The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) invites proposals for collaborative team-based synthesis research (pursuits or workshops) around emerging SES topics. We encourage proposals that synthesize data, develop and apply models, and couple quantitative and qualitative data/information in new ways. SESYNC has a tradition of announcing focal Themes with each RFP and we do so again below. However, there are many potential projects with great applicability to socio-environmental problems that fall outside these Themes. Accordingly, we are also open to exciting and creative project proposals outside the topical themes listed below.
General Theme: Dynamics of Socio-Environmental Systems
New Topical Themes:
- Social and Environmental Dimensions of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus: Understanding the interconnections among FEW systems is essential to provide a more complete picture about the causes and consequences of changes within and across dimensions of those systems. Proposals should focus on linkages between them, at least two, or all three elements of the FEW nexus (food, energy and water). Also, we are particularly interested in projects that explicitly address feedbacks and relationships between FEW systems and other socio-environmental drivers or impacts (e.g., the social or ecological drivers or consequences associated with changing water resources due to food production; integrative water resource and land use planning for bioenergy production that minimizes biodiversity loss).
- Global Change and Health: Environmental changes and stressors have the potential to impact multiple dimensions of ecosystems and biodiversity that can have important implications for human health. These include the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, food production systems, new wildlife-human interactions, shifting patterns of exposure to infectious disease, mental and physical well-being, and the overall short-term and long-term habitability of the places we live. Proposals should consider environmental change and stressors at multiple scales, from the local to regional to country level, and their impact on ecosystem and human health and well-being. We are particularly interested in projects that require the integration of data from a wide range of disciplines over different spatial and temporal scales.
- Freshwater and Ecosystems in a Changing World: Today, more than four billion people live in regions that are threatened by water scarcity. Changes in the amount and timing of precipitation, combined with dynamic patterns of human water use, access and allocation, influence socio-environmental systems worldwide. Proposals should focus on the integration of data and the development of models (e.g., simulation, theoretical) to enhance our understanding of the relationships between the spatial and temporal variability of freshwater, ecological systems, and human welfare or behavior and their implications for policy and practice.
- Socio-Environmental Implications of Large-Scale Infrastructure Projects: Large-scale trade-related infrastructure projects—including ports, railroads, pipelines, and highways—are reshaping landscapes, human communities, and non-human species. Examples of such projects include China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Indonesian Master Plan for Expansion of Economic Development, the Crescent Corridor Expansion in the U.S. and many more. SESYNC solicits proposals for synthesis research on the socio-environmental implications of such efforts, considering topics such as the role of environmental governance in developing and/or developed countries, landscape and ecosystem change, and movements of people and non-human species in response to environmental change associated with infrastructure projects.