NSF/NSFC: US and China Joint Research on Sustainable Regional Systems


National Science Foundation Engineering Directorate, National Natural Science Foundation of China

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NSF/NSFC: US and China Joint Research on Sustainable Regional Systems - Dear Colleague Letter

The goal of the "Sustainable Regional Systems (SRS: U.S.-China)" initiative is to fund convergent research and education that will advance sustainable regional systems science, engineering, and education to facilitate the transformation of current regional systems to enhance sustainability. Convergent Research is defined as research that is a) driven by a specific and compelling problem and b) requires deep integration across disciplines.

Advancing SRS science, engineering, and education requires intentional integration across three perspectives from regional to global scale:

  • The study of single urban systems/metropolitan regions and their connected rural systems where multiple sustainability outcomes are addressed from a multi-scale systems perspective that connects homes, businesses, and communities at regional and global scales. 
  • The study of multiple urban systems and their connected rural systems, exploring inter-relationships among networks of urban and rural systems, and identifying urban-rural typologies for the study of cohort groups and comparison groups.
  • The study of supra-aggregations of connected urban-rural systems, e.g., of all urban-rural systems in an electrical grid region, a nation, a world region, or the world, to assess the collective impact of urban-rural transformation on people and the planet.

While all three of these perspectives include both urban and rural systems, it is important to note that a research project does not have to have an equal emphasis on the urban and rural systems of study, nor does it necessarily have to span all three perspectives. However, a successful research proposal will have a consideration of the urban and rural systems and perspectives that are relevant to the research questions.