"Environment" research area

MnDRIVE Environment Fall 2021 Seed Grant RFP

Deadline: 
October 25, 2021
The deadline for this funding opportunity has passed.

MnDRIVE Environment wordmark

MnDRIVE Advancing Industry, Conserving Our Environment requests proposals for new and innovative pilot-scale Seed Grant projects in the areas of chemical and biological environmental remediation.

Overview

The overall goal of MnDRIVE Environment is to stimulate interdisciplinary and collaborative research between university researchers and industry partners, which translate into innovative solutions that help remediate environmental contamination and stimulate sustainable economic growth across Minnesota. This RFP seeks Seed Grant proposals that use biological or chemical agents to remove or detoxify contaminants in polluted soil, water, or air. We enthusiastically request submissions that push the limits of innovation via novel, interdisciplinary, exploratory, and partnership-centric research. Visit our Research Projects pages to get a sense of what we have funded recently.

Seed Grant RFP Details

The goal of the Seed Grant funding program is to improve chemical and biological remediation strategies and their applications related to environmental challenges across Minnesota. Seed Grants are intended to support new research only and funds may not be used to support existing research projects. Qualifying principal investigators may submit proposals to any of the funding categories, unless you are a  PI or Co-PI on an active Seed Grant award at the time of Award Letter issuance (full eligibility details below).

Funding Categories:

A) Postdoctoral Research Scholars

Eligible Lead PIs may submit proposals for new projects in support of a postdoctoral scholar. Each successful award will be $71,000, which includes $61,000 for postdoctoral scholar salary and fringe and $10,000 for supplies/services. Initial awards will be for one year, and can be renewed for a second year contingent upon demonstration of progress and fulfillment of reporting requirements.

The research proposal should be 2-pages, single-spaced (12 pt. font with 1 inch margins), and include any references and a concise outreach plan*. It should clearly indicate how the proposed research aligns with the MnDRIVE initiative’s goals. Applicants should attach to their 2-page proposal the following items:

    • PI's CV (2 page max)
    • At least one letter of support from a partner organization (external to UMN)

<<These documents should be merged into a single PDF and uploaded.>>

*Examples of appropriate outreach projects are: instructional programs in a K-12 setting, video presentations of research posted on the BTI video channel, small group mentoring in a K-12 setting, museum exhibits for public consumption or collaboration with an artist. Use your imagination in these times of COVID.

B) Graduate Research Scholars

Eligible Lead PIs may submit proposals for new projects in support of a graduate student researcher. Each successful award will be $55,000, which includes $45,000 for graduate student salary and fringe (the actual amount depending on the home departmental norms) and $10,000 for supplies/services. Initial awards will be for one year, and can be renewed for a second year contingent upon demonstration of progress and fulfillment of reporting requirements.

The research proposal should be 2-pages, single-spaced (12 pt. font with 1 inch margins), and include any references and a concise outreach plan*. It should clearly indicate how the proposed research aligns with the MnDRIVE initiative’s goals. Applicants should attach to their 2-page proposal the following items:

    • PI's CV (2 page max)
    • At least one letter of support from a partner organization (external to UMN)

<<These documents should be merged into a single PDF and uploaded.>>

*Examples of appropriate outreach projects are: instructional programs in a K-12 setting, video presentations of research posted on the BTI video channel, small group mentoring in a K-12 setting, museum exhibits for public consumption or collaboration with an artist. Use your imagination in these times of COVID.

 

Principal Investigator Eligibility

There are two eligibility requirements that applicants must meet to qualify as a Principal Investigator (PI), and thus be qualified to submit to the Seed Grant Program.

Requirement #1

Eligible PIs for Demonstration/Seed Grants must be either:

    • a tenure-track faculty from any campus within the University of Minnesota system

OR

    • a research scientist** within the University of Minnesota system

**Research scientists seeking PI eligibility are required to submit the following documentation (during the Eligibility Verification stage/task) for internal review by the MnDRIVE Environment Management Team:

  1. A copy of your CV (3 pages max; PDF file only) demonstrating your successful track record of independent research, scholarly and peer-reviewed publications, and advising of University students/postdocs/researchers in independent discovery-based research.

  2. Lead PI Eligibility Endorsement Form. It must be signed by yourself and your research supervisor, for the purpose of confirming:

  • control of and management authority for laboratory space and equipment, and

  • a successful track record of independent research, scholarly and peer-reviewed publications, and advising of university students/postdocs/researchers conducting independent discovery-based research.

Requirement #2

Eligible PIs and/or Co-PIs may have only one active award in each of our funding programs at any one time (i.e., Seed Grant** or Demonstration Grant). Therefore,

    • eligible PIs may submit to this 2021 Seed Grant RFP, as long as they are not a PI or Co-PI on an active Seed Grant Award as of December 30, 2021.

Additional Information & Guidance

To provide some additional guidance on the types of fundable research projects under MnDRIVE Environments current scope, we offer a non-exhaustive list of examples:

Fundable

    • 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
    • Survey or sampling projects
    • Observational case studies

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

As stated above, submitted proposals that meet the basic eligibility requirements during internal review and are aligned with the MnDRIVE Environment scope of research will be sent out for external review. A review panel will assess each proposal based on the following key criteria.

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

Click here to access the SMApply submission portal. Proposals are due by October 25, 2021 (23:59 CST).

Apply Now button