PROGRAM TITLE: Methods for Integrated Assessments (MIA) ACTIVITY STREAM: Assessment SCIENCE ELEMENT:
Climate and Hydrological Systems, Ecosystem Dynamics, Human Interactions NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATIONPROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Integrated assessments constitute new approaches for dealing with decision and policy problems for which studies of impacts and consequences require broader ranges of information than do standard research activities. Key features of integrated assessment problems are explicit and important influences of multiple physical and human systems, highly interdependent consequences, and fundamental needs for interdisciplinary perspectives on the analytical components of the modeled systems. Integrated assessments represent a new approach for analyzing decision and policy problems that require a broader range of information than do standard research activities. Key features of the integrated assessment problem are explicit and important influences of multiple physical and human systems, highly interdependent consequences, and a fundamental need for interdisciplinary perspectives on the analytical components of the modeled systems. The integrated assessment approach is particularly relevant to decision and policy analysis in global environmental change, large-scale technological change, and international socio-political evolution. In collaboration with other US/GCRP agencies, NSF is instituting a new focused global change research program to develop and evaluate methods for integrated assessments (MIA). Key analytical and policy priorities that will be addressed are new or enhanced collaborations that link advanced methods in statistical analysis, forecasting, modeling, computation, and data management to integrated assessment frameworks and new or advanced forms of modeling and characterization of significant problems in the development of comprehensive integrated assessments, such as the valuation of environmental goods, the modeling of ecosystem functions, or the development of exploratory and confirmatory techniques for statistical inference and prediction in large, complex models. STAKEHOLDERS: MIA is seeking to build and strengthen links between a variety of different communities. Through its emphasis on integration of modeling of different subsystems of the Earth system, it will lead biological, physical, and social scientists to work together more closely. Furthermore, MIA will involve mathematicians and others with expertise in different analytic and evaluation methods, thereby strengthening connections between methodologists and substantive scientists. MIA also will promote interactions between researchers and those individuals in policy- making and decision- making positions within the federal government and other sectors. POLICY RELEVANCE: Because integrated assessments have been identified as a primary means through which policymakers can identify the extent and magnitude of problems and evaluate alternative responses, the impact of MIA-sponsored research should be immediate and direct. Capabilities for dealing with complex, interrelated systems and for evaluating the likely consequences of various mitigation and adaptation strategies will be strengthened. In addition, advancement of dialogue among scientists and decisionmakers will enable fundamental substantive and methodological research to address directly significant issues of concern to decisionmakers.