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Ecosystem Science Cluster

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NSF 24-543

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Supports research on ecosystem structure and function across a diversity of spatial and temporal scales and across ecosystems experiencing the full spectrum of human impacts.

Supports research on ecosystem structure and function across a diversity of spatial and temporal scales and across ecosystems experiencing the full spectrum of human impacts.


The Ecosystem Science (ES) Cluster supports investigations of ecosystem structure and function across a diversity of spatial and temporal (including paleo) scales to advance understanding of 1) material and energy fluxes and transformations within and among ecosystems; 2) roles and relationships of ecosystem components in whole-system structure and function; 3) ecosystem dynamics, resilience, and trajectories of ecosystem change across spatial and temporal scales.

The ES Cluster supports research on ecosystems experiencing the full spectrum of human impacts, including terrestrial, freshwater, wetland/coastal, and human-dominated environments. Proposals may focus on areas such as: biogeochemical cycling and elemental budgets; primary and secondary productivity; roles of species in ecosystem functioning; stoichiometric relationships; climate-ecosystem feedbacks; impacts of climate and environmental change on ecosystems; energy and gas fluxes; ecosystem services; and landscape dynamics. Proposals may also address the cycling of non-nutrient elements, but proposals that are specifically ecotoxicological in orientation, or without an explicit link to ecosystem processes, will not be considered. Ecosystem-oriented proposals with pelagic marine, deep ocean, or Laurentian Great Lakes study sites should be submitted to the Biological Oceanography Program in the Division of Ocean Sciences, not the Ecosystem Science Cluster. Studies of the structure and dynamics of food webs are commonly co-reviewed with the Population and Community Ecology Cluster, also in the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB). Proposals that span other traditional programmatic boundaries are welcomed and may be co-reviewed with a variety of programs across the Foundation.

The ES Cluster encourages a diversity of research approaches. Projects may be based on data reuse, modeling, observational studies, and/or manipulative experiments and they may take place in field, mesocosm, computational, and laboratory settings. Proposals submitted to the ES Cluster, whether hypothesis- or discovery-driven, should have a strong theoretical or conceptual foundation. Proposals that, in whole or part, aim to develop new techniques can be supported, but only when a compelling argument exists that there is clear potential for a major advance in ecosystem science. We encourage projects that are potentially transformative -- that is, those that may change the conceptual basis of ecosystem science and have broad implications for future research, recognizing that truly transformative advances are rare.

In addition to opportunities described in the DEB core solicitation, the ES Cluster also funds proposals submitted in response to the CAREER, RCN, LTREB, MCA and OPUS solicitations, among others, that address the topics above. We also accept RAPID, EAGER, and Planning Proposals. However, these proposals require approval from an ES program officer prior to submission. Approval is obtained by first submitting a Concept Outline. We encourage submission of the Concept Outline through NSF’s new Program Suitability and Proposal Concept Tool (ProSPCT). For conference proposals and requests for supplementary funding, investigators should contact an ES program officer prior to preparing a submission. The Cluster welcomes inquiries on any proposal type prior to submission.

Program contacts

Matthew D. Kane
mkane@nsf.gov (703) 292-7186 BIO/DEB
Kendra McLauchlan
Kmclauch@nsf.gov (703) 292-2217 BIO/DEB
Catherine O'Reilly
coreilly@nsf.gov (703) 292-7934 TIP/ITE
Kirsten Schwarz
kschwarz@nsf.gov (703) 292-2416 BIO/DEB
Robyn Smyth
rsmyth@nsf.gov (703) 292-2996 BIO/DEB
Jason B. West
jwest@nsf.gov (703) 292-7410 BIO/DEB

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