NCEAS receives funding from two major categories of sources: the National Science Foundation  (NSF) funds activities in the Ecoinformatics  and Ecology Core  programs; additional support, particularly in the Conservation and Resource Management Program , comes from other federal and state agencies, private foundations, and non-governmental organizations. In all cases, the NCEAS model of synthesis and in-depth analysis of existing information is employed by participants in the Center's research projects.
These approaches are designed to be as scientifically credible and unbiased as possible. We seek peer review of proposals for virtually all of the projects at the Center, but are not involved in the process leading to publication of the results (i.e., commenting on manuscripts or publication outlets). In order to promote openness about funding sources we indicate on our website the source(s) of support for each project and the role the funder played in the project.
For those projects funded from our core NSF support we conduct an open solicitation of proposals  on any topics pertinent to ecology and allied disciplines. We have a review process  in which our 19-member Science Advisory Board  reviews proposals. They choose which projects to support based on the significance of the questions being addressed and the qualifications of those involved in the project.
The core award from NSF is a Cooperative Agreement, which gives NSF a greater role in managing the Center than occurs with individual NSF research awards. The Center is periodically reviewed by NSF, with the evaluation based on many criteria, as outlined in the NCEAS Renewal Proposal . NSF makes the final decision about continued funding for NCEAS and has final approval authority on appointments to our Science Advisory Board . The Science Advisory Board chooses its members independently, although NCEAS senior staff reply to questions from the Board about prospective members.
The role of all other funders of NCEAS projects varies considerably, even within a funding organization. These projects are driven by the scientific interests of the client (funder), and NCEAS provides independent evaluation of the issues at hand. We manage the projects with that goal. Specifically, we attempt to engage participants who will provide, through analysis of existing information, valid results pertaining to the questions being addressed. We occasionally host projects (provide space but no funding) over which we have little or no management responsibility, and we indicate this level of interaction on our website as well.
While we subscribe to the scientific process as a means to address important ecological and environmental questions, we recognize that there will always be biases dependent on the background of individuals and institutions. We believe the open process at NCEAS, coupled with peer review of proposals and publications, is the most effective means to counter inherent biases. We hope that by identifying our funders, and indicating their level of involvement, the process will gain additional credibility.