomous systems that directly enhance AON observations, (2) the design and optimization of coordinated and scalable observing networks, and (3) the management of AON data, data access, and data discovery. AON projects should contribute to Arctic system modeling and leverage other existing national (e.g., US Arctic Observing Network) and international observing efforts (e.g., Sustained Arctic Observing Networks - https://www.arcticobserving.org/). Proposals for continuation of existing AON projects must provide evidence that the data obtained so far: (i) have been archived at a nationally or internationally recognized repository, and (ii) contribute to the needs of the broader scientific community. There are specific requirements for AON data reporting, as stated in the Dear Colleague Letter: Office of Polar Programs Data, Code, and Sample Management Policy (NSF 22-106) - https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2022/nsf22106/nsf22106.jsp.
Proposals that involve process study, model developments, or short-term deployments may be suited to other NSF Arctic programs, and proposed research tackling convergence scientific challenges may be appropriate for the NSF Navigating the New Arctic Big Idea. Prospective PIs should contact the Program Director to discuss the project and determine if it is within the AON Program scope. All AON projects must conform to the Office of Polar Programs Data Management and Data Reporting Requirements (NSF 22-106). AON data are considered community data and not subject to any embargo period. Rapid release of data via a national data center is a requirement for AON projects. There are exceptions for social sciences data, data involving Indigenous or traditional ecological knowledge, and cases where data release might cause harm. Proposals must include a data and information management plan that describes how access to quality-controlled data and information will be achieved during the award period. Proposers should be aware that posting figures and tables on a website is not sufficient. The data management plan must include transfer of all data to a recognized data repository by the conclusion of the award.
Prospective PIs are also encouraged to be aware of, and refer to when relevant, national goals and priorities for Arctic observing, as described in the Report on the Goals and Objectives for Arctic Research - https://www.arctic.gov/goals-and-objectives/ - of the US Arctic Research Commission, and the Arctic Research Plan - https://www.nsf.gov/geo/opp/arctic/iarpc/start.jsp - of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC). For proposals involving knowledge co-production and/or local community engagement, prospective PIs are strongly encouraged to put into practice and document that they have made efforts to follow the IARPC Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic - https://www.nsf.gov/geo/opp/arctic/conduct.jsp.