Propose a Workshop: Spring 2020

Mar 30, 2020



Table of Contents



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., government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), 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
  • 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
  • Potential to 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
  • Explanation of why SESYNC is the most appropriate way to support the proposed endeavor.


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 whether an idea is appropriate for SESYNC, as well as how syntheses might be structured to achieve strong interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary outcomes. Please contact to solicit feedback or arrange a conversation. In your email, please include a paragraph and/or concept document about your project ideas, 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.

Workshop support does not include salary support, stipends for participants, or grants to other institutions.


Project Eligibility

Workshops must meet the following criteria to be considered:

  • There may be no more than 25 total participants, including the PIs/team leads.
  • Projects should have two PIs/team leads.
  • At least one PI/team lead must be based at a U.S. institution.
  • Graduate students are not eligible to apply as PIs/team leads for this opportunity, although they may participate in workshops. SESYNC offers a separate Graduate Student Pursuit program for students wishing to lead working groups.
  • The project cannot involve collection of new empirical data.

Please see the SESYNC FAQ for more information on the types of projects we support.


Submission Instructions


Application Components

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 document in a single PDF (described below), which should be uploaded to the online form
  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 a single PDF document using single spacing, 12-pt type fonts, and one-inch margins. Proposals that exceed the page limits or do not adhere to the requirements below may not be reviewed.

1. Cover sheet (one 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: workshops for this RFP are expected to be scheduled in fall 2020)
  • Potential conflicts of interest with members of the SESYNC Scientific Review Committee, External Advisory BoardLeadership Team, Researchers, or Fellows

2. Main body (five pages max excluding references section)

  • 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.
  • Conceptual framework: Graphical and/or textual formats may be used to show how the synthesis approach and various components of the work are linked together to address the problem of interest.
  • Proposed activities: 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.
  • Data: Description of intended data and any permissions needed for their use. If possible, please list the actual datasets that will be used to initiate the synthesis effort. Data access extends beyond identification of data sources to include a description of data accessibility, permissions, structure, format, and storage requirements. Proposals that do not provide detailed information on data may not be reviewed. SESYNC supports socio-environmental synthesis research projects that aggregate and integrate, but do not collect, primary and secondary data.
  • 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?

3.  References (one page max)

Literature cited section of up to one page.

4. Diversity Statement (one page max)

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 the first paragraph, please describe diversity of backgrounds (social and natural scientists), experience of participants, gender, career stage, persons of disabilities, and country of origin.
  • In the second paragraph, 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: 

5. Other Information (one page max)

  • Cyberinfrastructure Needs: 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 our cyberinfrastructure team at prior to submission if significant CI resources are needed to make the workshop successful.
  • Work Plan: 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.
  • Other: PIs are encouraged to discuss with SESYNC other support services available at the Center. 

6. Short CV of the Workshop (Proposal) Leaders (two 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.

7. Current and Pending Support (one page for each PI/Proposal Leader)

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 and come from unique institutions. 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 March 30, 2020, 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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