Organization: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Research Title: Regional Research Institutes

Funding Level (millions of dollars):

FY94 3.0 FY 95 3.1
FY96 3.2

Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Component:
(a) Subcommittee: Sub-Committee on Global Change Research (SGCR) (100%) NSTC Committee on Fundamental Science
(b) Environmental. Issue: All areas of global change research
(c) Research Activity: System structure & function: Understanding (100%)

Organizational Component:
Directorate for Geosciences
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230

Point of Contact:
Louis B. Brown
Phone: 703-306-1516

Research Goals:
The objective of this program is to promote and encourage development of regional cooperative global change research that is also applicable at the global level and is organized through institutes or networks in the regions.

Research Description:
The United States is actively pursuing development of a series of regional institutes/networks for global change research which calls for three such institutes/networks of hemispheric scale (one each in the Americas; in Europe and Africa; and in the Far East and Southwest Pacific) which would be augmented by a series of sub-regional institutes/networks operating on somewhat smaller geographic scales. Initial planning for an Inter-American Institute concluded in May of 1992 with the signing of an "Agreement to Establish the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI)" in Montevideo, Uruguay. This Agreement has now been signed by the following sixteen countries and been ratified by eight (as underlined): (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay). The Agreement entered into force with the sixth ratification on 11 March 1994. The IAI Implementation Committee is convening a series of seven scientific planning workshops to develop its draft scientific program for approval by the IAI's Conference of the Parties. The workshops are addressing the seven foci of the IAI scientific agenda: tropical ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles; impacts of climate change on biodiversity; El Niño-Southern Oscillation and interannual climate variability; ocean-atmosphere-land interactions; oceanic, coastal, and estuarine processes in temperate zones; temperate terrestrial ecosystems; and high-latitude processes. Japan has taken the lead in initiating planning for an "Asian-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN)". Two APN working groups have been established. The first is being chaired by Indonesia and is developing a draft scientific agenda for the APN. The second working group is chaired by Australia and is outlining options for the organization and structure of the APN. Japan has set up a small staff to provide secretariat support for these APN planning efforts. Japan and the U.S. consult regularly on APN and related issues in conjunction with the U.S.-Japan Common Agenda. The European Commission has established a European Network for Research In Global Change (ENRICH). Development of the ENRICH scientific agenda is guided by the agendas for the three major international global change research programs - the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP); and the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Program (HDP). Pilot projects have been developed within ENRICH in support of the various IGBP core projects and the HDP. The IGBP/WCRP/HDP Global Change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training (START) is developing regional cooperation in areas such as Southeast Asia; Temperate East Asia; South Asia; Northern Africa; and Southern and Eastern Africa. The various START regional efforts are being coordinated closely with those of the IAI, APN, and ENRICH through regular liaison at both scientific and staff levels

Program Interfaces:
The regional institutes/networks are addressing a broad range of global change research issues, some of which are almost exclusively regional, others of which are essentially regional components of the global programs - the WCRP, IGBP, and HDP. Thus the institutes/networks interact closely with the international scientific steering groups and offices which support these global efforts. The U.S. supports active participation by U.S. scientists in the planning and programmatic activities of these institutes/networks, thus assuring effective linkages between the programs of these institutes/networks and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (US/GCRP).

Program Milestones:
Key milestones for the IAI include: completion of the science workshops, August 1994; selection of the site for the IAI directorate and adoption of IAI operating rules, September 1994; and initiation of the IAI/GEF project, January 1995. Key milestones for the APN include: development of a draft scientific agenda and draft institutional arrangements, December 1995. Key milestones for ENRICH include: establishment of liaison offices in Western, Central and Eastern Europe and in Africa, December 1994. Key milestones for START include: establishment of an interim office for Northern Africa in Accra by the end of 1994; completion of a workshop on climate variability and its impact on agriculture in South Asia, November 1994; and establishment of an interim secretariat for Temperate East Asia by the end of 1994. 10. Policy-Payoffs The results of regional cooperative research will contribute significantly to the databases needed for both regional and global modeling. Such improved databases will improve the reliability of such models, thus reducing uncertainty in the results and provided more reliable input for decision-making at the regional and national level. Similarly, the development of regional programs will permit increased intercomparisons of data and of research results for studies undertaken in various areas of the world, thus assisting in development of more complete, accurate and reliable assessment of the results of such research and permitting development of similarly more complete, accurate, and reliable input to the policy process. Finally, regional cooperative research is expected to assist in building scientific capabilities in developing countries, thus providing an improved and expanded scientific input to the policy process in these countries.