Strategic Plan Print E-mail

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is pleased to release the new National Global Change Research Plan 2012-2021: A Strategic Plan for the U. S. Global Change Research Program. The creation of this plan is mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (GCRA, P.L. 101-606); it will serve as the guiding document for USGCRP for the next decade.

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What is the Strategic Plan?

This 2012-2021 Strategic Plan builds on past USGCRP Strategic Plans and the accomplishments of the USGCRP, and recognizes that effective response to global change requires a strong scientific foundation. The Plan continues to encompass both the fundamental research that improves understanding, as well as the research necessary to inform responses to climate and global change.

Even more strongly than in the past, the 2012 -2021 Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives require coordination across the diverse capabilities and missions of its Federal agency members, as well as the inclusion of other parts of the Federal government, traditionally outside of the core of USGCRP. This need reflects the more interdisciplinary focus of this Strategic Plan and its emphasis on integration across:

  • The various components of the Earth system, including the human component
  • Observations and modeling
  • Space and time
  • Scientific disciplines, including physical, biological, social and behavioral sciences
  • Domestic and international partnerships
  • The intersection of stakeholder needs with research capabilities

Going forward, this Strategic Plan will be the foundation for the USGCRP as it continues in its role of coordinating research necessary for science and decision support while developing partnerships, and providing information and tools to facilitate the relevancy and utilization of global change science.

Download a PDF of the Executive Summary

What are the objectives of the Strategic Plan?

The 2012-2021 Strategic Plan recognizes that effective response to global change requires a strong scientific foundation and is built around four strategic goals: Advance Science, Inform Decisions, Conduct Sustained Assessments, and Communicate and Educate.

  • Advance Science (Study Climate and Global Change)
    Advance scientific knowledge of the integrated natural and human components of the Earth system.

  • Inform Decisions (Prepare the Nation For Change)
    Provide the scientific basis to inform and enable timely decisions on adaptation and mitigation.

  • Conduct Sustained Assessments (Assess the U.S. Climate)
    Build sustained assessment capacity that improves the Nation’s ability to understand, anticipate, and respond to global change impacts and vulnerabilities.

  • Communicate and Educate (Make Our Science Accessible)
    Advance communications and education to broaden public understanding of global change and develop the scientific workforce of the future.

In addition to these four goals, the Plan emphasizes the importance of national and international partnerships that leverage Federal investments and provide for the widest use of Program results. The Plan builds on the Program’s strengths in integrated observations, modeling, and information services for science that serves societal needs.

Who Is Responsible for the Strategic Plan?

As mandated by Congress, the USGCRP develops a new Strategic Plan every ten years that must provide for the development and coordination of a comprehensive and integrated United States Research Program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change. The Plan will be implemented through the next decade by the collective efforts of 13 U.S. government agencies that collaboratively help the Nation better understand global change and its impacts.

In accordance with the GCRA, the Plan was developed by a team of over 100 Federal scientists in collaboration with the USGCRP leadership. The team drew on the advice of the National Academies and feedback from public sessions with stakeholder groups. It was revised in light of public comments, and in response to reviews by the USGCRP, CENRS member agencies, and the National Research Council. To view the Federal Register Notice on public comments regarding the Strategic Plan, click here.

2012-2021 Strategic Plan Related Materials