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Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability NSF-Wide Investment (SEES)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived.

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.


Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) is a portfolio of activities that highlights NSF's unique role in helping society address the challenge(s) of achieving sustainability. 

SEES Portfolio of Programs:
See below for program descriptions, news and updates.


Most Recent Solicitation

Status / Most Recent Deadline

Arctic SEES

Belmont Forum call for proposals


Climate Change Education Partnerships



Coastal SEES


Deadline: October 02, 2015

Cyber-Innovation for Sustainability Science and Engineerng (CyberSEES)


Deadline: February 03, 2015

Decadal & Regional Climate Prediction Using Earth System Models (EaSM)



Dimensions of Biodiversity


Deadline: April 09, 2015 and annually

Dynamics of Coupled Natural & Human Systems (CNH)


Deadline: November 18, 2014 and annually

Interdisciplinary Research in Hazards and Disasters (Hazards SEES)



Ocean Acidification



Partnerships for International Research & Education (PIRE)



Research Coordination Networks (RCN)


The RCN-SEES track has been discontinued.  Other RCN proposals may be submitted to participating programs.

SEES Fellows



Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Phase I, FY 14



Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM)

15-085 (DCL)

Deadlines vary by program

Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP)



Sustainability Research Networks (SRN)



Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC)























About SEES:

A sustainable world is one in which human needs are met equitably without harm to the environment, and without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.  Meeting this formidable challenge requires a substantial increase in our understanding of the integrated system of society, the natural world, and the alterations humans bring to Earth.  NSF's Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) activities aim to address this need through support for interdisciplinary research and education.

Fundamental to all sustainability research is the simultaneous consideration of social, economic, and environmental systems and the long-term viability of those systems. Concepts that underlie the science of sustainability include complex adaptive systems theory, emergent behavior, multi-scale processes, as well as the vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and resilience of coupled human-environment systems. An important research goal is to understand how patterns and processes at the local and regional scales are shaped by-and feed into-processes and patterns that manifest at the global scale over the long term.  These topics guide research to explore alternate ways of managing the environment, migrating from finite resources to renewable or inexhaustible resources, and applying technology to improve human well-being. Conceptual frameworks for sustainability, including general theories and models, are critically needed for such informed decision-making.

SEES activities span the entire range of scientific domains at NSF and aim to: 1) support interdisciplinary research and education that can facilitate the move towards global sustainability; 2) build linkages among existing projects and partners and add new participants in the sustainability research enterprise; and 3) develop a workforce trained in the interdisciplinary scholarship needed to understand and address the complex issues of sustainability.


Recent SEES-Related News Releases:

California Clapper Rail near invasive Spartina along San Francisco Bay.

Climate change may worsen summertime ozone pollution (News Release, NSF 14-062; May 29, 2014)

Earth Week: Bark beetles change Rocky Mountain stream flows, affect water quality (Discovery Article; April 22, 2014) 


For links to the full list of all news and discoveries, please see the list of SEES related news releases in an easily sortable Excel spreadsheet (*.xlsx).


SEES Newsletters: 

SEES Newsletter: Spring 2014

SEES Newsleter: Spring 2012


Short Description of SEES-Related Programs:
(Please note that several of these programs have been discontinued, or are not accepting proposals at this time.  The table above indicates which programs are currently active)

Arctic SEES (ArcSEES)
ArcSEES is a multi-year, interdisciplinary program which seeks both fundamental research that improves our ability to evaluate the sustainability of the Arctic human-environmental system as well as integrated efforts which will provide community-relevant sustainability pathways and engineering solutions.

Climate Change Education (CCE): Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) Program, Phase II (CCEP-II)
The CCEP Program sought to establish a coordinated national network of regionally- or thematically-based partnerships devoted to increasing the adoption of effective, high quality educational programs and resources related to the science of climate change and its impacts.

Coastal SEES
The Coastal SEES program is a multi-directorate program that seeks to (1) enable place-based system-level understanding of coastal systems on a variety of spatial and temporal scales; (2) yield outcomes with predictive value in coastal systems; and (3) identify pathways by which outcomes could be used to enhance coastal sustainability.

Cyber-Innovation for Sustainability Science and Engineering (CyberSEES)
The CyberSEES program aims to advance interdisciplinary research in which the science and engineering of sustainability are enabled by new advances in computing, and where computational innovation is grounded in the context of sustainability problems.

Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction Using Earth System Models (EaSM)
This interdisciplinary grand challenge calls for the development of next-generation Earth System Models that include coupled and interactive representations of ecosystems, agricultural working lands and forests, urban environments, biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, ocean and atmospheric currents, the water cycle, land ice, and human activities.

Dimensions of Biodiversity
The Dimensions of Biodiversity campaign seeks to transform how we describe and understand the scope and role of life on Earth. The campaign promotes novel, integrated approaches to identify and understand the evolutionary and ecological significance of biodiversity amidst the changing environment of the present day and in the geologic past. While this focus complements several core NSF programs, it differs by requiring that multiple dimensions of biodiversity be addressed simultaneously, in innovative or novel ways, to understand their synergistic roles in critical ecological and evolutionary processes.

Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH)
This program promotes interdisciplinary analyses of relevant human and natural system processes and complex interactions among human and natural systems at diverse scales. The most recent revision of the solicitation included special emphasis on SEES-related proposals.

Interdisciplinary Research in Hazards and Disasters (Hazards SEES) 
The Hazards SEES program is a multi-directorate program that seeks to: (1) advance understanding of fundamental processes associated with specific natural hazards and technological hazards linked to natural phenomena, and their interactions; (2) better understand the causes, interdependences, impacts and cumulative effects of hazards on individuals, the natural and built environment, and society as a whole; and (3) improve capabilities for forecasting or predicting hazards, mitigating their effects, and enhancing the capacity to respond to and recover from resultant disasters.

Ocean Acidification (OA)
This program promotes better understanding of (1) the geochemistry and biogeochemistry of ocean acidification; (2) how ocean acidification interacts with biological and physical processes at the organismal level, and how such interactions impact the structure and function of ecosystems; and (3) how the earth system history informs our understanding of the effects of ocean acidification on the present day and future ocean.

Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)
The primary goal of PIRE is to support high quality projects in which advances in research and education could not occur without international collaboration. The FY 2012 PIRE competition was focused exclusively on the NSF-wide SEES investment area.

Research Coordination Networks (RCN)
The goal of the RCN program is to advance a field or create new directions in research or education. Groups of investigators will be supported to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic and international boundaries. The RCN-SEES track has been discontinued, but other RCN funding opportunities exist.

Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Fellows (SEES Fellows) 
Through SEES Fellows, NSF seeks to enable the discoveries needed to inform actions that lead to environmental, energy and societal sustainability while creating the necessary workforce to address these challenges.

Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I Solicitation FY-2014 (STTR)
The STTR program solicits proposals from the small business sector. The FY14 solicitation had four SEES-related focus areas: (1) Biolgical and Chemical Technologies (BC); (2) Education Applications (EA); (3) Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies (EI); and (4) Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, and Manufacturing (NM).

Dear Colleague Letter: Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM)
The SusChEM Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) draws attention to opportunities for research and education in the chemical sciences and engineering related to sustainable synthesis, use, and reuse of chemicals and materials under the initiative of Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM).

Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP)
SEP called for innovative, interdisciplinary basic research in SEES by teams of researchers for developing systems approaches to sustainable energy pathways based on a comprehensive understanding of the scientific, technical, environmental, economic, and societal issues.  The program considered scalable approaches for sustainable energy conversion to useful forms, as well as its storage, transmission, distribution, and use.

Sustainability Research Networks (SRN)
The goal of the Sustainability Research Networks (SRN) competition has been to support the development and coalescence of entities to advance collaborative research that addresses questions and challenges in sustainability science, engineering, and education.

Water Sustainability and Climate
The goal of the WSC program is to enable new interdisciplinary paradigms in water research, which  broadly integrate across the biological sciences, geosciences, engineering, and social sciences to address water systems in their entirety.  



Program contacts

For general inquiries about SEES related activities: nsf-sees-info@nsf.gov

For program or discipline-specific questions, please see the full list of contacts at: http://www.nsf.gov/geo/sees/sees_contacts.jsp

To subscribe to the SEES listserv, send the text "subscribe SEES" to listserv@listserv.nsf.gov.

Awards made through this program

Browse projects funded by this program
Map of recent awards made through this program