Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):
December 02, 2019
Synopsis of Program:
NSF seeks proposals to establish an adaptive and responsive research network that supports investigations of the Earth’s Critical Zone. This network will consist of two components that will work together to advance knowledge, education, and outreach in this convergent science: 1) Thematic Clusters of fixed or temporary locations will conduct basic research on significant, overarching scientific questions concerning the structure, function, and processes of the Critical Zone. These U.S.-based Clusters could include existing observatories engaged in collecting environmental data, other monitoring locations that have been in operation for extended periods of time, and new sites that will support the scientific goals of the Cluster; 2) A Coordinating Hub that will oversee the compatibility and archiving of the data resulting from the Thematic Clusters, coordinate outreach and community-building activities, support the use of network facilities by outside researchers, and plan for infrastructure needs of the network.
This solicitation invites proposals for either of the two components: 1) Thematic Cluster or 2) Coordinating Hub. The Thematic Clusters will carry out interdisciplinary research on scientific questions and manage part of the network infrastructure; the Coordinating Hub will serve as the national center for the network. The infrastructure of the network will be accessible to other research teams pursuing research in the Critical Zone.
The Critical Zone (CZ), which extends from the top of the vegetation canopy to the base of weathered bedrock is where fresh water flows, soils are formed, and most terrestrial life flourishes on Earth. The CZ is under unprecedented pressure because of contemporary human demands for food, water, land, and other resources that drive global economies. In the heterogeneous and complex CZ, multiple components of the Earth’s life-support system interact through connected processes that operate at different temporal and spatial scales. These coupled processes directly influence and are affected by lithology, climate, tectonics, anthropogenic activity, ecology, and cycles of water, nutrients, and other constituents. The Critical-Zone Collaborative Network will build upon the outcomes of the Critical Zone Observatories (CZO) to address significant interdisciplinary scientific questions at the regional and national scale, and develop predictive models of complex CZ phenomena. In order to achieve these goals, stimulate collaborations among new and existing CZ community members, and expand the CZO infrastructure to more diverse participation, the Critical-Zone Collaborative Network to be established will consist of several science-driven Thematic Clusters linked to a Coordinating Hub.
The Thematic Clusters (Clusters) will operate an array of CZ locations chosen on the basis of a unifying scientific theme. Each Cluster would ideally have several locations encompassing multiple watersheds that could facilitate investigations of environmental gradients relevant to the proposed research theme. The Network is expected to include Clusters with a variety of physical and environmental characteristics, such as lithology, climate, erosional and depositional settings, land use, and biota, that foster investigations showcasing convergent science and multidisciplinary teams. These Clusters could include existing CZOs or similar locations that have been actively gathering data for extended periods of time, other locations that leverage relevant data sets that have been collected previously, as well as new locations that will support the science theme.
The Coordinating Hub (Hub) will manage the standardization, archiving, and accessibility of the data generated by the Clusters, convene regular meetings of the Thematic Clusters, and plan for future research infrastructure needs of the network. The Hub will also help support national outreach activities and organize workshops that engage the larger CZ community. These activities are expected to enhance scientific progress within the domains of CZ research and to encourage the participation of a broad range of scientists from various disciplines, at different career stages, and from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.
Additional documents that are useful descriptors of community planning related to this solicitation may be accessed through https://www.nsf.gov/geo/ear/programs/czo_moreinfo.jsp
This solicitation invites proposals for either component of the Critical-Zone Collaborative Network: Thematic Clusters or the Coordinating Hub. Together, these components will serve as the basic infrastructure to facilitate interdisciplinary research into processes that govern Critical-Zone dynamics and they are expected to contribute to the following overall program goals:
Proponents are encouraged, where appropriate, to leverage infrastructure and data sets from existing or previous projects, observational networks, experimental watersheds, long-term ecological research sites, long-term agricultural research centers, or testing and evaluation facilities, whether supported by NSF or other agencies such as USEPA, USGS, USDA, DOE, NOAA, etc. They are similarly encouraged to connect with the NSF INCLUDES network coordination hub or alliances, and professional societies in science, mathematics, and engineering for underrepresented minorities and people with disabilities. Coordinating Hub proposals may be strengthened by including senior personnel with advanced research cyberinfrastructure expertise. The project description should make clear how the proposed work differs from and augments activities already supported. Letters of collaboration in the appropriate format must be included as specified below.
Critical-Zone Collaborative Network Components
Read the full program solicitation at: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2019/nsf19586/nsf19586.htm
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