Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER): Renewal

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

To address ecological questions that cannot be resolved with short-term observations or experiments, NSF established the Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER) in 1980. Two components differentiate LTER research from projects supported by other NSF programs: 1) the research is located at specific sites chosen to represent major ecosystem types or natural biomes, and 2) it emphasizes the study of ecological phenomena over long periods of time based on data collected in five core areas.  Ongoing research at LTER sites is expected to contribute to the development and testing of fundamental ecological theories and significantly advance understanding of the long-term dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems. It often integrates multiple disciplines and, through cross-site interactions, may examine patterns or processes over broad spatial scales. Recognizing that the value of long-term data extends beyond use at any individual site, NSF requires that data collected by all LTER sites be made publicly accessible in compliance with NSF data requirements. 

NSF currently supports 27 LTER sites and a network office. The program is on-going and proposals for new LTER sites are periodically invited when a need is identified to balance the LTER portfolio or when funding opportunities arise to support new LTERs. These opportunities are announced through separate solicitations. This solicitation governs submission of renewal proposals for active LTER site awards, not new sites. 

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  March 14, 2024

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • The LTER program is currently accepting only renewal proposals. Only the organization or institution that holds the current award is eligible to apply for a renewal. Collaborative proposals must be submitted using the "single proposal" method as described in PAPPG. Separately submitted collaborative proposals will be returned without review.

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 1 to 12

Each year, between 1 and 12 sites are scheduled for renewal.

Approximately 1/3 of sites are eligible for renewal in each even-numbered year but due to probationary sites only being renewed for 2 years, occasional site retirement and sites being pushed off-cycle for various reasons, substantial variation may occur. Renewal proposals may be considered in odd-numbered years.

All awards are subject to the availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $15,300,000

Funding amounts are tied to the number of proposals submitted during a given cycle and the maximum allowed budget (currently $1,275,000, annually). The anticipated funding amount ($15,300,000) assumes 12 proposals, all with 6-year budgets at the maximum allowed amount.

Funding Type





Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

March 14, 2024