Request for Proposals: Social Science Research into Solar Geoengineering

RFF Solar Geoengineering Research Project


For more than 60 years, Resources for the Future (RFF) has been a leader in improving environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. The RFF Solar Geoengineering Research Project seeks to improve our understanding of the risks, potential benefits, and other uncertain implications of solar geoengineering as one approach among others to address climate change. Building on the results of a recent series of international workshops convened with the RFF Solar Radiation Management Dialogue, RFF is soliciting social science research proposals that address crucial gaps in our knowledge of solar geoengineering and its possible impacts.

Research Themes

This research is structured along five general social science themes and approaches to understanding solar geoengineering, which are listed below and elaborated upon in (Aldy, et al. Science, 2021). The list of topic areas below is a summary of possible examples, and it is not exhaustive of what could be considered for funding:

  • interdisciplinary work among social and natural scientists to address the gaps in our SG understanding most relevant for decision-making,
  • convening experts on SG and international relations, along with the use of game theory and behavioral experiments and simulations, to better understand the possible evolution of SG strategies and countermoves,
  • numerical modeling to integrate the climate and social systems and to understand how multiple interactions “add up” in a consistent framework,
  • assessments by sociologists and cultural anthropologists, as well as science and technology studies scholars, to understand how norms and culture evolve as new technologies enter the policy space, and
  • applications of behavioral science to explore the mental models of relevant decision-makers in government and throughout society with respect to SG and other climate risk reduction strategies.

Funding and Allocation

Eight separate $10,000 honoraria will be awarded for the development of eight research papers that are suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Teams are welcome to supplement this funding from other sources.


Research teams will produce a scientific research article suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The RFF Solar Geoengineering Research Project will host a virtual workshop in May 2022 for teams to present initial findings, receive feedback, and meet one another.  Full first drafts will be due and presented at a conference in September 2022 where at least one member of each team must attend. Assuming we are able to hold the meeting in person, RFF will cover the cost of travel for one team member; it need not come from project honoraria. Finalized papers that are ready for submission will be due November 1, 2022.


Climate change and the potential development of solar geoengineering are global issues. The RFF Solar Geoengineering Project encourages proposals from scholars drawing from a rich array of social science disciplines and from across the world.

Application Instructions and Deadline

To apply, please submit:

  • A one-page cover sheet including:
    • proposed paper title
    • for each member of the research team (with the lead author listed first for multi-author teams), the person’s full name, title, professional address, country, telephone number, and email address
  • a project description of no more than 1,400 words (not including a list of citations), with the following:
    • the research topic and research question, falling under one of the five themes listed above,
    • the methods and analyses the authors intend to undertake.
    • how the proposed research fits into and advances the academic literature, and
    • how the research could inform policy related to solar geoengineering.
  • the CV(s) of all authors on the team.

Submit all application materials (one proposal and all team member CV(s)) as pdf attachments in an email to [email protected]. New deadline: Proposals must be received by Monday, January 17, 11:59 pm US Eastern to be considered. Awards will be announced on January 31, 2022.


Contact the RFF Solar Geoengineering Project ([email protected]) with any questions.