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Subject: Request for Proposals, Sustainable Agriculture

Earthwatch Institute is an international non-profit organization with the mission to “engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment.”  Earthwatch is currently seeking proposals from field-based researchers to provide grants to address sustainable agriculture research in Europe, South America, or Central America. Projects should display a set of clearly identified research questions, with appropriate research design and methodology to answer those questions. Earthwatch is looking to support projects with outputs/impacts that will either: a) lead to significant advancement in scientific understanding and should contribute to international research objectives or b) make significant contributions to environmental policies or management plans by contributing the necessary data and working with the appropriate officials. Of particular interest are projects focusing on vineyards, olives, cocoa, sugar cane, or spices.

Earthwatch will only consider proposals for field research that have a strong rationale for requiring involvement of non-specialists (Earthwatch participants) in data collection, scientific observation, or a variety of research tasks. Earthwatch participants are highly motivated citizens from around the world who are dedicated to improving environmental understanding. A typical project would require meaningful engagement of a minimum of 4 and up to 12 Earthwatch participants per team on 4 to 10 teams per fielding season.  Each team typically spends 1 to 2 weeks in the field.  Students are a key participant group for Earthwatch; it is advantageous for applicants to be open to student participants (age 15-18). All participants speak English, and projects must be conducted in English.


Earthwatch encourages proposals that are interdisciplinary and/or transnational. Preference will be given to projects that directly contribute to environmental or social change on the ground and that have a strong community and/or educational component. Professionals from any nationality are eligible to apply.


Concept Notes and Proposals
Concept Notes for projects starting in spring or summer 2014 will be accepted through Thursday, January 31, 2013. Invitations for full Research Proposals will be communicated in late February.  Applications are to be submitted in English. You can submit a Concept Note here: http://fs22.formsite.com/EarthwatchResearch/ConceptNote/index.html


Research topics that may be considered for funding include, but are not limited to:
• Biodiversity- friendly agriculture: Research that maintains and enhances biodiversity or assesses the ecosystem services biodiversity provides to agroecosystems.
• Ecosystem Services: Research that assesses seed dispersal, pollination, nutrient cycling, soil processes, carbon storage, or other interactions important for agriculture and forest regeneration.
• Hydrology: Land use effects on permeability, run-off, water quality, and biotic integrity.


Grants
Annual grants are available to cover research related costs which can include: equipment (under US$1000), tools, supplies, research permits, scientist transport to the field, support staff, and food and accommodation for PIs, staff, and Earthwatch participants during teams. The grant cannot cover scientist salaries, overhead, capital equipment, and other expenses not directly related to the project. For successful proposal a budget will be negotiated in partnership with Earthwatch, but usually average around US$20,000. The field research proposals are tenable for three years, and potentially renewable in the fourth year.

Additional
• Comfortable accommodations for the proposed project must be located a reasonable travel distance from the research site(s) in order to travel back and forth daily.
• For additional information about Earthwatch’s application process see our website: http://www.earthwatch.org/aboutus/research/scientistopps/reqresprop/

All questions should be directed to:
Gitte Venicx gvenicx@earthwatch.org or research@earthwatch.org


Earthwatch Insitute <gvenicx@earthwatch.org>
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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