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CSSN Request for Proposals for Social Science Research into the Structural, Political, and Institutional Dynamics of Climate Change Politics

December 26, 2021

CSSN Request for Proposals for Social Science Research into the Structural, Political, and Institutional Dynamics of Climate Change Politics

The Climate Social Science Network, headquartered at Brown University, announces its interest in fostering research and other activities to enhance our understanding of the cultural, institutional, and political dimensions of climate change politics. This research is part of a two-year project with the aim of closing the gap between knowledge and action on climate change. Proposals for 2022-23 can be for one year only; the period of the work will be from June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023. 

Proposals for the following types of projects are solicited:

  • Research to determine the historical activities of institutions that oppose action on climate change. This includes historical and archival research, as well as time series analyses of organizational data. Research on organizational actors outside of the oil and gas sector is desired. This includes the role of the agricultural and forestry industries (including livestock, ethanol, farming), transportation (rail, automobile and air transport), coal and iron & steel production, and real estate sectors.
  • Empirical analysis of the role of public relations firms in creating and maintaining organized political opposition to climate change action.  Research on the impact of PR campaigns on the political process is desired.
  • Analysis of the roles and relationships between organizational actors in climate change politics, including management, finance, and other consultancies, think tanks, law firms, advocacy organizations, foundations, corporations, public relations and lobbying firms, and trade associations.
  • Examination of the role of finance actors such as banks, investment firms or insurance companies in fostering efforts to obstruct climate action, including greenwashing, establishing misleading ESG goals and climate action plans and failure to hold institutions accountable for their actions.
  • Evaluation of the dynamics of media coverage of climate change, including an analysis of the role of public relations firms, media outlets, and other promotional activities in fostering different perspectives on climate change.
  • Exploration of the interactions between climate science and funding of research by corporations, including empirical analysis of the funding flows and its impacts on the focus of climate science and the subsequent IPCC reports.

This letter solicits proposals from scholars in sociology, political science, public policy, geography, communications, or other interdisciplinary social science areas. Research proposals on climate obstruction efforts in the Global South or non-western countries are encouraged.  It does not solicit research into discourse analysis, individual or psychological perspectives on climate change, or public opinion polling.

Successful proposals will have scientifically sound research plans that are explicitly rooted in relevant social science theory and literature. Proposals will be evaluated using criteria of intellectual merit and their potential contribution to informing pragmatic and timely actions to address climate change.

Funding of $10,000-$30,000 is available for one year research projects. Applicants should submit a maximum five-page research proposal containing the following items:

  1. Abstract describing the overall project, timeframe and budgetary requirements
  2. Research Objectives
  3. Intellectual Merit of the Proposed Research
  4. Broader Political Impacts
  5. Proposed Budget and Schedule, including intermediate outputs

Indirect costs are prohibited; the approved indirect cost rate for this (RFP) is 0%.

This call for proposals is open to all members of the Climate Social Science Network. The application must be received by February 15, 2022. Apply online.

Please contact Dr. Timmons Roberts directly with any questions (timmons@brown.edu).