Urban Integrated Field Labs (IFL)

Funding Agency:
Department of Energy

The DOE SC Program in Biological and Environmental Research (BER), Earth and Environmental System Sciences Division (EESSD) hereby announces its interest in applications from the scientific community for Urban Integrated Field Laboratories (Urban IFLs) that will improve the science underpinning our understanding of climate and environmental predictability across complex and variable urban regions. EESSD supports fundamental systems level research aimed at identifying the foundational principles of dynamic physical, biogeochemical, and human processes and interactions and advancing fundamental understanding of the predictability of the climate and broader Earth system. EESSD develops the science, technology, and knowledge base that is necessary to inform actions to enable the resilience of natural-human systems that are exposed to climate trends, variabilities, and extremes.

For the purposes of this FOA, urban regions are densely populated areas, encompassing interdependent environmental, ecological, infrastructure, and human components. Urban regions of interest for this FOA are in climate-sensitive locations, and are highly heterogeneous, i.e. having uneven distribution of physical landforms and vegetation, environmental processes, the built environment and infrastructure, population density, and socioeconomic clustering in the urban landscape, particularly when that heterogeneity relates to impacts on disadvantaged communities. The Urban IFLs will necessarily involve diverse scientific disciplines to develop comprehensive projects including field observations, data assimilation, modeling, and modeldata fusion, to inform equitable solutions based on state-of-the-art uncertainty quantification and data analytics. Applications must be multi-institutional and focus on the development of a single IFL. While multiple IFLs may be selected in response to this FOA, considered together, each of the selected IFLs will represent different aspects of understanding urban systems, potentially including diverse demographic characteristics; differing climate-induced pressures on people and infrastructures; and unique geographic settings, e.g., coastal; arid lands; mountains; plains; or Great Lakes.

The objective of the Urban IFL program is to advance the science underpinning our understanding of the predictability of urban systems and their two-way interactions with the climate system, in order to provide the knowledge and information necessary to inform equitable climate and energy solutions that can strengthen community scale resilience across urban landscapes. The Urban IFLs will pursue the fundamental scientific understanding necessary to inform the design, development, financing, and deployment pathways of technical solutions that promote social equity and enhance urban resilience in response to the climate crisis.

Applicant institutions are limited to no more than one letter of intent, pre-application, or application as lead institution. Interested applicants from within Duke should contact dukeiln@duke.edu as early as possible.


  • Required Pre-application: April 19, 2022
  • Applications: June 16, 2022

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

An Urban IFL must have significant research efforts addressing multiple science themes and is expected to be structured around the three specific Research Focus Areas (RFA) defined below. All three RFAs must be explicitly addressed in an Urban IFL, though it not expected that the proportion of effort in each RFA be equal. Rather, an Urban IFL application may include different levels of emphasis for each RFA, aligned with the needs of the urban region proposed for study and the expertise of the Urban IFL team, as long as all three RFAs are present in the science plan and the research efforts in the RFAs are integrated in a way such that knowledge from one focus area directly informs the research in the other areas.

  • Research Focus Area 1: Spatial variabilities across the greater urban regions and how the variabilities exert influences on local micro-climates and micro-environments affecting urban communities
  • Research Focus Area 2: Observing and modeling biogeochemical cycling and atmospheric composition in urban systems.
  • Research Focus Area 3: Towards quantifying the benefits of equitable solutions that are applied to heterogeneous urban regions in addressing the climate crisis.

Amount Description

The award size will depend on the number of meritorious applications and the availability of appropriated funds. A multi-institutional team, whether applied for as a prime applicant with subawards or as collaborative applications, is limited to a request of no more than $5,000,000 per year.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

April 19, 2022