Sustaining Living Systems in a Time of Climate Variability and Change (ROSES 2018)

Funding Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

In 2015, the United Nations adopted a resolution promulgating 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of an agenda to end poverty and hunger, promote prosperity, and protect the planet from degradation. These goals are to be implemented through a series of global targets associated with each goal. Target implementation is to take place between now and 2030. Two SDGs focus on the conservation and sustainability of Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Goal 14 (given the short title of "Life Below Water") seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Goal 15 (short title "Life On Land") seeks to protect, restore, and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss. While the SDGs and targets apply globally, individual countries are to report on them and each country decides how best to address them through its national planning and strategies. Data for some targets are missing or incomplete so the UN resolution calls for strengthening data collection along with the capacity to use existing data. Furthermore, implementation of the SDGs and their targets will take place within the context of ongoing climate variability and change. A changing climate complicates implementation and raises a concomitant need for improved understanding of the impacts of climate variability and change on species and ecosystems, especially to support countries’ and regional long-term planning.

Earth science research, Earth observations, climate models, and derived information have already played key roles in supporting sustainable development. These roles include: increasing understanding of physical and biological Earth system phenomena, monitoring development targets, tracking progress in meeting targets, and helping nations and other stakeholders make informed decisions and on-going adjustments that will contribute toward achieving sustainable development and the SDGs. Combined with demographic and statistical data, these Earth science information sources enable nations to: gain insights through investigations, analyze and model conditions, create maps and other visualizations, evaluate impacts across sectors and regions, monitor change over time in a consistent and standardized manner, assess alternatives to support planning and policy decisions, and formulate new research priorities.

Combining observations, such as climate and biological measurements, in climate and ecological models allows us to incorporate existing and new knowledge of connections between physical and biological components of the Earth system and detect how these connections drive ecosystem responses to change. Thus, doing so enables better understanding of causality. With such improved understanding, managers, policy analysts, businesses, government officials, and the general public can craft practical strategies for managing to the SDGs while also considering climate risks and the impacts of climate variability and change.

This solicitation seeks proposals supporting the implementation of selected targets under SDGs 14 and 15. Moreover, it calls for proposals to address these SDG targets within the context of climate variability and change. Proposals may support the implementation of the selected targets in one of two ways.

Research proposals must propose research to advance the knowledge necessary to address a specific target(s) and/or report on an associated indicator or indicators listed below within the context of ongoing climate variability and change, e.g., by identifying a knowledge gap with regard to how climate variability and change may impact how a country or countries would address a certain target/indicator and proposing research to provide information to fill this gap. 

Applications proposals must support the use and integration of Earth observations or models in a country’s/countries’ activities and processes to meet an SDG target(s) and/or report on an associated indicator or indicators, also within the context of ongoing climate variability and change. For example, applications proposals might propose development of a particular decision support tool, procedure, or process to enable managers to meet a target(s) and/or report on an indicator(s).


  • Notice of Intent: Mar. 28, 2018
  • Proposal: May 16, 2018

Agency Website

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
International Opportunities

External Deadline

May 16, 2018