The data produced at LTER sites are an extraordinary scientific resource that can inform a wide variety of questions. Among-site comparisons interrogate the generality of effects observed at particular sites. Modeling efforts employ long term observations and experiments to formulate and test rigorous descriptions of theory. Scaling exercises get at the continental or even global impacts of documented effects. LTER synthesis working groups organized through the LTER Network Office (LNO) are intended to support collaboration on these and many other types of questions. In the 2022 competition, the LNO awarded three full synthesis working groups at a funding level of up to $110,000 for up to two years and four shorter-term SPARC synthesis groups.

Look for the next synthesis RFP in Spring 2024.

Example elements of a synthesis proposal

Required Proposal Elements

Key Dates

  • August 24, 2022 at 9 a.m. PDT: Informational Webinar
  • October 12, 2022: Proposals Due by 5 p.m. PDT
  • January 2023: Awards announced
  • February 2023: Projects begin

For further questions please contact for submission details or or for overall questions.

New for this year: SPARC Proposals

We’re excited to introduce Scientific Peers Advancing Research Collaborations (SPARC) working groups this year. These groups receive funding for a one off meeting at NCEAS for up to twelve people. There are two main ways groups can use SPARC funding. Funds can be used to help groups develop novel synthesis ideas into a full project, or can be used to help existing projects wrap up their synthesis efforts. In other words, SPARC proposals are designed to give groups a little extra push so they can begin/finish a synthesis effort.

The Network Office is able to provide up to 3 small awards for travel expenses up to $20,000 each.

What makes a synthesis working group?

The Network Office hosted a webinar to guide researchers through the RFP requirements on August 24. Watch the recording above, or download the slides below.

LTER synthesis working groups do:

  • analyze and synthesize LTER data
  • employ data from multiple sites (The archive of LTER data is freely available and searchable at the Environmental Data Initiative.)
  • involve individuals who are familiar with the sites and data
  • draw on publicly available data
  • make derived data products publicly available
  • strive to follow best practices for reproducible science

LTER synthesis working groups may:

LTER synthesis working groups do not:

  • collect new data
  • fund salaries