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Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability NSF-Wide Investment  (SEES)

Crosscutting Programs   NSF Wide Programs

SEES Mission Statement

To advance science, engineering, and education to inform the societal actions needed for environmental and economic sustainability and sustainable human well-being.


For general inquiries about SEES related activities:

For program or discipline-specific questions, please see the full list of contacts at:

To subscribe to the SEES listserv, send the text "subscribe SEES" to


Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) is a portfolio of activities that highlights NSF's unique role in helping society address the challenge(s) of achieving sustainability. 

SEES Portfolio of Programs:
See below for program descriptions, news and updates.


Most Recent Solicitation

Status / Most Recent Deadline

Arctic SEES

Belmont Forum call for proposals: Arctic Observing and Research for Sustainability

July 31, 2014 

Climate Change Education Partnerships


The CCEP program has been discontinued as a SEES program and has no additional funding opportunities.

Coastal SEES


Deadlines: January 21, 2014; October 02, 2015

Cyber-Innovation for Sustainability Science and Engineerng (CyberSEES)


Deadlines: April 08, 2014; February 03, 2015

Decadal & Regional Climate Prediction Using Earth System Models (EaSM)


Deadline: December 23, 2013

Dimensions of Biodiversity


Deadline: April 03, 2014 and annually

Dynamics of Coupled Natural & Human Systems (CNH)


Deadline: November 18, 2014 and annually

Interdisciplinary Research in Hazards and Disasters (Hazards SEES)


A new solicitation is expected in summer/early fall 2014

Ocean Acidification


Deadline: December 3, 2013

Partnerships for International Research & Education (PIRE)


The PIRE SEES competition has been discontinued.

Research Coordination Networks (RCN)


The RCN-SEES track has been discontinued.  Other RCN proposals may be submitted to participating programs.

SEES Fellows


Deadline: November 26, 2013

Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Phase I, FY 14


Deadline: December 4, 2013

Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM)

13-013 (DCL)

Deadlines vary by program

Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP)



Sustainability Research Networks (SRN)


Deadline: April 29, 2014

Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC)


Waiting for new publication

About SEES:

A sustainable world is one in which human needs are met equitably without harm to the environment, and without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.  Meeting this formidable challenge requires a substantial increase in our understanding of the integrated system of society, the natural world, and the alterations humans bring to Earth.  NSF's Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) activities aim to address this need through support for interdisciplinary research and education.

Fundamental to all sustainability research is the simultaneous consideration of social, economic, and environmental systems and the long-term viability of those systems. Concepts that underlie the science of sustainability include complex adaptive systems theory, emergent behavior, multi-scale processes, as well as the vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and resilience of coupled human-environment systems. An important research goal is to understand how patterns and processes at the local and regional scales are shaped by-and feed into-processes and patterns that manifest at the global scale over the long term.  These topics guide research to explore alternate ways of managing the environment, migrating from finite resources to renewable or inexhaustible resources, and applying technology to improve human well-being. Conceptual frameworks for sustainability, including general theories and models, are critically needed for such informed decision-making.

SEES activities span the entire range of scientific domains at NSF and aim to: 1) support interdisciplinary research and education that can facilitate the move towards global sustainability; 2) build linkages among existing projects and partners and add new participants in the sustainability research enterprise; and 3) develop a workforce trained in the interdisciplinary scholarship needed to understand and address the complex issues of sustainability.

Participating Organizations: Directorate for Biological Sciences, Directorate for Computer Information Science and Engineering, Office of Cyberinfrastructure, Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Directorate for Engineering, Directorate for Geosciences, Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Office of Integrative Activities, Office of International Science & Engineering, Office of Polar Programs, Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

SEES-Related Programs, Activities and News:

Arctic SEES (ArcSEES)
ArcSEES is a multi-year, interdisciplinary program which seeks both fundamental research that improves our ability to evaluate the sustainability of the Arctic human-environmental system as well as integrated efforts which will provide community-relevant sustainability pathways and engineering solutions. For this competition, interdisciplinary research will be focused in four thematic areas: the natural and living environment, the built environment, natural resource development, and governance.
Press Release:
NSF Partners With U.S. and International Agencies to Foster Research on Sustainability in the Arctic (Press Release 12-101)

Climate Change Education (CCE): Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) Program, Phase II (CCEP-II)
The CCEP Program seeks to establish a coordinated national network of regionally- or thematically-based partnerships devoted to increasing the adoption of effective, high quality educational programs and resources related to the science of climate change and its impacts. This solicitation is for proposals for (CCEP-II). CCEP-II awardees will receive up to 5 years of funding to support full-scale implementation of mature and robust strategic plans already developed by regional or thematic partnerships to improve climate change education activities at a significant scale and meet the goals of the CCE program.
Status: The CCEP Program has been discontinued as a SEES program and has no additional funding opportunities.

