Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) has five strategic research themes of focus (listed alphabetically):

  1. Climate and Ecosystem Change
  2. Future Energy Supply
  3. Health and the Environment
  4. Smart Energy Systems
  5. Water and Biogeochemical Cycles

This year our seed grant program will support each of these themes as we do each year. In addition, this year we are interested in supporting three crosscutting topics: Food-Energy-Water Systems, High-Performance Building Systems, and Energy and Environmental Resilience. Each of these crosscutting topics is briefly described below

IEE established a Seed Grant Program since 2013 to foster basic and applied research focused on these strategic research themes. Over the previous rounds, IEE has awarded over $2 million to 96 interdisciplinary projects with investigators from fifteen Penn State colleges and campuses. For 2018–19, at least $500,000 of funding is available.

DEADLINE: 5:00 pm on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.  Submit through InfoReady at: https://psu.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1780778

Preferred activities for funding under the Seed Grant Program

  • Development of new interdisciplinary research teams to position them for substantial external funding success;
  • Novel research in theme areas, especially high-risk proof of concept projects; and
  • Collaboration between junior and senior faculty to promote research development, mentorship.

Please note that Health and the Environment proposals should respond to this RFP. THERE WILL NOT be a separate Health and the Environment RFP call this year. We will be accepting proposals for all five of the IEE research themes and this year’s three strategic priorities through this call.  

Crosscutting Topics

In addition, to increase the impact of the Seed Grant program and align with expanding federal and foundation opportunities we will be giving consideration to proposals addressing the following three strategic topics:

  1. Food-Energy-Water Systems. This topic is emphasized in the Penn State University Strategic Plan’s Stewarding our Planet’s Resources thematic priority: “with a projected global human population of 8 billion by 2040, food and water consumption is expected to increase by 50 percent, and energy requirements by even more. Urgent research, development, and implementation needs exist regarding water, energy and food, and there are even more pressing challenges in effectively, ethically, economically, and sustainably managing the interactions among them...”  Additional details are at: https://strategicplan.psu.edu/thematic-priorities/stewarding-our-planets-resources/
  2. High-Performance Building Systems. Penn State has been endorsed by the United National Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to lead the Buildings Global Buildings Network, an international research and education effort to dramatically reduce building energy use while increasing occupant health and quality of life.  An “Ultra” High-Performance building system is a building or community of buildings capable of achieving net zero carbon-based energy utilization while delivering measurable indoor environment parameters, leading to quantifiable increased occupant performance and reduced health risks.  The required building system paradigm shift can be achieved by an integrated systems design, delivery and operation of buildings that includes explicit enabling of proactive occupant interaction.  Realizing such a building system paradigm shift requires the convergent research of several very different disciplines including but not limited to architectural engineering, architecture, information technologies, materials science, distributed energy technologies, human behavior and health sciences, investment and finance models, regulatory and policy issues.  A document describing this research agenda is available online for Penn State accounts at:  https://psu.box.com/s/gt3lfbn198fc11z61dlpre8f08ag4vv5

  3. Energy and Environmental Resilience. Flood, drought, blackouts, gridlock...many human and natural systems are under increasing stress from climate, population and development, and the many dimensions of consumption. It is imperative that we understand the impacts of these stresses, the ability of systems to withstand, recover or adapt, the dynamics of tipping points, and the design principles required for establishing more robust and resilient systems. These impacts, responses and design principles can apply to ecosystems, agriculture and forests; to water, energy and transportation infrastructure; and to communities and regions. This strategic priority encourages proposals that will advance the scholarship of resilience focused on energy and/or environmental applications.

Funding Available

At least $500,000 of funding is available through this seed grant solicitation for 2018–2019. To encourage establishment of new collaborations and enhancement of networks, larger grants will require innovative partnerships of investigators from multiple colleges and/or campus locations. Funds up to $5,000 can be awarded for a single investigator project; up to $10,000 for two or more faculty from the same college (University Park) or Commonwealth Campus; and up to $50,000 for multi-college (across University Park) and multi campus (between campuses) collaborative grants.

Download the Request for Pre-Proposals with complete instructions: http://www.iee.psu.edu/document/2018-2019-iee-seed-grant-rfp

Webinar

A recording of the October 10, 2018 webinar is available @  https://psu.zoom.us/recording/share/aUqjj0ZwRA1ELJKQUrvXMUCUnAq93l-IdoXXxv6lZYOwIumekTziMw

Application/FAQ/Questions

Read the Application site quick start and apply: http://www.iee.psu.edu/infoready-quick-start-guide

Click here to download a FAQ list: http://www.iee.psu.edu/document/iee-seed-grant-faq

Please direct any questions regarding the proposal process to iee@psu.edu.

