In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled a set of “Big Ideas,” 10 bold, long-term research and process ideas that identify areas for future investment at the frontiers of science and engineering.
The Big Ideas represent unique opportunities to position our Nation at
the cutting edge of global science and engineering leadership by bringing together diverse disciplinary perspectives to support convergence research.
As such, when responding to this solicitation, even though proposals must be submitted tothe Directorate for Geosciences,once received, the proposals will be managed by a cross-disciplinary team of NSF Program Directors.
Arctic temperatures are warming faster than nearly everywhere else on Earth, with some models predicting that continued warming could produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by mid-century.
The rapid and wide-scale changes occurring in response to this warming portend new opportunities and unprecedented risks to natural systems; social and cultural systems; economic, political and legal systems; and built environments of the Arctic and across the globe.
The lack of scientific observations and the prevalence of interdependent social, natural, and built systems in the Arctic make it challenging to predict the region's future.
Understanding and adapting to a changing Arctic will require creative new directions for Arctic-specific research, education, workforce development, and leveraging of science, engineering, and technology advances from outside the Arctic.
Navigating the New Arctic (NNA), one of NSF's 10 Big Ideas, embodies the Foundation’s forward-looking response to these profound challenges.
NNA seeks innovations in Arctic observational networks and fundamental convergence research across the social, natural, environmental, and computing and information sciences, and engineering that address the intersection of natural, social, and built systems.
NNA promotes initiatives that empower new research communities, diversifies the next generation of Arctic researchers, integrates the co-production of knowledge, and engages partnerships, particularly among international stakeholders.
NNA also strongly encourages projects that include or focus on advancing STEM education and workforce development objectives on the scientific themes described below.
Major goals of NSF’s NNA Big Idea include:
Improved understanding of Arctic change and its local and global effects that capitalize on innovative and optimized observation infrastructure, advances in understanding of fundamental processes, and new approaches to modeling interactions among the natural environment, built environment, and social systems.
New enhanced research communities that are diverse, integrative, and well-positioned to carry out productive research at the intersections of Arctic natural and built environments and social systems.
Research outcomes that inform U. S. national security and economic development needs and enable resilient, sustainable Arctic communities.
This solicitation requests proposals that fall within two tracks.
Track 1 supports research activities, while Track 2 is dedicated to planning grants to develop convergence research teams to tackle projects of larger scope in the future.
This solicitation is the first of what is envisioned to be at least a five-year agency-wide program to support the research needed to inform decisions about the economy, security, and resilience of the Nation, the larger region, and the globe with respect to Arctic change.
NSF anticipates that future calls will further define “larger scope,” with the potential to include projects up to the scale of centers and/or consortia.