Coastal SEES
The Coastal SEES program is a multi-directorate program that seeks to 1) enable place-based system-level understanding of coastal systems on a variety of spatial and temporal scales; 2) yield outcomes with predictive value in coastal systems; and 3) identify pathways by which outcomes could be used to enhance coastal sustainability.
News Release: NSF awards first coastal sustainability grants for research on world's most populated areas (NSF 13-171)  (September 27, 2013) (FY13 Awards)

Cyber-Innovation for Sustainability Science and Engineering (CyberSEES)
The CyberSEES program aims to advance interdisciplinary research in which the science and engineering of sustainability are enabled by new advances in computing, and where computational innovation is grounded in the context of sustainability problems.

Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction Using Earth System Models (EaSM)
This interdisciplinary grand challenge calls for the development of next-generation Earth System Models that include coupled and interactive representations of ecosystems, agricultural working lands and forests, urban environments, biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, ocean and atmospheric currents, the water cycle, land ice, and human activities.
Frequently Asked Questions for EaSM (NSF 12-029)
News Release: New interagency program to improve predictions of climate change and its impacts (NSF-10-044)(Video)
News Release:
Earth System Models at Decadel and Regional Scales Critical to Understanding Climate Change Effects (NSF 11-232) (October 26, 2011) (FY11 Awards)
Discovery Article: The Snows of Mount Washington (March 2, 2012) 
News Release: NSF, USDA, DOE Award Grants to Improve Predictions of Climate Change on Regoinal, Decadal Scales (NSF 13-122) (July 9, 2013) (FY 13 Awards)

Dimensions of Biodiversity
The Dimensions of Biodiversity campaign seeks to transform how we describe and understand the scope and role of life on Earth. The campaign promotes novel, integrated approaches to identify and understand the evolutionary and ecological significance of biodiversity amidst the changing environment of the present day and in the geologic past. This campaign takes a broad view of biodiversity, and currently focuses on the integration of genetic, taxonomic/phylogenetic, and functional dimensions of biodiversity. While this focus complements several core NSF programs, it differs by requiring that multiple dimensions of biodiversity be addressed simultaneously, in innovative or novel ways, to understand their synergistic roles in critical ecological and evolutionary processes.
News Release: NSF Awards Grants to Study Dimensions of Earth's Biodiversity (NSF 10-179) (FY10 Awards)
News Release: Diversity of Life on Earth: NSF Awards Grants for Study of Dimensions of Biodiversity (NSF 11-233) (FY11 Awards)
Discovery Article: Biodiversity of Earth's Richest Plant Kingdom Under Fire (January 27, 2012)
Abstracts Booklet: Dimensions of Biodiversity FY2011 Projects (NSF 12-053) (February 16, 2012)
Discovery Article: Earth Week: A Stream Is a Stream Is a Stream: Or Is It? (April 16, 2012)
News Release: Stemming the Tide of Biodiversity Loss on Earth (NSF 12-173) (September 24, 2012) (FY12 Awards)
News Release: In race against time, NSF grants fund research on Earth's threatened biodiversity (September 27, 2013) (FY13 Awards)

Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH)
This program promotes interdisciplinary analyses of relevant human and natural system processes and complex interactions among human and natural systems at diverse scales. The most recent revision of the solicitation included special emphasis on SEES related proposals.
News Release: New Understandings of How Humans and the Environment Interact (NSF 11-199)
Discovery Article: Cooking Up Clean Air in Africa (January 3, 2013)
Discovery Article: Studying Nature's Rhythms: Soundscape Ecologists Spawn New Field (February 6, 2012)
Frequently Asked Questions for CNH (NSF 11-084)
News Release: National Science Foundation Awards Grants for Research on Coupled Natural and Human Systems (NSF 12-184) (October 1, 2012) (FY12 Awards)
News Release: Human Disease Leptospirosis Identified in New Species, the Banded Mongoose, in Africa (NSF 13-084) (May 14, 2013)
Discovery Article: Summertime: Hot Time in the City (June 21, 2013)
News Release: National Science Foundation awards $19.4 million for research on coupled natural and human systems (September 25, 2013) (FY13 Awards)

Interdisciplinary Research in Hazards and Disasters (Hazards SEES) 
The Hazards SEES program is a multi-directorate program that seeks to: (1) advance understanding of fundamental processes associated with specific natural hazards and technological hazards linked to natural phenomena, and their interactions; (2) better understand the causes, interdependences, impacts and cumulative effects of hazards on individuals, the natural and built environment, and society as a whole; and (3) improve capabilities for forecasting or predicting hazards, mitigating their effects, and enhancing the capacity to respond to and recover from resultant disasters.
News Release: In Wake of Hurrican Sandy, Oklahoma tornadoes, NSF awards $32 million in hazards sustainability grants (NSF 13-176) (October 21, 2013) (FY13 Awards)

