Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 1/4/2023

Cultural Transformation in the Geoscience Community (CTGC)

Our future sustainability and prosperity will require a transdisciplinary geoscience workforce that reflects the nation’s diversity and has the capacity to develop innovative solutions necessary to meet future environmental and societal challenges. The Geosciences Directorate (GEO) proposes a novel approach to simultaneously address two major challenges that require immediate action, (1) foster a just, equitable and inclusive geoscience research community that reflects the diversity of the United States and (2) develop a workforce with the skills required to understand how the Earth system can continue to sustain society. Cultural Transformation in the Geoscience Community (CTGC) responds to the desire of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds to make a difference in their world and supports the creative power of truly diverse groups to make major strides in Earth System Science in service of humanity. CTGC aims at engaging institutions that support Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), persons with disabilities, LGBTQIA+, and other individuals from marginalized/ minoritized groups, to help promote career advancement, and advance Earth system science.  CTGC builds on tenets of NSF programs like GOLD (Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity), ADVANCE and NSF INCLUDES that lead to environments that foster inclusion and belonging. The program will support projects that are based on geoscience education scholarship, mentorship, allyship, equity, anti-racist and anti-harassment practices, and increasing accessibility.  CTGC projects will establish sustainable and long-term STEM learning and research ecosystems that connect individuals’ academic training with informal and work-based training opportunities through strong collaborative relationships and career-pathway mapping among schools, informal learning environments, local communities, private sector partners, and university and research partners. The program will support planning grants and implementation projects. Planning grants are intended to build capacity in the geoscience community to undertake the activities necessary to establish place-based and community-driven Earth system research projects. Implementation projects will build cohorts of individuals at specific career stages that will design inclusive research programs, conduct community engagement to identify research needs, or participate in community-driven research projects. CTGC projects will promote innovative approaches to Earth system sciences and will foster authentic and equitable collaborations between scientists and community members with the goal of addressing issues that contribute to the sustainability of the community.   

An organization may serve as sole submitting organization or as lead organization on only one submission per competition, regardless of track, but may serve as the non-lead organization of a collaborative project more than once per competition.


  • Duke Internal: Interested applicants from within Duke should contact fundopps@duke.edu as early as possible.

  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s):  Feb. 1, 2023 (required only for Implementation Grants)

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s):  April 3, 2023

Areas of Interest

The solicitation offers two funding tracks, for (1) Planning Grants and for (2) Implementation Projects.

1. Planning Grants are intended to build capacity in the geoscience community to undertake the activities necessary to establish future CTGC implementation projects or similar activities. NSF recognizes that institutions may identify an important, complex challenge to address, but may not have the full complement of skills and expertise needed to successfully address the challenge. Planning Grants can be used to support team formation activities (e.g., filling gaps in expertise); develop and nurture relationships with potential partners; and access specialized frameworks or resources needed to better develop an Implementation Project. Planning Grants are suitable for institutions that would like to prepare to host an Implementation Project and ensure that their institution is fully inclusive and welcoming to all project participants, by training staff, conducting climate surveys, or to establish collaborations and partnerships. Planning Grants should include plans for the expansion, sustainability, and scale of their activities. Proposers funded through this solicitation may use the Planning Grant funding to organize catalytic activities (including, but not limited to, workshops and conferences) that can help collaborating organizations to crystallize their broadening participation vision and to develop an Implementation Project proposal. Planning Grants should include a small pilot program and adequate evaluation. Planning Grants should be for 24 to 30 months. Having a Planning Grant awarded is not a guarantee of subsequent funding for an Implementation Project. A Planning Grant is not a prerequisite for future CTGC competitions.

Please note that the Planning Grant proposals described in this solicitation are a solicitation-specific project category and are separate and distinct from the type of proposal described in Chapter II.F.1 of the PAPPG. When preparing a Planning proposal in response to this solicitation, the “Research” type of proposal should be selected in the proposal preparation module in Research.gov or Grants.gov.

2. Implementation Projects.

Institutions that have shown to be supportive of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), persons with disabilities, LGBTQIA+, and other individuals from marginalized/minoritized groups to help promote career advancement and/or institutions that have shown expertise in training the next generation of geoscientists in community-based research, participatory research, or place-based research are welcome to submit an Implementation Project proposal. In particular, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) are encouraged to submit Implementation Projects. Proposers should demonstrate how they have established inclusive and safe research environments and should have established authentic mutually beneficial partnerships with local communities or other collaborators. Proposed projects should specify the cohorts that will be formed and entrained, the planned professional development opportunities, appropriate to their career stages, as well as the ways communities are engaged in authentic and equitable partnerships to address environmental challenges. Implementation Project proposals can be for up to 60 months.

Competitive Planning Grants and Implementation Project proposals will be based on inclusive research and training principles and prioritize strategic partnerships. Successful projects will be rooted in mentorship, allyship, equity, anti-racist and anti-harassment practices, and increasing accessibility. Project leaders need to show their commitment to foster research and learning environments with a strong sense of belonging and safety for all. Proposals seeking funds to support an existing activity must clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of current activities and identify the gaps that would be addressed if additional resources were made available.

Eligibility Requirements

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.
  • Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 

An organization may serve as sole submitting organization or as lead organization on only one submission per competition, regardless of track, but may serve as the non-lead organization of a collaborative project more than once per competition. Additional eligibility requirements are described later in the solicitation.

Potential PIs are advised to contact their institutional office of research regarding processes used to select proposals for submission.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or co-PI:

A Principal Investigator may serve in the role of PI or Co-PI on only one proposal per competition if they are at the sole-submitting organization or the lead organization of a collaborative project but may serve as the Co-PI for a non-lead organization of a collaborative project more than once per competition.

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 11

NSF expects to make up to 11 awards through this competition, with up to 5 awards made for implementation grants and up to 6 awards being made for planning grants.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $10,000,000

Implementation grants have a limit of $1.5M per year for up to 5 years, planning grants have a limit of $120,000 per year for up to 2.5 years. Implementation grants are eligible for renewal for an additional 5 years pending availability of funds and favorable review.

Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.