In July 2008, NSF released a solicitation for the Arctic Observing Network (AON). Proposals were due 30 September 2008, and the agency anticipated making 15-20 awards totaling $18-24 million over 3-5 years. NSF received 57 proposals requesting $69 million for 36 projects. In June 2009, NSF announced funding totaling $35 million for 20 AON projects. Nine awards fund five projects that have not previously received AON Program funds, and 23 awards support the continuation of 15 existing AON projects. The current Arctic Research Opportunities solicitation invites AON proposals (www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5521&org=OPP).
In July 2009, NSF released a solicitation for Organization of Projects on Environmental Research in the Arctic (OPERA). This solicitation seeks proposals for activities to foster and sustain collaboration among projects funded by NSF that contribute to the U.S. arctic environmental change research effort, many of which are affiliated with the AON and the interagency Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH). NSF anticipates making 1-4 awards totaling $10-15 million over three years. Proposals are due 11 December.
Principal investigators of AON projects will hold their annual meeting in Boulder, Colorado, on 30 November-2 December. Craig Lee of the University of Washington will chair the meeting. Goals include:
reviewing AON science achievements, network layout and scope, lessons learned, and evolution following the International Polar Year;
beginning a broad evaluation of AON network design;
evaluating current and future AON integration and cooperation with interagency and international efforts; and
evaluating the flow and dissemination of AON data, with emphasis on access and usage by the science community and stakeholders.
The AON PI meeting will be followed by a workshop of the new AON Design and Implementation (ADI) task force, chaired by Hajo Eicken of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, on 2-4 December. NSF has tasked the ADI task force with developing
guidance on coordinating, consolidating, and optimizing the existing observing system elements; and
a broader strategy that includes more detailed design studies to enhance and sustain the observing system.
The ADI task force is composed of researchers with observing system expertise both within and outside of the Arctic. Plans include a combination of virtual and in-person meetings, two workshops, and a small array of proof-of-concept or exploratory studies overseen by the task force, culminating in a summary report with recommendations for the next steps in optimizing, coordinating, and enhancing the existing components of an international arctic environmental observing system, with emphasis on the U.S. AON.
More information is available through the following links or by contacting AON program director Martin Jeffries at NSF (mjeffrie [at] nsf [dot] gov; 703-292-7442).
AON: NSF website (www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503222&org=ARC&from=home) or the Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (CADIS) website (www.aoncadis.org).