August 18, 2015

Arctic Pre-Proposal Request Draws Overwhelming Response

Expected to commence in 2016, the North Pacific Research Board’s (NPRB) Arctic program—a highly coordinated, interagency effort—will explore how changes in sea ice and climate are likely to affect Arctic marine food webs and subsistence ways of life. This is a collaborative partnership with NPRB, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the North Slope Borough/Shell Baseline Studies Program. Each have contributed funds to the research program for a total of $8 million. A call for pre-proposals was issued in May 2015 with a submission deadline of July 31, 2015.

Despite the short proposal window, the scientific community responded overwhelmingly. Seventy-nine pre-proposals from more than 70 institutions were submitted, requesting more than ten times the amount of funds available. The pre-proposals themselves included over $20 million of in-kind support.

Teams of qualified investigators with innovative ideas are poised to address pressing ecological questions, while recognizing the need to leverage resources to capitalize upon limited research funds. Over the next 5-7 years, experts from the marine science field (e.g., oceanography and sea ice, plankton, fisheries, and marine mammal science) will investigate current ecosystem functions, and how they might change over the next 50 years. The Arctic program has already secured commitments to coordinate and cooperate with 22 existing research projects funded by 15 federal agencies and state/private organizations.