Propose a Workshop

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The Spring RFP deadline has passed. The next RFP will be announced in August 2019.

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Workshops are single meetings of up to ~25 participants that focus on a broad topic or a set of related topics related to socio-environmental science and/or socio-environmental problems. Workshops may summarize and/or synthesize the state of the topic and/or identify future directions that have the potential to lead to a larger synthesis effort. Even in a Workshop setting, a synthesis of existing data, knowledge, methods, etc. should emerge. We are particularly interested in projects that explore new modeling approaches, tools to advance modeling, or education materials associated with socio-environmental modeling (e.g., systems dynamics modeling, network modeling, agent-based modeling).

Teams should be highly interdisciplinary (natural and social scientists), and we encourage the inclusion of individuals from outside of academia (e.g., governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, the business sector). Projects co-developed by academic researchers and non-academic knowledge users (from the NGO, private, and government sectors) are encouraged. SESYNC places priority on teams whose members have not had extensive prior collaborations with one another. Please see our website for examples of successful projects.

For workshops, the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) support provides:

  • travel, lodging, and meals for participants in accordance with our Travel Policies;
  • meeting facilities;
  • on-site computing support; and
  • the opportunity to engage with Postdoctoral and Sabbatical Fellows at SESYNC headquarters in Annapolis, MD, or at our research affiliate, Resources for the Future, in Washington, D.C.

Workshop proposals will be evaluated with regard to the following criteria:

  • novelty, creativity, and/or urgency of the proposed workshop within the context of SESYNC’s mission;
  • feasibility to produce meaningful advancements, including identifying distinct and achievable goals and showing ability to access appropriate resources;
  • qualifications and disciplinary diversity of participants;
  • if successful, produce meaningful synthetic research or advance the process of synthesis;
  • inclusion of diversity to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups with respect to gender, ethnicity, disability, and geographic location; and
  • explanation of why SESYNC is the most appropriate way to support the proposed endeavor.

Please note: Graduate students are not eligible to apply as PIs/team leads for this opportunity, although they may participate in workshops. Graduate student-led synthesis projects are handled through a separate RFP, which will be announced in summer 2019.

Proposal Development

We highly encourage those interested in this RFP to discuss their ideas with SESYNC prior to developing their proposal. Discussions with team leaders can often help determine if an idea is appropriate for SESYNC, as well as how syntheses might be structured to achieve strong interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary outcomes. Please contact to arrange a conversation. We ask that you please include a paragraph and/or concept document about your project even if not fully developed (e.g., your research questions; what kind of socio-environmental data you plan to synthesize; what kind of product you envision). This will help in ascertaining whether or not your proposal aligns with SESYNC’s mission and in putting you in touch with the right person at SESYNC.

This conversation should occur no later than 3 weeks prior to submitting a proposal.

You may also find our videos on Tips for Submitting Your Research Proposal and Lessons Learned for Interdisciplinary Collaboration helpful as you develop your proposal.

Support Details

Details on SESYNC funding and support can be found here.

Support for Workshops includes travel, lodging, and meals for participants in accordance with our Travel Policies. All Workshops are held at our facilities in Annapolis, MD.

Support is also offered for aspects of interdisciplinary team science, including meeting design and facilitation of specific sessions as needed.

Submission Instructions

What to Include

SESYNC applications are composed of three parts to be submitted via SESYNC's online submission system:

  1. An online form on the submission website,
  2. A proposal in a single PDF, which should be uploaded to the online form, and
  3. A downloadable Excel spreadsheet of potential participants, which should be completed and then uploaded to the online form. 

Proposal Requirements

Include the following in your application in a single PDF using single spacing, 12-pt type fonts, and 1-inch margins.

