The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), located in downtown Santa Barbara, is a research center of the University of California, Santa Barbara. NCEAS supports cross-disciplinary research that uses existing data to address major fundamental issues in ecology and allied fields, and encourages the application of science to management and policy. NCEAS is a unique institution with an explicit mission to foster synthesis and analysis, turn information into understanding and, through effective collaboration, alter how science is conducted. NCEAS' success is evident in the broad impact of its research and programs.
The NCEAS mission is to:
- Advance the state of ecological knowledge through the search for general patterns and principles in existing data
- Organize and synthesize ecological information in a manner useful to researchers, resource managers, and policy makers addressing important environmental issues
Influence the way ecological research is conducted by promoting a culture of synthesis, collaboration, and data sharing
NCEAS facilitates integrative research aimed at synthesizing existing data and information, and subsequently making these data and inferences widely available. NCEAS fosters new techniques in mathematical and geospatial modeling, dynamic simulation, and visualization of ecological systems.
- an intellectually stimulating environment
- exceptional scientific support and facilities
- excellent linkages to a wide array of institutions and organizations dealing with similar issues
- access to UCSB's large pool of expertise in the ecological and environmental sciences
Calls for Proposals allow NCEAS to support widely varying fundamental and applied research driven by the needs and interests of the scientific community. Projects funded through these open Calls for Proposals form our Core Ecology program. The special NCEAS programs in Ecoinformatics and Conservation and Resource Management sometimes issue requests for proposals which address specific research needs of partners and sponsors.
NCEAS research initiatives span highly diverse fundamental issues in ecology and allied disciplines and applications of science to management and policy. Proposed activities can be conducted separately or in synchrony to address important ecological issues. Proposals are evaluated by the NCEAS Science Advisory Board. A few examples of the diverse research initiatives at NCEAS are described in Research Highlights.
Four types of research activities are supported by NCEAS:
- Working Groups collaborate at NCEAS through periodic meetings.
- Center Fellows are appointed for periods of three to twelve months.
- Postdoctoral Associates are appointed for up to two years.
- Distributed Graduate Seminars allow students and faculty from nationally or globally distributed universities to collaborate remotely in a research project and convene at NCEAS for a synthesis at the project's end.
Flexibility has been a key component of our success, and we are open to inquiries and suggestions regarding the design of potential or current NCEAS projects.
Education and Outreach
NCEAS' education and outreach vision is integral to all of its activities. NCEAS scientists and staff members participate in dozens of meetings around the world to promote synthesis, analysis, and ecoinformatics, and to assist in the development of other synthesis activities and centers.
NCEAS is committed to increasing the public understanding of science, fostering interest in ecology and technology professions, particularly among underrepresented groups, and contributing to the local community.
NCEAS also offers education and training programs at all levels of sophistication, from elementary school through graduate studies and continuing education of professionals.
Core funding for NCEAS is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the State of California, and University of California, Santa Barbara. NCEAS seeks additional funds from collaborators, agency and corporate partners, and private donors. Many, but not all, of the projects funded by these other sources are part of our Conservation and Resource Management Program or Ecoinformatics Program.
Our Call for Proposals primarily dedicate funds from our NSF grant. Additional calls for proposals in specific topic areas are made sporadically to disperse funding from other sponsors and collaborators.