Opportunities for Promoting Understanding Through Synthesis (OPUS)

National Science Foundation (NSF)


Grant amount: US $125,000 - US $200,000

Next deadline: Aug 1, 2019

Later deadlines: Aug 1, 2020, Aug 1, 2021

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit For-Profit Business College / University Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States

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Overview:

NOTE: Waiting for New Publication.

All four clusters within the Division of Environmental Biology (Population and Community Ecology, Ecosystem Science, Evolutionary Processes, and Systematics and Biodiversity Science) encourage the submission of proposals aimed at synthesizing a body of related research projects conducted by a single individual or a group of investigators over an extended period. OPUS proposals will often be appropriately submitted in mid-to-late career, but will also be appropriate early enough in a career to produce unique, integrated insight useful both to the scientific community and to the development of the investigator's future work. In cases where multiple scientists have worked collaboratively, an OPUS award will provide support for collaboration on a synthesis.

Program Description

Systematics and Biodiversity Science Synthesis is an essential component of scientific inquiry. Synthetic works—those that integrate information from numbers of studies—have historically been influential in describing the state of a field and in spawning new knowledge, understanding, and research directions. To encourage synthetic studies, the Population and Community Ecology, Ecosystem Science, Evolutionary Processes, and Systematics and Biodiversity Science Clusters in the Division of Environmental Biology have established OPUS (Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis).

OPUS supports investigators to synthesize the body of their research. OPUS awards target investigators who have, over time, produced important papers from a series of related research projects, but have not yet integrated that series in a single synthesis. OPUS will fund single or multiple investigators to synthesize the body of work they themselves have generated. Funds requesting support for the production of new data or for synthesizing other investigators' research are not appropriate.

Support will be provided for syntheses by investigators at mid-to-late career stages, as well as by those early enough in a career to produce unique, integrated insight useful both to the scientific community and to the development of the investigator’s future work. In some areas, multiple investigators may have collaborated throughout the history of a series of research projects. In these cases, support would enable two or more scientists to work collaboratively on a synthesis. We expect OPUS awards to generate critical syntheses that will produce new, emergent insights that are more than the sum of their individual parts (e.g., individual research projects or a suite of publications). Efforts to summarize previous results will not be supported.

OPUS projects generally result in one or more products reflecting the synthetic activities. Products have been diverse, including papers, monographs, software, websites, books, films, and artistic interpretations. Individuals contemplating submission of an OPUS proposal are encouraged to look at the abstracts of previously funded research to see what kinds of synthetic products have been supported. 

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