Cover sheet (1 page)

  • Descriptive title of proposed workshop (“Workshop: ….”)
  • Short title (25 characters max)
  • Name and contact information for up to two PIs
  • Project summary (250 words): appropriate for the public; posted on the SESYNC website
  • Keywords (up to 5 keywords different from those used in the title)
  • Proposed start dates, duration of meeting, and the estimated number of participants (please note: the earliest possible workshop date is January 2020)
  • Potential conflicts of interest with members of the SESYNC Scientific Review Committee, External Advisory BoardLeadership Team, Researchers, or Fellows

Main body (5 pages max including references)

  • Problem statement: Clear and concise description of the workshop topic, why it is important to advancing socio-environmental synthesis research, and its novelty or urgency. Even in a Workshop setting, a synthesis of existing data, knowledge, methods, etc. should emerge. 
    • Please note: Projects that solely propose the development of a framework are considered less competitive. In addition, SESYNC discourages applications requesting support for literature reviews. That said, we will consider meta-analysis synthesis of concepts, theories, and knowledge within the literature.
  • Proposed activities: Brief description of the proposed synthesis activities and why SESYNC is the most appropriate place to hold the workshop. SESYNC will not generally support workshops in which the leads or the majority of named participants are engaged in a significant ongoing collaboration.
  • Metrics of success: Describe metrics that are the most appropriate for evaluating the success of the proposed project (e.g., papers, policy-directed efforts, databases, models, development of new resources, grant proposal, etc). If successful, who are the non-peer audiences that would most likely use the knowledge or tools developed?

Data Plan and Availability (1 page)

Briefly describe any anticipated cyberinfrastructure (CI) support needed prior to or during the workshop. Applicants should review SESYNC's Cyberinfrastructure Support Information to familiarize themselves with the types of CI support SESYNC can provide and expectations regarding release of software and data upon project completion. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposed workshop with prior to submission if significant CI resources are needed to make the workshop successful.

Other Information (1 page)

  1. Work plan, with support needs including: 1. numbers of participant trips to SESYNC (broken down by number of US domestic and international participants), and 2. days of local support. SESYNC provides neither honoraria nor stipends for workshop leaders or participants.
  2. Diversity statement: include two paragraphs describing the aspects of diversity in your participant list. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, disability status, career stage, geography, and type of home institution.
    • In paragraph one, please describe diversity of backgrounds (social and natural scientists), experience of participants, gender, career stage, country of origin, and persons of disabilities.
    • In paragraph two, please describe the diversity of participants with respect to groups underrepresented in SESYNC research including scholars from developing countries and participants from underrepresented U.S. minorities (African Americans, American Indians including Native Alaskans, Hispanics, and Native Pacific Islanders; for more information on such efforts see:  

    Short CV of the PIs (2 pages for each)

    Please ONLY include the CVs of the Proposal Leaders, 2 pages maximum for each. Do not include talks, society memberships, or papers in preparation.

    Current and Pending Support (1 page for each PI)

    Please list current, pending support and the relationship to the proposed work at SESYNC. In addition please list proposals that you anticipate will be submitted during the period of this project that are substantively related to the synthesis effort. 

    Potential Participants

    Please download the Excel spreadsheet provided and complete the template using the column headers listed below for all participants. This should be uploaded separately from your PDF proposal to the online form. SESYNC places priority on teams whose members have not had extensive prior collaborations with one another. It is important to note that SESYNC strongly prefers that at least 50% of the listed participants are new collaborations. In addition, a substantive number of individuals on your list should be confirmed for participation. Proposals with no confirmed participants are seen as less competitive. 

    For each participant, include:

      • Last Name
      • First Name
      • Affiliation (include department)
      • Website address
      • Primary Area of Expertise
      • Secondary Area of Expertise
      • Confirmed (Y/N)
      • Prior Collaboration with Applicants (Y/N)

    List characteristics of potential participants that might be invited for open slots. Include current SESYNC Postdoctoral and Sabbatical Fellows, if appropriate.

    We ask that you download and complete this spreadsheet, and then upload it separately to your online form once you are ready to submit your full application online. 


    Proposals must be uploaded to SESYNC’s online submission system by May 15, 2019, at 5pm Eastern Time (ET).

    Click here to apply.



    The University of Maryland is an Equal Opportunity Employer

    Minorities and Women Are Encouraged to Apply

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