PEGASuS Grants – Biodiversity and Natural Assets 2017

Publish Date: Apr 27, 2017

Deadline: Jun 05, 2017

Future Earth is pleased to announce the first in a series of new funding opportunities through the Future Earth Program for Early-stage Grants Advancing Sustainability Science (PEGASuS).

The PEGASuS program will focus on interdisciplinary research connecting the natural and social sciences. The goal of this program will be to increase knowledge, promote innovation, and establish evidence-based solutions to the world’s most difficult sustainability challenges.

“PEGASuS – Biodiversity and Natural Assets” is the first in a series of funding opportunities addressing the key challenges of Future Earth, and seeks integrated sustainability science proposals focused on the Future Earth Natural Assets Challenge: “Safeguarding terrestrial, freshwater, and marine natural assets underpinning human well-being by advancing our understanding of the relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and services, and developing effective valuation and governance approaches”. PEGASuS will also support the mission of Colorado State University’s Global Biodiversity Center, “to advance understanding, conservation, and appreciation of life’s variation, ranging from genetics and organisms to ecosystems and their interactions; to maintain resilient ecosystems supporting a diversity of plants and animals, which enhances societal health and wellbeing, and strengthens human links to wild nature; and to maintain and enhance biodiversity through research, policy advancement, education, and outreach.” We expect to award four to eight grants this year to a total amount of approximately $600,000.

Background and rationale

Human influence on natural systems is profound and increasing. This influence destabilizes, simplifies, and reduces the resilience of natural systems while creating complex, coupled socioecological systems that cross scales and change in complex, often unpredictable ways. Understanding the dynamics of these coupled socio-ecological systems will require a new kind of collaborative science — one that integrates different disciplines and allows us to map, predict, and respond to the feedbacks generated by the multi-scale changes. The PEGASuS – Biodiversity and Natural Assets grants opportunity aims to support interdisciplinary teams in the study of biodiversity broadly, while focusing on the Future Earth Vision for “people to thrive in a sustainable and equitable world”.

Guidance for successful proposals

Successful PEGASuS proposals will demonstrate a compelling need for interdisciplinary integration to advance discovery and innovation within the Future Earth Natural Assets Challenge area. Research projects may focus on any aspect of the Natural Assets Challenge. Applicants must present a clear Research Plan including a research hypothesis, theory of change, research methodology, and expected results and products. Proposals can come from any institution from any country.

Proposals should address some or all of the following thematic areas: (1) biodiversity valuation, ecosystem functions, ecosystem services, requisite socio-economic transformations, and the sustainable consumption and production of natural resources; (2) biodiversity indicators, scenario planning and prediction, risk analysis, identification of tipping points and/or feedbacks between socio-economic, biodiversity, and ecosystem dynamics. Preference will be given to research projects that show significant potential to advance the science and capacity needed to predict and effectively respond to the scale, pace, and impact of global change.

Strong preference will be given to research projects that integrate across the natural sciences and social sciences and include an interdisciplinary, multinational approach. Preference will be given to research projects that include end-users, policy-makers, resource managers, and/or other relevant stakeholders in the planning, design, execution, or use of the proposed research and, when possible, in the development of outputs (products) that are relevant to those stakeholders. Proposals should identify and address clear user needs, and it is recommended that applicants develop applied innovations as well as research solutions.

Instructions for proposal preparation

Full proposal deadline: June 5th, 2017. Awarded teams will be notified in early July, 2017. Proposals are limited to four single-spaced pages, 11-point Times New Roman font, with one inch margins. Include an appendix with a CV for each of the principal investigators (maximum two pages each) and a research budget (maximum one page). The CVs and budget are not counted in the four-page limit.

Proposals should generally follow the format given here:

Part 1. Title of the research project. Titles should be catchy and short enough to use for general communication purposes.

Part 2. Brief, compelling, three to five sentence summary, in third person, of the project’s proposed work in words that a layperson would understand. This summary will be used in all official Future Earth communications (website, press releases, annual reports, etc.). Use verbiage that is understandable to technical and non-technical audiences and can be used in isolation from the rest of the proposal.

Part 3. Problem Statement: Describe the issue to be addressed and how this team’s work will make a significant contribution to and fill a unique niche within sustainability science related to biodiversity. Explain how the proposed research aligns with the Future Earth Natural Assets Challenge: “safeguarding terrestrial, freshwater, and marine natural assets underpinning human well-being by understanding relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and services, and developing effective valuation and governance approaches”. In addition, describe how the proposed work contributes to solutions within some or all of the thematic areas described above.

Part 4. Research plan: Describe the interdisciplinary research activities that will integrate and move the project forward and provide a 12-month timeline. Describe the expected results, outcomes, and products of this work and explain the metrics of success.

Part 5. Team Composition: Explain why the proposed activity requires an interdisciplinary approach and provide a rationale for the proposed interdisciplinary team. Describe the leadership and team organization. In general, it is expected that multiple principal investigators from different disciplines will be responsible for the group’s organization, intellectual leadership, and for ensuring that the objectives of the proposed research are met. Describe how students, postdoctoral fellows, and other researchers, and non-academic (e.g. private sector, government, or NGO) partners might be involved now or in the future. It is expected that multiple institutions, nationalities, and disciplines will be represented given the breadth of the challenge being met by the proposed research and the interdisciplinary nature of successful biodiversity research for global sustainability. Diversity in background, nationality, institutional rank, gender, and expertise will be strongly valued.

Part 6. Budget and Resource Needs: The total budget for PEGASuS - Biodiversity and Natural Assets is approximately $600,000 within which we anticipate funding four to eight research projects. Describe the budget needed to achieve the goals of your project within 12 months (starting approximately in August 2017). Indirect costs are permitted up to 12.5% rate. Future Earth will aim to provide additional limited in-kind support for communications, capacity building, and synthesis activities. Successful applicants will be required to complete a detailed budget spreadsheet, track all expenses, and submit original receipts and financial reports to Future Earth.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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