Collaborative data science in service of environmental management
The Morpho Initiative is an applied environmental science initiative launched by NCEAS. Morpho convenes working groups consisting of government agency, NGO, tribal, and academic researchers to develop and accelerate science in the service of environmental management. Projects are enhanced by hands-on training in data science and management skills that can help tackle the project's near- and long-term challenges. Through this approach, Morpho aims to advance necessary skills while developing the science results that can inform solutions to urgent issues facing our changing planet - from wildfires to biodiversity loss and climate change.
- Solving today’s data-intensive environmental challenges requires transdisciplinary collaboration, the application of advanced tools, and diverse ways of knowing
- Rarely are agency, NGO, tribal and academic researchers from diverse disciplines funded to convene, co-develop and co-execute data-driven environmental science, despite the clear need for this
- Resource managers and researchers hold a vast amount of key environmental data sets, innovative ideas, and opportunities for impactful science to action. Integrating data science learning with hands-on application of skills in the development of synthesis products can make data more usable and research outputs more impactful
Morpho accelerates science and builds capacity in the service of management solutions by:
- Engaging a range of relevant researcher and practitioner expertise in synthesis groups
- Providing tailored and targeted trainings in reproducible open data science, team science, data management and storage, facilitation, and communication
- Leveraging matching funds to extend project impact
- Funding 2-3 working groups annually with ~$75,000-125,000
The Morpho Initiative’s Annual Request for Proposals asks potential team leaders to propose a research opportunity to influence management action. Each project will bring together a working group of 12-15 experts for 3-4 in-person collaborative sessions over 24 months. The group will conceive new approaches to its respective problem, synthesize data relevant to the work, and develop science in service of relevant solutions. Between sessions, members will collaborate remotely, participate in Morpho-provided trainings, explore emerging research, identify opportunities to enhance management, and publish results. We will advise on best practices for open data science and offer advice for technical matters related to the group’s synthesis project. Over time, ideas and relationships fostered within Morpho teams may influence management policy or practice at local, state, national or international levels. Awards will be announced in June 2024 and groups will start in Fall 2024.
Ready to apply? Read our full 2024 Call for Proposals and complete the following:
Whether this is your first Morpho proposal or you are resubmitting an idea, you may have questions about the process. We are here to answer them! Join us at this informational webinar, where we will review what NCEAS does, how working groups work, and tips for strong applications.
Register for the 2024 Morpho Informational Webinar here.
You can find a recording of the 2023 webinar on our YouTube channel, here.
Want to submit a proposal but not sure if the idea is the right fit? Or maybe you need help strengthening a previous proposal? For these and any other lingering questions, sign up for a one-on-one office hours appointment with NCEAS staff. Please include topics of potential discussion in the notes box so we can best prepare for our meetings
Proposal Planning Guide
A working group is so much more than a collection of individuals working on a problem. We compiled best practices for team science, from germinating an idea to facilitating meetings. This guidance document is a great place to start!
Working Group Resources
If you are considering applying, or have already done so, this page offers a wide range of resources and relevant information to help you navigate the full working group process.
Read more about the first two funded Morpho Initiative working groups, covering prescribed burn practices in the West and the decline of grassland bird species.
Read more about the second cohort of projects funded through the Morpho Initiative - three projects addressing kelp, pollinators, and fire.