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.