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  • Writer's pictureKristin Cooper


The LTER Network Office (LNO) fosters enhanced communication, collaboration, synthesis, training, and engagement across the LTER Network. To promote analysis and synthesis of LTER data, the LNO requests proposals for synthesis working groups, with research to begin in February 2021. Funding is available for 2-4 projects of up to 2 years in duration (1-year projects are also acceptable). The project selection committee is most interested in proposals anticipated to return high impact results in the five core and two supplemental LTER thematic areas1, but proposals in other areas will also be considered. Proposers are encouraged to review the results of prior LTER synthesis working groups here and to review the linked synthesis resources and data analysis resources. The LNO will hold informational webinars for anyone interested in learning more about the proposal process (See key dates below). Registration details and webinar recordings will be accessible on the LTER Network website ( Principal investigators should also feel free to contact the LNO (Jenn Caselle: or Marty Downs: to discuss research ideas.

The LNO is operated out of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara. The Center provides excellent meeting facilities and support for both virtual and in-person meetings; comprehensive in-house computing capabilities; and consultation and training for synthesis participants on analytical workflows, open and reproducible science practices, collaboration skills, and communication of results.

Key Proposal Dates and Deadlines

Informational Webinar Friday Aug. 21, 9 a.m. PDT

Proposal Due Date Wed, October 14, 5 p.m. PDT

Awards announced early January, 2021

Projects begin February, 2021

Who Should Apply Proposals may be submitted by individuals of any nationality who hold a position in an academic institution, freestanding research institution, scientific society, governmental or policy agency, non-governmental organization, or a consortium of such institutions. Working group members should include one or more LTER researchers who are familiar with the LTER sites and data that will be used in the analysis. Synthesis research generally requires a large effort to integrate multiple datasets, thus, inclusion of one or more LTER site information managers who are deeply familiar with LTER datasets is encouraged. Please refer to the description of synthesis working groups for additional guidance regarding working group size and composition.


Generally, the working groups are expected to meet at NCEAS in Santa Barbara, CA where the LNO can provide significant logistical and technical support. Given COVID-related uncertainty and potential constraints on travel and in-person meetings, we are open to working groups running virtual meetings or smaller group meetings in other venues. We recognize the challenges with budgeting when travel is uncertain but we ask that proposers budget as if in-person meetings will proceed in California and/or other locations close to the participant’s institutions. The LNO will provide technical and logistical support and training for the use of virtual meetings as well as in-person meetings.

Funding is intended to offset meeting travel, lodging, and per diem expenses.

Working group budget requests should not exceed US$55,000 per year, unless the proposers can bring additional funds from non-LNO sources. This level of funding is generally adequate to support a working group of 12 individuals meeting for four days three times per year in Santa Barbara. Working group costs may vary depending on group size, number of international participants, number of in-person vs. virtual meetings, and meeting duration. Smaller working groups, of shorter duration, are welcomed (for example, one year projects, or groups with <12 participants) and may allow more working groups to be funded. Proposals may involve activities with partial support from other institutions or agencies, and co-funding is welcomed but not required. Please download and use this template to estimate your working group budget.

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