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NSF 15-074

Dear Colleague Letter: Belmont Forum Multilateral International Opportunities Fund Initiative

April 23, 2015

Dear Colleague:

The Directorate for Geosciences announces a new Multilateral Research Funding Initiative through the Belmont Forum 1 on Mountains as Sentinels of Change. This partnership will provide international collaborative research opportunities that address the Belmont Challenge: “To deliver knowledge needed for action to mitigate and adapt to detrimental environmental change and extreme hazardous events”. This call of the International Opportunities Fund will focus on addressing issues of climate, environmental and related societal change in mountain regions that are best addressed through a coupled interdisciplinary and multinational approach.

The Belmont Forum will support on a competitive basis, collaborative projects co-designed by teams of researchers from at least three participating countries. These interdisciplinary teams will bring together natural scientists, social/economic scientists and research users, such as policy makers, regulators, NGOs and industry. Proposals will be jointly reviewed by the participating funding organizations and successful projects are expected to demonstrate added value through multilateral collaboration. Support for U.S.-based researchers will be provided through awards made by the National Science Foundation.

Through this Call, the Belmont Forum seeks to bring together integrated teams of natural scientists, social scientists, and stakeholders to develop projects that address hydrological, ecological, societal and economic implications of the ongoing and expected environmental changes in mountain regions. The Belmont Forum seeks to support projects that are based on inter- and trans-disciplinary research involving robust end user community engagement.

This Call of the International Opportunities Fund seeks to advance research within the following themes utilizing and developing both the relevant information streams and the sustainability science necessary to assess, predict, inform, and communicate resilient pathways.

  1. Drivers of change - the variety of natural and anthropogenic drivers that generate the observed and expected environmental changes in the mountains.
  2. Ecosystems and Biodiversity - the changes in ecosystem functions in response to drivers and the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  3. Water - the mountain water resources and the changes in water availability due to environmental changes related to the different driving factors.
  4. Hazards, Vulnerability and Risks - The hazards that affect mountain regions and their impacts; the vulnerability of natural and human systems to drivers of change and impacts on society; the aggregated and cascading effects of multiple hazards.
  5. Adaptation and Resilience - the adaptation and mitigation strategies and implications for future generations, economies, and environments.

All proposals for this call will be submitted to the central Belmont Forum Grant Operations website. The U.S. National Science Foundation and the Italian National Research Council will serve as the joint Program Office for the call and will maintain the official call webpage. Information specific to U.S. researchers will be posted as a U.S. National Annex.


Submission Date for Pre-Proposals: 1 June 2015

Notification of invitation for Full-Proposal: 3 August 2015

Notification of Awards: March 2016


Each consortium must include partners from at least three participating countries and must show clear links through to users and include collaboration between natural and social/economic sciences, and other sciences where relevant. Researchers from countries not represented by any of the partner-countries can participate in the research project at their own expense.

Consortium partners should identify a Leading Principal Investigator (LPI) for each proposal for application, management and communication purposes. The LPI is officially responsible for all communications with the Call Program Office, including the submission Proposal. These communications must be in accordance with the LPI’s funding agency requirements.

U.S. investigators may only be part of one consortium. Accordingly, U.S. investigators may be listed as either Lead PI, Co-PI (Partner PI) or Senior Personnel on only one proposal.

In accordance with NSF policy, proposals cannot list more than 4 Co-PI’s (Partner-PI’s) from U.S. institutions. Additional U.S. collaborators must be listed as Senior Personnel.

Funding opportunities for researchers from developing countries can be found through the NSF/USAID Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER2) program. The next funding opportunity is expected to be announced in the October/November and follow a similar time-schedule.


Within each selected consortium, funding of the participating researchers is provided by their respective national funding organization in accordance with their standard award terms and conditions. A consortium agreement (including International Property Rights) will need to be developed between the participating researchers should their application be successful, and shared with the relevant Partner Organizations. All projects have to include a budget for participation in synthesis meetings that will be held back-to-back with a scientifically relevant international conference or event.

The total NSF budget for this call is approximately $3 million. NSF anticipates that a total of 8 - 10 research consortia will be supported for up to 36 months. The maximum total budget request for all US investigators in a consortium must not exceed $150,000 per year.


National Contact Points:

Dr. Maria Uhle
Program Director for International Activities
Directorate for Geosciences
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd, RM 705
Arlington, VA 22230 USA
Phone: + 1 703 292-2250


Roger Wakimoto
Assistant Director for Geosciences

1 The Belmont Forum is a high level group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils. It aims to accelerate delivery of the international environmental research most urgently needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by aligning and mobilizing international resources. Current members of the Belmont Forum are: Australia, Department of Climate Change; Austria, Ministry for Education, Science and Research; Brazil, FAPESP; Canada, NSERC and CFCAS; France, ANR; European Commission, DG Research; Germany, BMBF and DFG; Japan, MEXT; India, MoES; Norway, The Research Council of Norway; South Africa, NRF; UK, NERC; USA, NSF; International Council for Science (ICSU); and International Social Sciences Council (ISSC).

2 PEER Program (