Ocean Acidification (OA)
The goal of this solicitation is to understand a) the geochemistry and biogeochemistry of ocean acidification; b) how ocean acidification interacts with biological and physical processes at the organismal level, and how such interactions impact the structure and function of ecosystems; and c) how the earth system history informs our understanding of the effects of ocean acidification on the present day and future ocean.
News Release:
NSF Awards Grants to Study Effects of Ocean Acidification (NSF 10-186) (FY 10 Awards)
Discovery Article: Trouble in Paradise: Ocean Acidification This Way Comes (January 4, 2012)
News Release: Ocean Acidification: Finding New Answers Through National Science Foundation Research Grants (NSF 12-179) (September 26, 2012) (FY12 Awards)
Discovery Article: Blue Mussels "Hang On" Along Rocky Shores: For How Long? (March 21, 2013)
News Release: World Oceans Month Brings Mixed News for Oysters (NSF 13-102) (June 11, 2013) 
News Release:
Natural Underwater Springs Show How Coral Reefs Respond to Ocean Acidification (NSF 13-108) (June 17, 2013)
News Release: Ocean Acidification: Making new discoveries through National Science Foundation research grants (NSF 13-148) (August 26, 2013) (FY13 Awards)

Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)
The primary goal of PIRE is to support high quality projects in which advances in research and education could not occur without international collaboration. The FY 2012 PIRE competition will be focused exclusively on the NSF-wide SEES investment area.
PIRE Frequently Asked Questions
News Release: NSF Supports Global Research to Advance Science and Engineering for Sustainability (NSF 13-003) (FY 13 Awards)

Research Coordination Networks (RCN)
The goal of the RCN program is to advance a field or create new directions in research or education. Groups of investigators will be supported to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic and international boundaries. The RCN-SEES track has been discontinued, but other RCN funding opportunities exist.
News Release: National Science Foundation Makes First Awards in Sustainability Research Coordination Networks (NSF 11-228) (FY11 Awards)
Discovery Article: Can Marcellus Shale Gas Development and Healthy Waterways Sustainably Coexist? (December 9, 2011)
News Release: Maintaining Earth's Sustainability: Scientists, Engineers, Educators Take Coordinated Approach (NSF 12-169) (FY12 Awards)

Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Fellows (SEES Fellows) 
Through SEES Fellows, NSF seeks to enable the discoveries needed to inform actions that lead to environmental, energy and societal sustainability while creating the necessary workforce to address these challenges.
Frequently Asked Questions for SEES Fellows (NSF 11-088)
News Release: NSF Investments Develop a Workforce for Sustainability Research and Education (NSF 12-196) (October 15, 2012) (FY 12 Awards)

Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I Solicitation FY-2014 (STTR)
The STTR program solicits proposals from the small business sector. The FY14 solicitation has four focus areas: Biolgical and Chemical Technologies (BC); Education Applications (EA); Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies (EI); and Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, and Manufacturing (NM).

Dear Colleague Letter: Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM)
This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) draws attention to opportunities for research and education in the chemical sciences and engineering related to sustainable synthesis, use, and reuse of chemicals and materials under the initiative of Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM).

Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP)
SEP calls for innovative, interdisciplinary basic research in SEES by teams of researchers for developing systems approaches to sustainable energy pathways based on a comprehensive understanding of the scientific, technical, environmental, economic, and societal issues.  The SEP solicitation considers scalable approaches for sustainable energy conversion to useful forms, as well as its storage, transmission, distribution, and use.
News Release: Finding New Paths Forward for Sustainable Energy (NSF 12-175) (September 25, 2012) (FY12 Awards)

Sustainability Research Networks (SRN)
The goal of the Sustainability Research Networks (SRN) competition is to support the development and coalescence of entities to advance collaborative research that addresses questions and challenges in sustainability science, engineering, and education.
Sustainability Frequently Asked Questions (SRN FAQs)
News Release: Two NSF Sustainability Research Networks Are Each Awarded $12 Million (NSF 12-185) (October 2, 2012)

Water Sustainability and Climate
The goal of the WSC program is to enable new interdisciplinary paradigms in water research, which  broadly integrate across the biological sciences, geosciences, engineering, and social sciences to address water systems in their entirety.  
News Release: NSF Awards Grants for Study of Water Sustainability and Climate (NSF 10-182) (FY 10 Awards)
Discovery Article: Cry Me a River: Following a Watershed's Winding Path to Sustainability (March 9, 2012)
News Release: How is Earth's Water System Linked With Land Use, Climate Change and Ecosystems? (NSF 12-174) (September 24, 2012) (FY12 Awards)
News Release: Extreme Algae Blooms: The New Normal? (NSF 13-057) (April 1, 2013)
Discovery Article: Ghosts of Forests Past: Bark Beetles Kill Lodgepole Pines, Affecting Entire Watersheds (June 27, 2013)


SEES Newsletter Volume 1, Spring 2012

NSF Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Discovery Articles

Fact Sheet: Towards a Sustainable Future (February 13, 2012)

SEES History and Portfolio

SEES News Releases

SEES FY 2010 Activities

SEES FY 2011 Activities & Opportunities

SEES FY12 Activities & Opportunities

National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)


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