Recipients

Climate and Ecosystem Change

  • “Herbarium Specimens as Microbial Time Capsules in the Face of Global Change” — Jesse Lasky, Eberly College of Science; Kathryn Turner, Eberly College of Science; Laura Weyrich, College of Liberal Arts; George Perry, College of Liberal Arts; and Carolee Bull, College of Agricultural Sciences

Future Energy Supply

  • “Increasing Power Densities and Cycle Efficiencies of Novel, Thermally-Charged Flow Batteries Using Advanced Flow Cell Topologies” — Matthew Rau, College of Engineering; Serguei Lvov, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; Derek Hall, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Bruce Logan, College of Engineering

Human Health and the Environment

  • “Addressing Potential Health Effects due to Drinking Water Quality among Humans and Animals in Plain-Sect Community Using Community-Based Approaches” — Anil Kumar Chaudhary, College of Agricultural Sciences; Kristin Sznajder, College of Medicine; Adrian Barragan, College of Agricultural Sciences; Cibin Raj; College of Agricultural Sciences; and Walt Whitmer, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • “Modeling the Risk of West Nile Virus to Ruffed Grouse Populations in Pennsylvania” — Erika Machtinger, College of Agricultural Sciences; Lisa Williams, Bureau of Wildlife Management, Pennsylvania Game Commission; Justin Brown, Bureau of Wildlife Management, Pennsylvania Game Commission; W. David Walter, College of Agricultural Sciences, US Geological Survey Cooperative Unit; Dave Miller, College of Agricultural Sciences; Emily Thomas, College of Agricultural Sciences; Carolyn Mahan, Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Penn State Altoona; Andrew Kyle, West Nile Virus Control Program, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Keith Price, Microbiology, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; and Michael Hutchinson, Entomology, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
  • “The Role of Olfactory Neuron Death in Particulate Matter-Induced Neurodegeneration” — Patrick Drew, College of Engineering, and Randy Vander Wal, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Energy and Environmental Resilience

  • “Identifying Sweet Spots for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Interventions in Pennsylvania Urban Communities” — Lauren McPhillips, College of Engineering; Daniel Brent, College of Agricultural Sciences; Anil Kumar Chaudhary, College of Agricultural Sciences; Shirley Clark, School of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Penn State Harrisburg; Jonathan Duncan, College of Agricultural Sciences; Cibin Raj, College of Agricultural Sciences; Matthew Royer, College of Agricultural Sciences; and Hong Wu, College of Arts and Architecture
  • “The Impact of Ecosystem Change and Resilience on Crop Quality and Farmer Livelihoods – Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) as a Model”— Joshua Lambert, College of Agricultural Sciences; Helene Hopfer, College of Agricultural Sciences; Sarah Nilson, Department of Biology, Penn State Beaver; Patrick Drohan, College of Agricultural Sciences; Bronwen Powell, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Caitlin Grady, College of Engineering
  • “Lighting Up the Subsurface for Tomorrow’s City: Initiating a Penn State DAS Array for Monitoring Geo/Environmental Hazards” —Tieyuan Zhu, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; Patrick Fox, College of Engineering; Andrew Nyblade, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Eileen Martin, College of Science, Virginia Tech

Food-Energy-Water Systems

  • “Characterizing Food-Energy-Water Systems in Ethiopia” — Brian Thiede, College of Agricultural Sciences; Rachel Brennan, College of Engineering; and Michael Jacobson, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • “Identification of Links between Surface Water Microbiomes and Microbiological Water Safety” — Jasna Kovac, College of Agricultural Sciences; Rachel Brennan, College of Engineering; and Luke Laborde, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • “Rare Earth Element Enrichment from Mining Wastewater Streams” — Xueyi Zhang, College of Engineering; Mohammad Rezaee, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Michael Hickner, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • “Visualizing and Experiencing Changes to the Critical Zone” — Janet Swim, College of Liberal Arts; Alexander Klippel, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; Jessica Myrick, Bellisario College of Communications; and Timothy White, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

High-Performance Building Systems

  • “Developing Integrated Low-Cost Sensors for Improving Building Environmental Performance” — Donghyun Rim, College of Engineering; James Freihaut, College of Engineering; and Dongwon Lee, College of Information Sciences and Technology
  • “Practical Photovoltaic Daylighting” — Chris Giebink, College of Engineering; Christopher Rahn, College of Engineering; Ute Poerschke, College of Arts and Architecture; and Kevin Houser, College of Engineering
  • “Quantifying Enhanced Performance of Passive House over Conventional Buildings” — Lisa Iulo, College of Arts and Architecture; Donghyun Rim, College of Engineering; Corey Griffin, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Penn State Altoona; William Bahnfleth, College of Engineering; James Freihaut, College of Engineering; and Ute Poerschke, College of Arts and Architecture
  • “Resilient and Energy Efficient Envelopes for Passive House Standard Buildings” — Corey Griffin, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Penn State Altoona; Ali Memari, College of Engineering; and Lisa Iulo, College of Arts and Architecture
  • “Searchable Performance Database for Design of Ultra High Performance Envelope Buildings in Varied Climatic Conditions” — Aly Said, College of Engineering; John Yen, College of Information Sciences and Technology; Somayeh Asadi, College of Engineering; and James Freihaut, College of Engineering
  • “Uncertainty-Aware Transactive Building Controls” — Gregory Pavlak, College of Engineering; Uday Shanbhag, College of Engineering; and Mort Webster, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences