Fenner School Environment and Society Synthesis Program

Length

1 year

Closing date

5 August 2018

Enquiries

 Saul Cunningham

Description

The Environment and Society Synthesis Program (ESSP) will support workshops that analyse and synthesise major issues for environment and society with the goal of developing solutions and shaping the agenda for decision makers and stakeholders. The outlook deliberately seeks to go beyond short-term drivers.

The Fenner School of Environment and Society will manage the ESSP, and an advisory board will provide guidance, assess proposals, and ensure that teams are assembled in a way that fits the spirit of the program and has the greatest prospect for success.

Proposals are invited from the ANU community in an open call, but must include participation from at least one member of the Fenner School on the leadership team.

Program Strategy and Funding Model

Items eligible for ESSP support include travel, accommodation, food, communications, and logistics support. The program does not fund collection of new data, but instead brings people together for analysis and synthesis.

We recognise that productive collaboration will often require a series of meetings, rather than just one workshop. In some cases it will be best to bring a small group together in an initial meeting where the plan for a larger meeting can be developed. The projects kicked-off in a productive workshop might require subsequent meetings to maintain progress. Whereas the assumption of the program is that synthesis requires the dynamic of face-to-face interaction, there will be cases where successful partnerships established in face-to-face meetings will continue through electronic communication. For these reasons we have decided to support meetings that range in scale from small meetings where less than $5,000 might be required, up to large meetings that could cost $25,000. Further, we will work on the principle of supporting one workshop at a time, but recognizing that a successful first meeting may form the basis of an application for a subsequent meeting.

The most productive proposals might lead to support for a series of workshops over the life of the ESSP. We will assess proposals with an eye on the cost/benefit ratio, therefore more expensive activities should be more ambitious in scope. The program will strive for a balance between achievable goals and stretch goals. Applicants are advised to identify at least one of each kind in their application. Successful synthesis activities are expected to lead to new research being proposed or new practices being applied, or both. 

It is anticipated that ESSP investment will leverage other contributions to make the resource pool larger. Co-funding will be considered a strong point in any proposal. It is also expected that one of the targets for a successful workshop will be a plan to attract further funding to sustain the activity and that this strategy is articulated in the application.

How to apply

If you have an idea that you think might be suitable, contact Fenner Director Saul Cunningham. This preliminary discussion provides an opportunity to ensure that the proposal does the best job of addressing the program goals. Experience of other synthesis programs shows that this kind of supportive development increases the likelihood of real impact. People with suitable ideas will be invited to submit a full proposal.

It is anticipated that ESSP investment will leverage other contributions to make the resource pool larger. Co-funding will be considered a strong point in any proposal. It is also expected that one of the targets for a successful workshop will be a plan to attract further funding to sustain the activity and that this strategy is articulated in the application.

Assessment Criteria

Proposals will be assessed against the five criteria listed below. The assessment process is designed to ensure that successful proposals are highly ranked across all of these criteria.
 
Research Impact
The proposed project should have a strong likelihood of substantive impact in academic terms (e.g. significant publications and proposals for research funding) and for societal transformation (e.g. influence on decision makers or the broader community).
 
Inter-disciplinarity
The most significant issues for society will be advanced by bringing together people with expertise in different discipline and by actively seeking to understand these different disciplinary perspectives.

Proposed activities should be inter-disciplinary in the way the problem is framed and this should also be reflected in the disciplinary backgrounds of participants invited. Within the ANU it will be expected that there are participants from more than one School.

External partnerships
Activities must include participants from outside of the ANU. These partners should be selected because they will increase the impact. Although partners may be from other research institutions, it will be judged favourably to also have participants from non-research institutions that bring different knowledge, and relationships with stakeholders and decision makers.
 
Career development
One of the goals of the initiative is to further develop the careers of early- and mid-career researchers. Therefore projects that are led or co-led by EMCR will be favored, and involvement of ECR or MCR as participants will be critical. The board will expect a gender balance in the list of participants.
 
Value for money
Proposed activities that have significant funding from other sources will be judged favorably. This is not only because it allows the ESSP fund to stretch further, but because the commitment from partners indicates cross-institutional support. Funds may be contributed by other Schools or Centres in the ANU, or by external partners. Self-funded participants will be counted as a form of co-funding.
 
Following is a guide to application. We look forward to learning of your ideas.

Applications are due 5 Aug 2018

Updated:  12 December 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Coordinator