PROGRAM TITLE:	Human Dimensions of Global Change (HDGC)
ACTIVITY STREAM:	Assess, Process, Observe, Data, Model
SCIENCE ELEMENT:	Human Interactions


SCIENTIFIC MERIT:  The HDGC program supports research on human 
interactions in global change, including both direct human activity and 
indirect social, structural, and institutional issues affecting global change.  
Special emphasis is given to research that draws on and show promise of 
contributing to general understandings of the ways that human activities 
impact on natural systems; of the ways that humans (both individually and 
collectively) respond to changing environmental conditions; and of the 
complex ways that human systems interact with natural systems in a dynamic 
framework.  Special attention is given to the economics of global change, 
including research on economic forces affecting and affected by global change; 
resource impacts and adaptation; the value of information and decision 
making under uncertainty; economic forces shaping technology and practice 
linked to global change; and economic evaluation of different types of policies 
and policy instruments.  Other types of projects supported include inquiries 
into risk assessment by individuals and groups; the impact of social and 
cultural forces on human activities and the perception of and response to 
global change; geographic variations in the form and character of human-
environmental interaction; and mathematical approaches to data collection 
and management, analyses, and modeling.  A special new emphasis of the 
program in FY 1995 will be advancement of research on policy science, 
especially research focusing on the data, analytical methods, and models 
needed to address develop, implement, manage, and evaluate environmental 
policies.  This program directly addresses the US/GCRP's scientific and policy 
goals by contributing toward improved knowledge of the involvement of 
human systems in integrated Earth system analyses.  Operation of the 
program consists of peer-based merit review of proposals submitted by 
investigators in response to solicitations.  Outcomes of research funded 
through this program are disseminated through scientific publications and 
presentations.  Knowledge advanced through research funded by this 
program helps the US/GCRP meet many of the milestones identified in April 
1992, especially those dealing with the human dimensions and economics of 
global change under the process and modeling themes.  Oversight and 
evaluation of the program is provided through the NSF Social, Behavioral, 
and Economic Sciences Advisory Committee and committees of visitors 
charged by the Division of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research.

STAKEHOLDERS:  HDGC is attempting to cultivate research by social, 
behavioral, and economic scientists that bridges topics of interest to 
communities ranging the natural sciences to the policy-making communities.  
Primary beneficiaries of the program therefore scientists and engineers in the 
U.S. and in other countries examining the dynamics through which human 
systems interact with natural systems in the context of global change.   The 
results of research are of special value to those interested in better 
understanding human responses to changing environmental conditions, 
including those evaluating the potential efficacy and impact of different types 
of policy responses.  Through an enhanced policy science emphasis, the 
program will directly benefit policymakers at other federal agencies and in 
other governmental settings, including international agreements.  The 
program complements and partially supports the work of the international 
Human Dimensions of Global Change Programme (HDP).  It also provides 
support for activities undertaken by the Social Science Research Council and 
the National Academy of Sciences to integrate social and economic scientists 
into global change research.

POLICY RELEVANCE:  Policy payoffs include expanded knowledge of the 
dynamics of human impacts on natural systems and the form, character, and 
magnitude of human responses to environmental change.  As a result, 
understandings of processes, predictive models, and capabilities for 
evaluating policy and response alternatives will be improved.  Policy science 
investigations will contribute over both short and longer terms to advancing 
understanding of the processes through which policies are developed, 
implemented, managed, and evaluated effectively.  Benefits will accrue to 
policymakers at all levels with respect to increasing understandings of the 
ways that humans respond through individual and collective action to 
changing environmental conditions and to possible changes in human 
activity as would occur through various mitigation and adaptation strategies.  
Such an improved knowledge base provides sounder scientific bases for 
understanding fundamental social and behavioral processes, for modeling 
and predicting future activities, and for assessing the likely impact and 
efficacy of various types of policies and response strategies.

Thomas Baerwald, Geography and Regional Science Program Director
Robin Cantor, Decision, Risk and Management Program Director