ARCSS Program | Overview
Understanding and Application
The ARCSS Program seeks an integrated arctic system understanding, which is essential to establish a scientific basis for predicting environmental change and - most importantly - for supporting decision-making processes in society and formulating policy options.
Arctic Research CommunityThe Arctic is a complex integrated system; thus, successful ARCSS science planning requires participation from a broad and interdisciplinary arctic science community, including physical, natural, and social scientists with a variety of scientific and methodological foci.
In the sixteen years since its inception, ARCSS Program research has evolved toward an increasingly integrative, rather than disciplinary, approach to studying the arctic system. Now, building on the solid foundation of more than a decade of observation, modeling, and process studies, the ARCSS Program is expanding synthesis efforts, with focused activities and projects aimed at achieving system level understanding of the Arctic.
Communities of Practice
Communities of Practice (Co-oPs) are groups of researchers organized around a set of arctic system science questions. Co-oPs will work with the ARCSS Committee (AC), the ARCSS Science Management Office (SMO; currently at ARCUS), and the broader research community to develop science questions that align with and advance ARCSS Program goals. Co-oPs could be disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or "legacy" (e.g. HARC, LAII, etc.) groups. For example, a Co-oP might focus on carbon flux, the impact of rapid change on various sub-systems or, from an ARCSS Program perspective, be similar to the interdisciplinary groups that worked together on SHEBA or GISP2 themes; any group coalescing around an arctic-system relevant science question could be considered a Co-oP.
One-Page Concept Paper
Emerging Communities of Practice (Co-oPs) will submit a one-page concept paper to the ARCSS Science Management Office (SMO) through an online form. The one-page Co-oP concept paper gives a brief overview of the nature of the Co-oP, the scientific focus, and the types of ARCSS SMO support that would facilitate Co-oP development. Concept letters may be submitted at any time. The online submission form is available here.
Concept Paper Evaluated
The Community of Practice (Co-oP) concept papers are evaluated immediately upon submission through the online form. Providing the form is complete and the scientific focus generally aligns with ARCSS goals, the concept paper is accepted and published to the ARCSS website. At this point, the ARCSS Science Management Office (SMO) and Co-oP will communicate to determine and coordinate SMO support (e.g. web conferences, online bulletin board, etc) to facilitate development of the Co-oP. With ARCSS Committee input, additional Co-oP organizing or community development activities may be recommended.
As ARCSS research is planned and implemented, it will benefit greatly from continuation and expansion of the broader community dialogue and input that has characterized the ARCSS Program from its inception. Communication and collaboration between and among the ARCSS research community, the AC, and NSF is critical for the most productive use of ARCSS research and research funding.
Synthesize and Communicate
Findings should be widely communicated to the ARCSS community, the broader scientific community, the public, and stakeholders.
Arctic System Science
The overarching goal of the NSF ARCSS Program is to answer the question: What do changes in the arctic system imply for the future? To do this, researchers must:
- advance from a component understanding to a system understanding of the Arctic;
- understand the behavior of the arctic system - past, present and future;
- understand the role of the Arctic as a component of the global system; and
- include society as an integral part of the arctic system.
On a quarterly basis, the ARCSS Committee (AC) and Science Management Office (SMO) will assess all existing Communities of Practice (Co-oP) progress and activities. As necessary and with input from the emerging Co-oPs, the AC and the ARCSS SMO will help to focus and refine the science ideas, integrate multiple Co-oPs with similar or complementary interests/science questions, and help to remedy any gaps in community participation.
Funded ARCSS Projects
ARCSS proposals are funded and research implemented. From project inception to completion, funded project teams collaborate to provide project coordination, data management, education and outreach efforts, and synthesis.
The ARCSS Committee will select a set of Communities of Practice (Co-oPs) to submit an approximately 5-page prospectus to the ARCSS Science Management Office. A prospectus will elaborate on the Co-oP science questions - defining how they are relevant to system-scale science, outlining potential approaches and methodologies, and identifying how the science questions build on current knowledge. Target dates (to be announced; first target date in Fall 2005) will be scheduled so that prospectuses contribute to relevant National Science Foundation (NSF) Announcements of Opportunity.
Announcement(s) of Opportunity
At the discretion of NSF, one or more focused Announcements of Opportunity (AO) may result that incorporates the recommendations of the ARCSS Committee and the Communities of Practice and are open to the entire scientific community.
The ARCSS Committee will use prospectuses, community input, and the ARCSS science plan to assess science priorities and make recommendations to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for desirable Announcements of Opportunity that will promote the development of new research efforts to meet the overarching ARCSS goal of improved arctic system understanding.
The ARCSS Committee will work with the community, with input from the National Science Foundation (NSF), to assess the prospectuses and focus them to address key arctic system questions in an interdisciplinary, integrated fashion.
Data and Information Management
ARCSS data and information represents a legacy of arctic research. Thorough and consistent data documentation, storage, and access are essential to building on current knowledge. The ARCSS Program has a clearly defined data management policy - all data and metadata are archived and stored at the Arctic System Science Data Coordination Center.
Outreach and Education
Enhancing two-way communication with stakeholders, decision-makers, and the public is key to increasing the broader impacts of ARCSS research. Communities of Practice and individual researchers are strongly encouraged to plan and engage in informal and/or formal education and outreach activities, as appropriate.
For more information, click on a component of the wheel.