"Environment" research area

Spring 2020 Seed Grant - **NEW Application Policies**

Deadline: 
May 11, 2020
The deadline for this funding opportunity has passed.
MnDRIVE Environment wordmark
MnDRIVE Advancing Industry, Conserving our Environment is requesting new applications for innovative Seed Grant projects in the area of environmental remediation using biological and/or chemical means. 

Important Dates:

  • Application Due Date: May 11, 2020 (11:59 PM CT)
  • Award Announcement: June 17, 2020

Apply Now button

IMPORTANT RFP ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  1. NEW GRANT MANAGEMENT PLATFORM - SurveyMonkey Apply

  2. SEED GRANT RFP CHANGES (PLEASE BE SURE TO READ #2 BELOW)

1) SurveyMonkey Apply

MnDRIVE Environment has moved all funding programs onto SurveyMonkey Apply. Going forward, this online grant management platform will host and manage all applications, proposal reviews, awards, project reporting, and renewal requests, including currently active projects - so everything related to MnDRIVE funded projects. More information about the Seed Grant Application and detailed task by task instructions are provided within the Program portal, which can be accessed using the "Apply" button above. 

Registering Your Account In Apply:

  • If you have previously been funded by MnDRIVE Environment or have reviewed Seed/Demonstration Grant proposals, you should be receiving an automated registration invite from Apply within the next 48 hours.
  • For the rest of our community or those new to MnDRIVE Environment that are interested in submitting a Seed Grant Application, please use the Apply button above or navigate your browser to <https://umnresearch.smapply.io/prog/seed_S2020> and utilize the "Register" button.

TIP:

The preferred browsers for the Apply platform are Google Chrome and Firefox. Safari and Edge should work fine, but avoid using Internet Explorer to access our Program Portal.

Application Steps:

Once registered, you may start, save, edit, or submit your Seed Grant Application at anytime before May 11, 2020 (11:59 PM CST).

Each application will contain the following completed tasks/forms:
Task 1 - Complete Lead PI Eligibility Verification
Task 2 - Select Funding Category (Postdoc, Grad Student, or Undergrad)
Task 3 - Complete Application (this includes online form and uploading of proposal PDF)
Task 4 - NRRI Travel Grant (Optional - This is a new, collaborative arrangement between MnDRIVE and NRRI for additional travel funds)

IMPORTANT GUIDANCE & TIPS:

  • We suggest beginning the online application process well in advance of the deadline!
  • The research proposal part of your application may be prepared in advance of the online application, using the guidelines provided within each Funding Category description of the RFP (below, or visit MnDRIVE Environment -Funding).
  • Instructions for each Task can be found within Apply by clicking on   buttons within the Task windows
  • Co-PIs and Partners can be invited by Lead PIs to contribute to a proposal simply by adding them as "Collaborators"
    • use the  located on left side of screen (below applicant/owner name)
  • Lead PI = Owner; and is the only one able to submit application. Collaborators may view and edit data within certain Tasks, but are not able to submit.

2) 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. 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

A) 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 and fulfillment of reporting requirements. Applications will be submitted using the online platform Apply and will require the Lead PI to complete a series of tasks/forms after log in and associated with application submission. The research proposal itself should be 2-pages, single-spaced, and should contain any references plus a concise outreach plan. 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.

The proposal should be written using 12 pt. font with 1-inch margins and should clearly indicate how the proposed research aligns with the MnDRIVE initiative’s goals. To this PDF file, Lead PIs should also attach their 2-page CV and at least one letter of support from an industry/agency partner. These documents should be merged into a single PDF and upload to Apply when requested.

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. Applications will be submitted using the online platform Apply and will require the Lead PI to complete a series of tasks/forms after log in and associated with application submission. The research proposal itself should be 2-pages, single-spaced, and should contain any references plus a concise outreach plan. 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.

The proposal should be written using 12 pt. font with 1-inch margins and should clearly indicate how the proposed research aligns with the MnDRIVE initiative’s goals. To this PDF file, Lead PIs should also attach their 2-page CV and at least one letter of support from an industry/agency partner. These documents should be merged into a single PDF and upload to Apply when requested. 

C) 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. Applications will be submitted using the online platform Apply and will require the Lead PI to complete a series of tasks/forms after log in and associated with application submission. The research proposal itself should be 1-page, single-spaced, and including references. The proposal should be written using 12 pt. font with 1-inch margins and should clearly indicate how the proposed research aligns with the MnDRIVE initiative’s goals. 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.

Lead Principal Investigator Eligibility

There are two requirements that applicants must meet to be eligible to submit a Seed Grant application.

Requirement #1

Eligible Lead principal investigators (Lead PIs) for Seed Grants must be either:

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

or

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

**Research scientists seeking Lead PI eligibility are required to submit the following documentation (during the subsequent Eligibility Verification 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 Lead 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 Lead PIs may submit to this Spring 2020 RFP, as long as they do not have an active Seed Grant award as of June 30, 2020, in which they are the Lead PI.

Application 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

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 physical filtration technologies
  • Surveys
  • Observational case studies