News & Events

Noon seminar - NSF support for ecological research: Musings of a Program Officer on long-term leave

Monday, February 01, 2010, 12:00PM - 1:00PM


Henry Gholz



RL-3 620

NSF currently supports over 60% of research in "environmental biology" at U.S. universities and research institutions. This is due to the agency's unique mission and structure that focuses entirely on external support for fundamental (or basic) research - science not tied to the usual Federal agency mission. However, Congressional and Executive expectations that NSF do more to support climate change research have introduced a major dynamic into programs across the Foundation that is only now just playing out in recent Dear Colleague Letters and announcements of opportunity. At the same time, research questions related to the environmental sciences, including ecology, continue to expand in scope, demanding more interdisciplinary approaches and new ways to synthesize exisiting data. Finally, new "distributed observatories" promise a new paradigm for environmental science in the future. How might this play out and how should universities--and their faculties and students--respond to changes at NSF? Potential discussion topics may range from what the new announcements represent, to how synthetic thinking can be better taught, to how PIs might best approach NSF proposal writing.