In fall 2017, the SRI Foundation (SRIF) expects to announce a request for proposals (RFP) for two archaeological synthesis projects, to begin in early 2018. Proposal requirements and the evaluation criteria will be widely circulated and posted. A distinguished review committee, now being formed, will select proposals for funding. The context for this announcement is summarized below.
Over the past 50 years, archaeologists have diligently discovered, documented, analyzed, and curated our collective past. However, this rich store of data has untapped potential beyond documenting long-term trajectories of numerous human societies. Archaeological data can be key to expanding scientific understandings of human social dynamics, redressing injustices of the past, empowering local and descendant communities, and aiding in the formulation of solutions to contemporary problems.
Collaborative synthetic research, as conducted by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), has been a powerful driver for advancing interdisciplinary scientific research (1 & 2). While synthetic research is not new to archaeology, we believe that key features of the NCEAS model can be productively employed in archaeology. We also believe that the collaborative research needed to address the pressing social issues of today transcends archaeology and reaches into the domains of other social, natural, and computational sciences.
Proposed Synthesis Projects
Responses to the RFP will articulate a synthesis problem whose solution would have substantial intellectual impacts and significant implications for public policy. The proposals will identify analysis-ready data sources to be synthesized, along with expected professional and public outcomes. Proposals will identify up to approximately 8 individuals to comprise a working group able to produce synthetic results that transcend their individual talents, skills, and expertise. Working groups must have considerable intellectual diversity, including individuals at different institutions, career stages, and job settings, and have members from fields other than archaeology.
Over 2 years, the working group will be funded to meet 3 times for intensive research sessions of approximately 5 days. In between, team members will continue to collaborate remotely. The working group will integrate multiple perspectives and sources of data to generate explanatory insights that are impossible to achieve through the study of a single case or from a single perspective. All source and synthesized data products will be made available in an open access, digital repository at the end of the project.
The SRIF grants for the two projects will fund the travel and meeting costs of working group sessions at a partner facility, and will cover the costs of using these facilities. No new field or laboratory work will be funded.
Please check this website for updates. SRIF will not accept proposals or respond to synthesis grant inquiries until the RFP is posted. Individuals may, however, request an email notification that the RFP is available by contacting Mr. Terry H. Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Hackett EJ, Parker JN, Conz D, Rhoten D, Parker A (2008) Ecology Transformed: The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the Changing Patterns of Ecological Research. Scientific Collaboration on the Internet, eds Olson GM, Zimmerman A, Bos N. (MIT, Cambridge), pp 277–296.
2 Carpenter EV, Armbrust P, Arzberger FS, Chapin I, Elser J, Hackett E, Ives A, Kareiva P, Leibold M, Lundberg P, Mangel M, Merchant N, Murdoch WW, Palmer MA, Peters D, Pickett STA, Smith KK, Wall DH, Zimmerman AS (2009) Accelerate Synthesis in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Bioscience 59(8):699–701.