Division of Polar Programs
Arctic System Science (ARCSS) Program
10-597 Program Solicitation
The Arctic comprises a complex, tightly coupled system of air, ice, ocean, land, and people. The arctic system behaves in ways that we do not understand fully and has demonstrated the capacity for rapid and unpredictable change with global ramifications. Because the Arctic is pivotal to the dynamics of our planet, it is critical that we understand this complex and interactive system. The goal of the Arctic System Science (ARCSS) program is to advance that understanding.
Proposals to ARCSS must strive to advance our knowledge of the arctic system as a whole. Most successful ARCSS proposals focus on the relationships amongst the components of the arctic system rather than on the pieces themselves. ARCSS also supports efforts that synthesize our knowledge of how the arctic system works.
The research supported under ARCSS is mostly interdisciplinary, although that does not mean that every project funded must encompass several disciplines. The program supports most of its research through special targeted solicitations, but ARCSS does support a small number of proposals received through a general program solicitation. Proposals to the general solicitation should put forth new ideas for field, laboratory, or modeling efforts that would not fit well under more organized banners and that are smaller in scope than one might find in a specialized solicitation.
The current goal of the program is to answer the following question:
- What do changes in the arctic system imply for the future?
Defining an ARCSS Proposal
Both ANS and ARCSS strive to understand the arctic environment, and there is not a sharp boundary between the kinds of research the two programs support. This is by design, as such a boundary could lead to an undesirable gap in the kind of research the Section for Arctic Sciences would support. However, it can make it difficult to determine whether a given proposal belongs in the ANS or ARCSS program. A guideline is that if a proposal is focused mostly on a subcomponent of the arctic system, then it is probably a better fit to the ANS Program, unless the understanding to be achieved about that piece is demonstrably essential to system-level understanding.
A proposal suitable for competition in the ARCSS program will normally be expected to:
- determine or investigate the important relations amongst components of the arctic system,
- help explain the range of states for the arctic system, or
- contribute significantly to our understanding of the structure and function of the arctic system through synthesis and further study.
Usually the Section for Arctic Sciences strives to make this as simple for the investigator as possible by reviewing proposals for ANS and ARCSS jointly and asking panelists to consider program fit as a merit criterion, with the intent that if a proposal is submitted to ARCSS but does not fit well it will be considered in ANS and vice versa.
To be successful, a proposal to the ARCSS program should have several or all of the above characteristics. Moreover ARCSS proposals MUST define explicitly and in detail how they contribute to broad system understanding. It is not sufficient to state that one meets ARCSS goals, one must demonstrate how one does so. Failure to do so will likely result in the return of a proposal without review. The degree to which a proposal contributes to system understanding will be one of the key factors in judging its intellectual merit.
For more information on how a research proposal might best fit the themes of ARCSS, contact the program director. For information regarding field work for proposals with field components, please see Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions in the Arctic Research Opportunities announcement.
ARCSS Data Coordination Center
ARCSS web site
Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)
THIS PROGRAM IS PART OF
Arctic Research Opportunities
What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)
Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program