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Division of Polar Programs

Arctic System Science (ARCSS) Program


Name Email Phone Room
Neil  R. Swanberg nswanber@nsf.gov (703) 292-8029  740 S  
Diane  McKnight dmcknigh@nsf.gov (703) 292-4897   


14-584  Program Solicitation

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 16-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


The Arctic System Science Program (ARCSS) funds proposals or groups of proposals that advance our understanding of the Arctic as a system.  ARCSS projects are often interdisciplinary and focus on the relationships among the physical, biological, chemical, and human processes that govern the cycling of energy and matter in the arctic system. The cycles of carbon, water, and energy are important to consider in investigating the functioning of the arctic system.

Most successful ARCSS projects do one or more of the following:

  • Investigate important relationships among the various components of the arctic system,
  • Identify self regulatory processes, feedbacks, or non-linear responses of the arctic system to physical or biogeochemical drivers,
  • Advance understanding of the arctic system and its behavior through synthesis or modeling,
  • Explore the consequences of environmental change on the arctic system either through impact assessment scenarios or vulnerability assessment,
  • Address linkages between the Arctic and the Earth system.

All successful ARCSS proposals must identify explicitly how they will place their results in the context of system behavior and demonstrably contribute to system-level understanding.  Being interdisciplinary does not by itself mean that a proposal is appropriate for ARCSS.  PIs should ask themselves if their work addresses interactions among several components of the arctic system, explores emergent behavior in linked subsystems, or otherwise provides essential knowledge, and they should apply that knowledge to system-level understanding. The degree to which the proposed research advances arctic system understanding will be a key factor in judging its priority for ARCSS.

ARCSS enthusiastically seeks proposals, or groups of proposals, that directly advance system level understanding.  ARCSS program directors are always keen to speak with prospective PIs about their research ideas. 



What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program



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