Request for Proposals

The Climate Center was established ~20+ years ago with an endowment from the Vetlesen Foundation.

It is the foundation's wish to promote climate research at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA) by providing seed money for research projects geared to exploring various climate issues. For background information on the Climate Center, please download the document entitled The Center for Climate Research.

The Climate Center Committee is requesting proposal submissions for climate-related research projects twice a year, in April and October. The deadline for the next RFP is Friday, October 31, 2014. Proposals are submitted at other times of the year, but are the rare exception and require a strong justification of the submission date.

The Climate Center provides money for the following five major purposes (in the order of priority):

1. To fund start-up research projects aimed at leveraging government sponsored research grants.
A list of Past Awards is under the FUNDED PROJECTS section of the Climate Center website.
The majority of funds are used for this purpose.

2. To fund one or two mini-conferences each year.

3. To fund two undergraduate research projects per year in climate-related fields.

4. To fund each semester a visit by a prominent scientist (the Climate Center Lecturer).

5. To partially support Marie Tharp Fellows and Postdoctoral Fellows (end of year competition) in climate-related fields.


General guidelines for proposal submission for 1., 2., and 3.:

  • Electronic submission of proposals is preferred (in either Adobe PDF and/or Microsoft Word formats).
  • Please download and use this template for proposals.
  • Page limit: 3 pages maximum (inclusive of text, budget, figures, tables, etc.) plus up to one page of results from prior support.
  • Font size: ≥ 11-point, use Arial, Helvetica, Georgia or Times New Roman fonts.
  • Margins: 1-inch on all four sides.
  • Itemized Budget ≤ $10,000 exclusive of overhead charges or administrative fees.

Please include the following in your Climate Center proposal:

    • (please list NAME(S), AFFILIATION(S) and TITLE(S))
  • ITEMIZED BUDGET (excluding 3% Administrative Fee).  Please use the budget template for submission.
  • REFERENCES (References are NOT included in the 3-page limit).
    • Please list the previous grant title, the Principal Investigators, when the grant was funded and for how much.  Also include 2-3 sentences about your results, and what they were.  List any publications, non-climate center funding awarded and any other information that directly relates to your prior Climate Center funding.

Please note the following:

  1. Please read the FAQs section before proposal submission.
  2. A single PI cannot be the lead PI on more than one proposal submission per RFP.
  3. An individual PI cannot be a co-PI or lead PI on more than two proposal submissions per RFP.
    • If a PI submits more than one proposal per RFP as lead PI or more than two proposals as co-PI/lead PI, then the PI will be asked to withdraw all but the allowed one or two submissions.
  4. Please list affiliations and titles for all PIs.
  5. Budgets (excluding the 3% Administrative Fee) cannot exceed $10,000, and must include fringe when paying salary.
    • Unallowable expenses are: Salaries for PIs (except for technicians, undergraduate, or graduate students (summer salary)), travel expenses for off-campus meetings, and computers (unless instrumental for the project).
  6. Only proposals where time is of the essence (i.e. you are presented with an unexpected, serendipitous opportunity to perform research) will be considered outside of the April or October RFPs.

The deadline for receipt of proposals is a FIRM DEADLINE and must be received by the Administrator, Janine Miller via email at or in hand (Room 205B Geoscience) by 5 pm of the due date.

The Climate Center Committee usually renders its decision within two to four weeks after the deadline.

General guidelines for proposal submission for 4.), the Climate Center Lecturer

Please submit the name, affiliation, curriculum vitae and contact information of a proposed Climate Center Lecturer. Add a short paragraph supporting your choice.

Future Climate Center Lecturer(s):

  • Ellen Mosley-Thompson (Professor, Department of Geography, Ohio State University and Senior Research Scientist, Byrd Polar Research Center) - (dates have not been confirmed).
  • J. Fidel González-Rouco (

    Universidad Complutense de Madrid) - (dates have not been confirmed)

Past Climate Center Visitors:

  • Gideon Henderson (University of Oxford) was the Spring 2012 Lecturer (26 - 30 March).
  • Jay Quade (University of Arizona) was the Winter 2011 Climate Center Lecturer (24 - 27 January).
  • Harry van Loon (NCAR/CoRA and NWRA) was the Fall 2009 Climate Lecturer.
  • Kevin E. Trenberth (National Center for Atmospheric Research) was the Fall 2008 Climate Lecturer.

General guidelines for proposal submission for 5.), Marie Tharp and Postdoctoral Fellows:

The selection committees for the Marie Tharp Fellows and LDEO Postdoctoral Fellows may submit their request to the Climate Center Committee in the spring semester before April 30. Please include CV and research statement of the applicant. Pending availability of Climate Center funds, up to $10,000 of support each may be granted to support one Marie Tharp and one Postdoctoral fellow.