Announcement of Opportunity

First Announcement of Opportunity for RAPID Research Proposals:

Call for Outline Bids

Closing Date: 28th March 2002

**** This call is now closed ****

The Natural Environment Research Council has established a thematic programme on Rapid Climate Change (RAPID), with funding of £20M over 6 years. The purpose of the RAPID programme is to improve our ability to quantify the probability and magnitude of future rapid change in climate. The programme aims to investigate and understand the causes of rapid climate change, with a main (but not exclusive) focus on the role of the Atlantic Ocean’s thermohaline circulation (THC). This first Announcement of Opportunity (AO) targets all areas of the programme, with the exception of the system for monitoring the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, for which a separate AO is being issued. Outline bids are invited to address the specific objectives of the programme, which are:

  • To support long-term direct observations of water, heat, salt, and ice transports at critical locations in the northern North Atlantic, to quantify the atmospheric and other (e.g. river run-off, ice sheet discharge) forcing of these transports, and to perform process studies of ocean mixing at northern high latitudes.
  • To construct well-calibrated and time-resolved palaeo data records of past climate change, including error estimates, with a particular emphasis on the quantification of the timing and magnitude of rapid change at annual to centennial time-scales.
  • To develop and use high-resolution physical models to synthesise observational data.
  • To apply a hierarchy of modelling approaches to understand the processes that connect changes in ocean convection and its atmospheric forcing to the large-scale transports relevant to the modulation of climate.
  • To understand, using model experimentation and data (palaeo and present day), the atmosphere’s response to large changes in Atlantic northward heat transport, in particular changes in storm tracks, storm frequency, storm strengths, and energy and moisture transports.
  • To use both instrumental and palaeo data for the quantitative testing of models’ abilities to reproduce climate variability and rapid changes on annual to centennial time-scales. To explore the extent to which these data can provide direct information about the THC and other possible rapid changes in the climate system and their impact.
  • To quantify the probability and magnitude of potential future rapid climate change, and the uncertainties in these estimates.

The funding made available for this first AO by the Steering Committee is ~£6-7M. The Steering Committee welcomes bids that involve researchers from a variety of disciplines, with the aim of developing links between the observational, palaeo and modelling elements of the programme. The Steering Committee is also aiming to develop scientific links with the Norwegian NOClim project , and so welcomes bids that plan to develop such links. To enable this process a limited amount of travel funding is available for a small number of UK scientists to attend the next NOClim meeting in May 2002 (see UK- Norway travel grants for details of the meeting and how to bid for travel funding).
A ‘Town Meeting’ has been scheduled for 1st February 2002 in London. The meeting will enable the attendees to better understand the aims of the programme, and provide an initial forum for the development of an integrated community.
Outline bids are invited from eligible UK researchers (refer to the NERC Research Grants Handbook). Proposals for awards of up to 5 years’ duration will be considered, but a specific justification is required for periods in excess of 3 years. An applicant is limited to one application as a Principal Investigator, and one additional application as a Co-Investigator per funding round. However, applicants are not limited to the number of applications on which they appear as a collaborator. Successful Outline Bids will be invited for submission as a full research proposal. For queries relating to scientific aspects of the AO contact the Science Co-ordinator (Dr. Meric Srokosz, tel: 023-8059-6414, e-mail:, and for other aspects the Programme Co-ordinator (Dr. Catrin Yeomans, tel: 01793-442504, e-mail: