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Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES). SEES-Related Programs. John Clamp, NC Central Univ. Programs created under SEES: Ocean Acidification (OA) Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP)

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Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES)

SEES-Related Programs

John Clamp, NC Central Univ.

Programs created under SEES:

Ocean Acidification (OA)

Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP)

Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Fellows (SEES Fellows)

Decadal & Regional Climate Prediction Using Earth System Models (EaSM)

Sustainability Research Networks (SRN)

Water, Sustainability and Climate (WSC)

Dimensions of Biodiversity

Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP)

Longstanding NSF Programs with new SEES emphasis or track:

Research Coordination Networks (RCN)

Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH)

Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)

Jane E. Carlson

W. Chris Funk

In a sustainable world, human needs would be met without chronic harm to the environment and without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The SEES portfolio of activities highlights the National Science Foundation’s unique role in helping society address the grand challenges of achieving sustainability, through support for interdisciplinary research and education. SEES is a major NSF investment with numerous programs under its umbrella.

  • SEES Topical themes
  • SEES activities represent a major, interdisciplinary investment by the NSF that targets the following topical themes:
    • Natural Systems:Research that expands our understanding of the natural and living environment, including coupled human and biophysical effects on climate systems, hydrological systems, geological systems, and ecosystems.
    • Human Systems: Research that focuses, across the full spectrum from individuals to societies, on social, behavioral, and/or economic aspects of environmental sustainability.  Such research includes examining the impact of human activity on natural systems or the effect of the changing environment on human behavior, constructed spaces, and socio-economic systems.
    • Built Systems: Research that focuses on understanding the technological and constructed systems that humans create, such as urban infrastructure, cyber-infrastructure, electrical grids, and transportation networks, in the context of environmental sustainability.  Such research includes examining interactions of built, natural, and human systems.
    • Energy & Materials: Research that examines societal use of natural resources (e.g., coal, solar energy, and precious metals) and production and use of rare and/or potentially harmful materials. Such research seeks to understand how scientific discovery and its development results in societal adoption and sustainability.
    • Adaptation & Resilience: Research that advances our understanding of potential strategies to bring human society into a sustainable alignment with natural processes.

R. Quinn Thomas, Cornell University

SEES MissionTo advance science, engineering, and education to inform the societal actions needed for environmental and economic sustainability and sustainable human well-being.


  • Functional Characteristics of the SEES Portfolio
  • Systems-Thinking
  • Partnerships & Networks
  • Education & Learning
  • Workforce Development
  • Information Systems
  • Target Audiences
  • Early-Career Researchers
  • Interdisciplinary Research Teams
  • Educators and Education/ Learning Researchers
  • Institutional Networks
  • International Collaborations
  • Goals That Span Scientific Domains
  • Build the knowledge base. Support interdisciplinary research and education that can facilitate the move towards global sustainability.
  • Grow the workforce of the future. Develop a workforce trained in the interdisciplinary scholarship needed to understand and address the complex issues of sustainability.
  • Forge critical partnerships.Build linkages among existing projects and partners and add new participants in the sustainability research enterprise.


Jeff Miller

Yinlun Huang, Cache Corporation

NSF Mo’orea Coral Reef LTER Site

NSF Mo’orea Coral Reef LTER Site


Justin Brashares

The Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Organismic Biology and Community Ecology of Corals, Calcified Algae and Coral Reefs: Robert Carpenter, California State University – Northridge (Ocean Acidification Award)

The project focuses on the corals, calcified algae, and coral reefs of Mo’orea, French Polynesia, and establishes baseline community-wide calcification data for the detection of ocean acidification effects on a decadal scale. It builds on the research context and climate change focus of the NSF Mo’orea Coral Reef Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, one of 26 such NSF LTER sites around the world.

Interactive Dynamics of Wildlife Populations, Human Health and Household Wealth in Rural Africa: Justin Brashares, University of California-Berkeley (CNH Award)

Scientists integrate ecology, economics, sociology and public health to understand and predict how human health and household wealth affect human reliance on biodiversity. The research will take place at nine rural sites in Ghana, Kenya and Madagascar.

The Marcellus Shale Research NetworkSusan Brantley, Pennsylvania State University (RCN-SEES Award)

This research coordination network will generate knowledge about natural gas extraction from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania, the largest site of new shale gas in the United States, by organizing water chemistry and flow data collected from the shale. The network will enable sustainable development of the Marcellus shale through the creation of a database of information from geochemical and hydrological studies.

Penn State


For general inquiries about SEES related activities:

For program or discipline-specific questions, please see the full list of contacts at: