"Environment" research area

MnDRIVE Environment Seed Grant RFP

Deadline: 
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 Seed Grant projects in the area of environmental remediation using biological and/or chemical means. 

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 translates into innovative solutions to environmental remediation challenges. We recognize that the field of environmental remediation is quite broad. For this RFP, however, we define environmental remediation as the use of biological or chemical agents to remove or detoxify contaminants in polluted soil, water, or air. We, therefore, welcome novel research proposals that reside within this recently expanded scope of research, and that meet the eligibility requirements and application criteria, as detailed below.

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

Fundable

  • Biological & Chemical-based remediation
  • Use of microorganisms and/or 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

Seed Grant 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. Eligible Lead PIs (details below) may submit proposals to either or both funding categories (postdoctoral research and graduate student research) but may receive only one grant award per cycle and per Lead PI. You may, however, be funded as co-PI on one additional proposal. In addition, funding for undergraduate student research may be applied for in parallel with applications to either of the other funding categories.

Funding Categories

1. Postdoctoral Research Scholars

Deadline: October 28, 2019 (11:59 PM CT)

Link to Application: Postdoctoral Research Scholars

Eligible Lead PIs may submit proposals for new projects in support of a postdoctoral scholar. Each successful award will be $67,000, which includes $57,000 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. To apply, please submit a 2-page single-spaced proposal (pdf), including any references plus a concise outreach plan*, using our online application by October 28, 2019. The proposal should be written in 12 pt. font with 1-inch margins and should clearly indicate how the proposed research aligns with the MnDRIVE initiative’s goals. Lead PIs should also attach to the application a 2-page CV, and at least one letter of support from an industry/agency partner. 

*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, or collaboration with an artist. 

2. Graduate Research Scholars

Deadline: October 28, 2019 (11:59 PM CT)

Link to Application: 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. To apply, please submit a 2-page single-spaced proposal, including any references plus a concise outreach plan*, using our online application by October 28, 2019. The proposal should be written in 12 pt. font with 1-inch margins and should clearly indicate how the proposed research aligns with the MnDRIVE initiative’s goals. Lead PIs should also attach to the application a 2-page CV, and at least one letter of support from an industry/agency partner. 

*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, or collaboration with an artist.

 

3. Undergraduate Research Scholars

Deadline: October 28, 2019 (11:59 PM CT)

Link to Application: Undergraduate Research Scholars

Faculty may submit proposals for new projects in support of an undergraduate researcher. Each MnDRIVE undergraduate scholar will be awarded $5,000 to be used in support of their salary and up to $500 for supplies/services. To apply, faculty should submit a 1-page single-spaced proposal, including references, using our online application by October 28, 2019. The proposal should be 12 pt. font with 1-inch margins and should clearly indicate how the proposed research aligns with the MnDRIVE initiative’s goals and innovatively addresses an environmental remediation challenge within the state of Minnesota. The proposed student need not be identified at the time of submission. Each project must also include an outreach component. 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, or collaboration with an artist. Proposals will be evaluated by the MnDRIVE Environment Team.

All proposals are due by 11:59 PM CT on October 28, 2019.

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 Seed Grant proposal even if they are:
      • a Lead PI on an active Demonstration 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 Seed 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 Evaluation Criteria

  • Alignment with MnDRIVE Environment goals
  • Overall quality and scientific merit of innovative research
  • Project planning, feasibility, and longevity of research
  • Relevance to and value for Minnesota’s sustainable economy, plus innovative industry solutions for the health of our environment
  • Outreach and broader impacts
  • Industry partnership(s) - at least one external partner must be identified and confirmed via letter of support

To Apply

Please submit your proposal to the appropriate funding category application portal by October 28, 2019, 11:59 p.m. CST.

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

Note: The next Seed Grant RFP will be announced in March 2020.