"Environment" research area

MnDRIVE Environment Demonstration Grant RFP

October 28, 2019
The deadline for this funding opportunity has passed.

Award Announcement: December 6, 2019

The MnDRIVE Advancing Industry, Conserving Our Environment initiative is requesting proposals for new and innovative field-scale demonstration projects in the areas of chemical and biological environmental remediation.

Overview of MnDRIVE Environment Goals

The overall goal of MnDRIVE Environment is to stimulate interdisciplinary and collaborative research between university researchers and industry partners that translate into innovative solutions to environmental remediation challenges. We recognize the field of environmental remediation is quite broad. However, for this RFP, we define environmental remediation as the use of biological or chemical agents to remove or detoxify contaminants in polluted soil, water, or air. We welcome novel research proposals that reside within our recently expanded research scope, and that also meet the eligibility requirements and application criteria.

To provide some additional guidance on fundable research areas under MnDRIVE Environments expanded scope, we offer a non-exhaustive list of examples:


  • Biological & Chemical-based remediation
  • Use of microorganisms and plants to transform or degrade pollutants
  • Use of biological and chemical agents together
  • Using microorganisms or plants to change the environment to facilitate chemical reactions
  • Direct use of chemicals to transform or degrade pollutants, in an environmentally relevant and friendly manner
  • New biological- or chemical-based sorbents used for remediation

Not fundable

  • Research focused on incineration processes
  • Research focused on filtration technologies
  • Surveys
  • Observational case studies

Demonstration Grant Details

Proposals are due by 11:59 PM CT on October 28, 2019. Those received will initially be reviewed for basic eligibility requirements and alignment with the MnDRIVE Environment research scope after which they will be reviewed by an external panel. Awards can be up to $500,000 for a two-year period. Demonstration grant funding is non-renewable and the project period may not be extended, unless express written permission is granted.

Proposal Eligibility

  • Eligible Lead principal investigators (PIs) are tenure-track faculty from all campuses within the University of Minnesota system.
  • Lead PIs are eligible to submit a Demonstration Grant proposal even if they are:
    • a Lead PI on an active Seed Grant project, or
    • a Co-PI on an active Demonstration or Seed Grant project.
  • Lead PIs are not eligible to submit if they are Lead Investigator on an active Demonstration Grant project that will not be completed by December 6, 2019.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

As stated above, submitted proposals that meet the basic eligibility requirements and are aligned with the MnDRIVE Environment scope of research will be sent out for review. A review panel will assess each proposal based on the following criteria, and will use an evaluation rubric to provide expert feedback.

Key Criteria:

  • Alignment with MnDRIVE Environment goals
  • Overall quality and scientific merit
  • Project planning, feasibility and longevity of research
  • Relevance to and value for Minnesota’s sustainable economy, innovative industry, and/or the health of our environment
  • Outreach and broader impacts
  • Industry partnership(s) - substantial level of commitment and clear roles/ responsibilities

If applicants have any questions about this RFP, please email Michael Sadowsky, Paige Novak, and Jeff Standish for clarification. 

Note: The next Demonstration Grant RFP will be announced in September 2020 and will be annual thereafter.


To Apply

Link to Application: Application 

Please submit your proposal as a single merged PDF to our online application system by October 28, 2019, 5 p.m. CST.

Proposal Format:

  • Submit a single PDF document
  • 1-inch margins, 12 pt. font, single-spaced

Proposal Structure:

Section 1. Executive summary - single page, 300-word maximum.

Section 2. Main proposal  – 5 pages maximum (single-spaced), which includes the following sections in no particular order:

a. Project description, including a brief background, objectives, and approach, with sufficient technical detail to pass an external review. In accordance with our above-stated goals, your description must clearly address the remediation aspect(s) of the proposed work, an outreach plan, and external partnerships.

b. Description of the importance of the project to the state of Minnesota, and how the project aligns with the MnDRIVE Environment’s goals (http://mndrive.umn.edu/environment).

c. Description of the research team, including the roles and qualifications of the PIs and Co-PIs, postdocs, technicians and other support staff, and other personnel involved (including industry partners). This description should also demonstrate how members of the team have experience implementing field-scale research.

d. Project timeline and activity schedule (small table or graphic).

Section 3. Cited literature.

Section 4. Budget summary and justification (2-page maximum, that includes any tables) - Please include salaries, supplies, equipment, etc. 

Section 5. Project research team - Provide an overview and list of the project team, including both UMN personnel and external partners (1-page max). Include with this overview CVs for both Lead PI and Co-PI(s) (limit each CV to 2 pages maximum).

Section 6. Letter(s) of collaboration or support from industry/agency partners (1 page maximum per letter) - Each letter should detail the level of support/partnership being offered. Specific roles and responsibilities of the partner organization should be described and should align with the project proposal.