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NOK 240 million for integrated research on ecosystem effects

New, more integrated research efforts are needed to address major climate and environmental issues. Four programmes under the Research Council of Norway have therefore decided to work together to generate a wider understanding of ecosystem responses to climate and environment change as well as of the cumulative effect of such changes.

A broad perspective needed
The joint call for proposals is being co-financed by four Research Council programmes: the Large-scale Programme on Climate Research (KLIMAFORSK), the Programme on Polar Research (POLARPROG), the Programme on the Oceans and Coastal Areas (HAVKYST), and the Programme on Norwegian Environmental Research towards 2015 (MILJO2015).

Foto: Scanpix/Erlend Aas This call will enable us to launch an integrated research effort addressing major challenges, says Arvid Hallén (Photo: Scanpix/Erlend Aas) This marks the first time the Research Council is implementing a collaborative call for proposals of such a large scale. “There is a great need for a coordinated research effort to enhance our understanding of the key environmental and climate challenges,” says Director General of the Research Council Arvid Hallén.

“This call will enable us to launch an integrated research effort addressing major challenges that will help us to see connections in a wider context.”

In line with the IPCC
Mr Hallén points to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, which identifies the need for studying the cumulative effect of factors that affect the ecosystems. The report states that ecosystem changes are already occurring, such as acidification of the oceans, thawing of permafrost and large glaciers, and loss of species diversity. The IPCC report finds there is a risk that plant and animal species will become extinct as climate change interacts with other stressors such as environmental pollutants and habitat changes.

This kind of integrated, interdisciplinary approach also underlies the activities of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The Research Council’s state-of-the-art review of the climate research field (Kunnskapsgrunnlag for ny klimasatsing i Forskningsrådet) and the new Miljø21 environmental R&D strategy both identify the need for a coordinated, integrated approach.

“The call emphasizes on integrated assessment of ecosystem effects,” explains Mr Hallén. The projects are designed to enhance knowledge about the drivers of ecosystem change and the key processes, systems and responses of ecosystem functions and dynamics, including the Earth’s ability to provide vital ecosystem services.

Mr Hallén is convinced that this knowledge will benefit the basis for decision-making concerning fundamental objectives of climate and environmental policy in the long term.

Nationally coordinated projects
The call for proposals encompasses Researcher Projects with duration of up to four years. Proposals for both discipline-specific and interdisciplinary projects will be accepted. The Research Council has funding available for up to two large-scale, nationally coordinated projects in addition to a number of smaller Researcher Projects.

An information meeting about the call will be held at the Research Council on 23 May, 13:00?15:00. The application deadline is 3 September.
Written by:
Mette Mila / Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann.
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