Arctic Social Sciences Program

Date: 
2 February 1998

RE: Arctic Social Sciences Program, Office of Polar Programs, National
Science Foundation

Dear Colleague,

The circumpolar north provides a "natural laboratory" for studying
cultural, political, ecological, and economic processes over time. The
National Science Foundation's Arctic Social Sciences Program was created in
1990 to support research on human-environment interactions, community
viability, and rapid social change in the north. Many changes have occurred
since the program's inception, not the least of which include the
transition from the Soviet Union to a Russian Federation and other
independent states, the emergence of self-governing political units (such
as Nunavut) within nation-states, and the formation of the Arctic Council.

To take stock of what we know so far and to consider setting new research
priorities, Arctic social scientists are developing a science plan for the
NSF Arctic Social Sciences Program. A draft of the plan will be posted for
community review in early February 1998 on the web site of the Arctic
Research Consortium of the United States (http://arcus.polarnet.com/). All
social scientists involved in or contemplating Arctic research are
encouraged to contribute with comments and suggestions for the final
publication. If you cannot download the review draft of the plan from the
Internet, contact ARCUS at <arcus@polarnet.com> and ask to have a copy
mailed to you.

The NSF Arctic Social Sciences Program science plan follows on the 1989
report "Arctic Social Science: Agenda for Action", developed by an
interdisciplinary committee on Arctic social sciences established by the
Polar Research Board. The 1989 study report discussed priority research
needs and established the parameters of Arctic social science research for
all federal agencies represented on the Interagency Arctic Research Policy
Committee.

The NSF science plan now under development will offer useful guidelines to
proposers while retaining the flexibility and creativity of the Arctic
Social Sciences Program. It will accommodate diverse interests and
disciplines yet draw attention to particular areas of concern to social
scientists.

Target dates for proposals to the program are changing this year (1998) to
February 15 and August 1. However, because we are required to give plenty
of notice of changed target dates, this year only (1998), investigators
have until April 1 rather than February 15 to submit proposals. NSF
proposal guidelines and other useful information, such as abstracts of
projects funded by the program, can be found at <http://www.nsf.gov/>. While
the Office of Polar Programs web site is under reconstruction, you can find
plenty of background information on Arctic Social Sciences at the
Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center site: <http://www.nmnh.si.edu/arctic/>.

If you have an idea for a proposal and would like to discuss it with the
Program Director, feel free to call, write, or fax Dr. Fae L. Korsmo:

phone: 703-306-1029
fax: 703-306-0638
e-mail: fkorsmo@nsf.gov

4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230