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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Morpho Initiative

Collaborative data science in service of environmental management

Morpho Butterfly LogoThe 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. This webinar describes the Morpho model and how to develop a proposal.

Our 2022 Call for Working Group Proposals is now closed. Project awards will be announced in Summer 2022. Please check back here in early 2023 for information about our next call for proposals.


The Need

  • 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

The Opportunity

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

Morpho’s annual call for proposals yields 2-3 working groups funded at approximately $75,000 - $150,000 to convene their teams and conduct their work across 2-years. NCEAS provides training expertise, logistical and cyberinfrastructure support, state-of-the-art facilities, and years of experience running innovative transdisciplinary working groupsThe NCEAS synthesis working group approach produces applied science outcomes that can inform transformative changes to policy and practice, and can help organizations build science capacity while producing innovative, challenge-specific scientific results

NCEAS Classroom