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NSF 20-112

Dear Colleague Letter: Potential Support for Community Hubs for Collaborations Between NSF-funded Arctic Researchers and Arctic Residents

August 3, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

Through this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Arctic Sciences Section (ARC) in the Office of Polar Programs is encouraging submissions of proposals for projects that will enrich interactions and improve collaboration between Arctic residents and NSF-funded researchers. Proposals in response to this Dear Colleague Letter should be directed to the Arctic Research Opportunities solicitation (NSF 16-595) and must follow the guidelines in the solicitation and the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

Through increasing investment in Arctic research in recent years, NSF has created greater opportunities for researchers to work in the Arctic, to build strong partnerships with Arctic residents, and to create projects in collaboration with northern communities. Through this DCL, the Arctic Sciences Section wishes to support the development of additional research capacity of Arctic residents and local and regional organizations to strengthen communication and to enhance partnerships with the academic community that NSF typically supports.


We expect that the proposals submitted in response to the DCL will be diverse in proposed activities, scope, and geographic extent and will vary based on the needs, research capacity, and existing infrastructure of different regions and communities. Proposals should include a plan to work with researchers funded to work in the Arctic by the National Science Foundation. Proposed activities may focus on supporting currently funded projects, fostering discussions between researchers and Arctic residents about emerging areas of research needs, and/or building the long-term research capacity of communities, all with the goal of improving collaboration and the sharing of knowledge between Arctic residents and the NSF-supported research community.

Potential activities could include, but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing communication with NSF-funded PIs who are working near or with Arctic residents in the area of focus in a funded project.
  • Supporting the development of partnerships between NSF-funded PIs and Arctic residents, including facilitating co-produced research efforts when appropriate.
  • Assisting with communicating scientific plans, results, and outcomes to Arctic residents.
  • Operationalizing the IARPC Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic (
  • Creating recommendations to build research capacity and training opportunities for Arctic residents.

Other related and creative activities that will meet the goals described above are welcome.

Awards at a variety of budget levels are anticipated given the differences in community outreach and regional plans that support the goals outlined in this Dear Colleague Letter. In addition to standard research proposals, the program is also interested in exploratory, synthetic, and community building activities on this topic. As such, the following types of proposals also will be considered:

  • Conferences that engage the Arctic residents and the NSF-funded research community to plan and identify new and emerging areas of research and activities to support these collaborations (see the guidance in PAPPG Chapter II.E.7).
  • Research Coordination Network (RCN) projects that engage diverse individuals and organizations in novel approaches to forming collaborations and research teams for future research efforts (see the guidance in the RCN solicitation, NSF 17-594).

We welcome and encourage leadership by and/or collaboration with Indigenous individuals and organizations on proposals in response to this Dear Colleague Letter. It is expected, as with other proposals, that all collaborators will be compensated for their time spent on the project.


Individuals and organizations interested in submitting a proposal in response to this DCL must contact Colleen Strawhacker, Program Officer for the Arctic System Science Program (, and/or Roberto Delgado, Program Officer for the Arctic Observing Network (, for more information.


William E. Easterling
Assistant Director for Geosciences