Second Century Stewardship: Science for America’s National Parks

Second Century Stewardship: Science for America’s National Parks 2022 Research Fellowship – Request for Proposals

Application Deadline: October 28, 2022 5:00 pm Eastern.

Background
The partners of the Second Century Stewardship announce the availability of fellowships to support research in Acadia National Park. Founded in 2016, Second Century Stewardship (SCS) is a public-private partnership led by Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, the National Park Service (NPS), and the National Park Foundation, with generous support from the David Evans Shaw Family Foundation. SCS seeks to advance conservation and ecosystem science and support stewardship of park resources. The selected Research Fellows will contribute to strengthening and broadening public understanding of the importance of science for parks and society.

The Research Fellows will conduct research to help realize the vision of national parks as places for sharing knowledge, telling science stories, and using science to manage natural and cultural resources and enrich visitor, local community, and employee experiences. The research will help NPS and other organizations adapt and respond to ongoing change and focus on long-term ecological and cultural integrity and viability in a dynamic and challenging future. For more details on the program and the current fellows, visit the Second Century Stewardship website.

Goals of Second Century Stewardship

  1. Support stewardship of park resources through advancing conservation and ecosystem science
  2. Strengthen public understanding of the importance of science for parks and society
  3. Increase public engagement with science
  4. Pursue solutions to critical conservation challenges

Number of fellowships, award amount, and timing
We expect to award two or three fellowships of up to $20,000 each. Announcement of the awards will be made in spring 2022. Duration is for one to two years.

COVID-19 considerations
There remains much uncertainty about the future of COVID-19 and how research in Acadia could be affected in 2022. We will follow local, state, and federal guidelines for health and safety. We understand that projects may have to adjust to the realities of the pandemic and we will be flexible in regards to project scope, logistics, and timeline. In the application, please assume that you will be able to conduct your project as planned but be prepared to adapt as realities necessitate.

Relevant research topics
Relevant research topics may include, but are not limited to (in alphabetical order, not by priority): archeology, botany, citizen science, climate change, communication, conservation, cultural resources, ecology, economics, education, geology, historic preservation, natural resources, recreation, restoration, social science, sustainability, and projects that cross or combine disciplines.

Who should apply

We encourage early-career scientists, assistant professors, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students to apply. Applicants must be U.S. residents and at least 18 years in age. Employees of NPS and Schoodic Institute are not eligible to apply.

Evaluation of proposals
A committee consisting of representatives from Second Century Stewardship partners will evaluate the proposals based on the criteria listed below. Additional technical and park experts may be called upon to review the scientific aspects of the proposals. Expect that some reviewers will be from outside the discipline addressed by your project.

 Proposals will be evaluated based upon:

  • 25% – Intellectual merit: advancing knowledge within and across disciplines
  • 25% – Relevance to long-term stewardship of Acadia National Park and potential to inform resource management
  • 20% – Potential to contribute to education and science communication
  • 15% – Potential to contribute or lead to long-term research at Acadia National Park
  • 15% – Qualifications of the applicant—evidence of skills and expertise to carry out the proposed work as well as professional potential

 Successful proposals will:

  • Have high potential to increase understanding of and inform responses to change in socio-ecological systems.
  • Address priority information needs specific to Acadia National Park, but in ways that can inform our understanding or management of systems and parks in other locations.
  • Be cost-effective, reasonable, and achievable in terms of scope and goals given the funding, expertise, and experience of the researcher.
  • Provide evidence that the applicant is committed to connecting their research to management applications and communicating it to varied audiences.

Schoodic Institute and NPS will work closely with fellows to develop and implement appropriate communication, education, and public engagement activities, as well as activities to help translate research to management. Activities could include public talks, media interviews and stories, curricula development support, citizen science projects, informational exhibits, student mentoring, and work with educators, resource managers, and partner organizations. Fellows will also receive training in science communication. Proposals should not describe specific education and communication activities planned in association with the proposed research—we will develop these activities together after awarding the fellowships—but proposals must show evidence that the PI has strong interest and skills in connecting research with management and communicating to varied audiences.

Expectations and requirements of fellows

 Budget limit – Each proposal may request up to a total of $20,000 for research, including stipend, supplies, equipment, and/or travel for the full duration of the fellowship (1-2 years).

 Housing – Housing for researchers and field assistants is expected to be available at Schoodic Institute. Housing costs at Schoodic Institute should not be included in the fellowship budget. Proposals should describe the anticipated housing needs (timing and number of people).

 Timeline – The fellowship period may extend one to two years.

 Communication and education – Fellows should plan to spend two weeks (80 hours) on communication and education-related activities. Fellows should also plan in their schedule for at least one 3-day trip to a paid training or workshop coordinated by Schoodic Institute and NPS. Overall, proposals should budget for the time spent on communication and education activities and training, but do not need to budget for travel or other expenses related to those education and communication activities organized by Second Century Stewardship.

 Mentorship – Fellows will be paired with a mentor to support the project. This mentor could be an established scientist, resource manager, or communication specialist, and the mentorship may include connecting research with management and policy and communicating science to varied audiences.

 Permits – Fellows will be required to get NPS research permits and must abide by the conditions and reporting requirements of permits. Please see the Acadia National Park Information for Researchers page for more information on the permitting process and requirements.

 Documenting, managing, and sharing methods and data – Fellows must follow best practices for documenting, managing, and sharing research methods, data, and metadata. We suggest fellows follow the recommendations of DataONE.org for documenting workflow and archiving and sharing data.

 Reporting – Fellows will be required to submit a) brief annual updates due January 30 each year; b) a final report expected within 90 days of completion of fieldwork; and c) notification of all related reports and publications. The updates and final report will note any modification to objectives, will include summaries suitable for publication by Second Century Stewardship partners, and will include progress made on:

  • The research timeline and milestones
  • Data management
  • Educational and outreach activities and measured impacts
  • New, additional funding sources, if any (other funding is not required)
  • Funds spent
  • Other aspects to be defined

Deadline: Proposals must be submitted by 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. time on October 28, 2021.

How to apply: Proposals will be accepted through the Second Century Stewardship Fellowship online submission site, accessed through the Second Century Stewardship apply page. The online application components are included in the following Application Requirements document.

Informational webinar: An overview of Second Century Stewardship, the Research Fellowship, the application process, and park research priorities will be held on Tuesday, September 14 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. We strongly recommend that you attend the 90-minute webinar. Please register here. The webinar will be recorded and available here for those unable to attend.

Notification of Awards: Recipients will be notified by March 1, 2022. We expect to award two to three fellowships in 2022.

More information:
Second Century Stewardship Initiative: www.scsparkscience.org
Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park: www.schoodicinstitute.org
Acadia National Park: www.nps.gov/acad/learn/index.htm
Questions should be sent to: SCSparkscience@SchoodicInstitute.org

PDF version of Second Century Stewardship SCSRFP2022