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Priority Programme Building a Habitable Earth (SPP 1833)
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a new Priority Programme entitled "Building a Habitable Earth" (SPP 1833). The programme is designed to run for six years; the present call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period. The Priority Programme is an "Earth Science"-based coordinated research programme that addresses the still open question how Earth became the only known habitable rocky planet covered by oceans and an oxygenated atmosphere. Most likely, a unique combination of processes during Earth's early evolution was necessary to make Earth habitable, but these processes and their interplay are still poorly constrained. This programme focusses on the crucial time-span when Earth became habitable, but before life itself blossomed. The core approach is to use the terrestrial and extraterrestrial rock record to reconstruct key parameters and processes that set the stage on which life subsequently formed and evolved. New research avenues recently emerged from the increased availability of pristine old terrestrial and extraterrestrial sample materials, the development of novel analytical techniques and of experimental and computational approaches that all allow investigating early planetary and geological processes in unprecedented detail. Central to the programme will be the chemical inventory and evolution of the different reservoirs in the Earth and its asteroidal building blocks, the chemical differentiation of Earth into a metal core, silicate mantle, differentiated crust, hydrosphere and atmosphere, as well as the complex interactions and feedback loops of these reservoirs with the evolving biosphere that successfully made Earth a life sustaining environment. The three key topics central to the Priority Programme are:
-the compositions and sources of Earth's building materials and the growth of the Earth,
-the Earth's early internal processing into crust, mantle, and core, and the early evolution of these reservoirs,
-the early evolution of Earth's ocean-atmosphere-biosphere system from the first atmosphere until the great oxidation event.
Proposals are welcome that employ "Earth Science"-based approaches to study the early geological history of the Earth, using observations from geological samples of Archean to Early Proterozoic age and from extraterrestrial samples related to Earth's formation. These two groups of samples provide the only vestige of Earth's early evolution. In addition, we invite complementary proposals involving experimental studies and computational approaches that address key problems of Earth's early evolution. This particularly concerns important processes during the Hadean eon (e.g., magma ocean formation, core formation or late veneer addition), where no direct geological vestige is preserved. The Priority Programme explicitly invites contributions from Earth Science disciplines such as geology, geodynamics, geochemistry, petrology, planetology, cosmochemistry, geobiology and geophysics. Proposals need to cover approaches, where direct observations from the geological record or from extraterrestrial samples are made or where models or experiments directly simulate key processes occurring in the early Earth. Hence, the focus of this programme does not include astrobiological studies, early Earth analogues such as exoplanets, comparative planetary studies, theoretical models unrelated to the geological record, or astronomical observations.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Kennedyallee 40
53175 Bonn
Professor Carsten Münker,
University of Cologne,
Phone: +49 221 470-3198,
E-Mail: c.muenker@uni-koeln.de

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