• LOI: 12/04/2019
  • Proposal: 06/05/2020


  • Amount: Up to $1,187,700 per year
  • Duration: 6 years


The Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program enables research to advance the understanding of long-term ecological dynamics, processes, and phenomena. It provides researchers a unique opportunity to obtain an integrated, holistic understanding of populations, communities, and ecosystems that is not possible through individual, short-term awards..

NSF invites proposals to establish a new urban LTER site to enhance the scope and disciplinary breadth of the LTER Program and to complement research carried out at current sites. A proposal may be submitted for a site for which long-term data exist or for a site that requires an entirely new effort. Use of existing federal and state facilities, and collaboration with other long-term research sites or programs are encouraged. Prospective investigators may wish to contact current LTER Principal Investigators to learn more about the structure and management of an LTER site.

Research proposals submitted to this competition should be built around a conceptual framework as previously described but should also integrate at least one social, economic, or cultural process. Potential focal areas may include, but are not limited to:

  • Interactions between human and natural systems, including land use and land cover change, and the role of demographic trends as drivers of social-ecological dynamics.
  • The feedbacks between human attitudes, beliefs and values, and environmental patterns and processes.
  • The role of institutions, governance structures, and socio-political forces in determining how human interactions and ecological processes feedback on each other.
  • Integration of engineering and design with natural and social sciences.

NSF encourages proposals that take advantage of opportunities for engagement with decision-makers, including the development of effective plans to promote knowledge co-production with stakeholders.

Eligibility & Submission Requirements

For purposes of this solicitation, “urban ecosystem” is defined as an area densely populated by humans, typically a city. As such, urban LTER sites should focus on the terrestrial environment, including freshwater systems and coastlines. Because funding for the new urban site will come primarily from the Division of Environmental Biology, research in coastal sites should not focus on adjacent marine or Great Lakes systems. The project should have a basic research theme; applied themes such as ecotoxicology will not be considered.

Contact Information

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

  • Jennifer M. Burns, Office of Polar Programs, telephone: (703) 292-2120, email:
  • Roberto Delgado, Office of Polar Programs, telephone: (703) 292-2397, email:
  • Douglas J. Levey, Division of Environmental Biology, telephone: (703) 292-5196, email:
  • Colette M. St. Mary, Division of Environmental Biology, telephone: (703) 292-4659, email:
  • John D. Schade, Division of Environmental Biology, telephone: (703) 292-7139, email:
  • Daniel J. Thornhill, Division of Ocean Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-8143, email:
  • John E. Yellen, Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-8759, email: