EREF Grants

Environmental Research & Education Foundation


Grant amount: US $15,000 - US $500,000

Next anticipated deadline: Jun 1, 2018 2:00pm PDT (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Jan 6, 2019 2:00pm PST (Pre proposal)

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher Faculty Organizations

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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Overview:

The EREF is the only private, grant making institution with a national and international scope whose sole mission is to support solid waste research and education initiatives. Our research grants program is led by our Research Council, a body of volunteers consisting of technical experts in industry, academia and consulting. The work of the Council is guided by a long range strategic plan with the goal to achieve greater sustainability, good environmental stewardship, higher process efficiency and increased knowledge. Council recommended projects are then reviewed by our Board’s Projects Committee for a final review and funding allocation. Non-research oriented projects are reviewed and recommended to the Projects Committee by technical staff.


Background

The sustainability movement has reached the business models of nearly every industry in the United States, and many companies, municipalities and states have set aggressive sustainability goals that include how waste stream are being managed. The EREF Board of Directors has set an initiative to ensure research funded reflects EREF’s long-term strategic plan to address all areas of integrated solid waste management, with a strong focus towards research that increased sustainable solid waste management practices.

EREF is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is one of the largest sources of funding for solid waste research in North America. EREF is not affiliated with any other entity or group and governed by a duly elected Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is the decision-making body that has responsibility for establishing policies that define program interests and fundamental objectives to be served by the Foundation.

Definition of Solid Waste Used in this RFP

It should be noted that EREF defines solid waste to include:

  • municipal solid waste (e.g. residential, commercial, institutional)
  • construction & demolition debris
  • certain industrial wastes (e.g. exploration & production waste, coal ash) and
  • other wastes typically managed by the solid waste industry or generated by the public not included in the above items (e.g. electronic waste, disaster debris, etc).

Agricultural wastes (that aren’t handled by the waste industry), nuclear waste, and land applied wastewater treatment sludge are generally not included in this definition.


Research Topic Areas

Pre-proposal topics must relate to sustainable solid waste management practices and pertain to the following topic areas:

  • Waste minimization
  • Recycling
  • Waste conversion to energy, biofuels, chemicals or other useful products. This includes, but is not limited to, the following technologies:
    • Waste-to-energy
    • Anaerobic digestion
    • Composting
    • Other thermal or biological conversion technologies
  • Strategies to promote diversion to higher and better uses (e.g. organics diversion, market analysis, optimized material management, logistics, etc.)
  • Landfilling
Desirable aspects of the above topics, in addition to or as part of hypothesis driven applied research, also include:
  • economic or cost/benefit analyses
  • feasibility studies for untested technologies or management strategies
  • life cycle analysis or inventory
  • analyses of policies that relate to the above.

Topics Requiring Approval Prior to Pre-Proposal Submission

There are a number of topics that may require approval before a pre-proposal will be considered. Investigators who would like to propose a research topic where the primary objectives relate to the areas listed below should contact EREF to discuss the topic prior to submitting a pre-proposal.

List of Topics Requiring Approval:

  • Development of life-cycle/process models to evaluate solid waste
  • Evaluating specific applications of pyrolysis/gasification to manage niche/minor waste streams
  • Development of specific gasification/pyrolysis techniques or technologies
  • Using algae to create biofuels from waste

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Non-U.S. Institutions
    • There are no restrictions in regards to geographic location.
    • Any U.S. or non-U.S. institutions are eligible to apply.
  • Non-Academic Institutions
    • Proposals will be accepted from non-academic institutions provided the principal investigators are qualified to conduct the research.
  • Multiple Institutions
    • Submissions may include multiple institutions.
  • Who Can Serve as a Principal Investigator
    • Principal investigators (PI) must be qualified to do the work proposed and should be experts in the subject matter referenced in the pre-proposal/proposal.
    • Typically this would include full-time faculty at academic institutions, post-doctoral employees, and principals or senior personnel at non-academic institutions.    However, graduate students are encouraged to consider applying to EREF’s scholarship program (see the EREF website for details).
  • Multiple Pre-Proposal Submissions
    • Pre-Proposal submissions are limited to two (2) submissions per principal investigator during a particular submission period.
      • Beyond this, the PI cannot be listed as a PI or co-PI on other submissions that round, but may be listed as a supporting investigator on other submissions.
  • Repeat Submittals
    • Pre-proposals that did not receive an invitation to submit a full proposal may re-submit a revised version of the original pre-proposal once, and thereafter, approval must be obtained by EREF beforehand.
    • In the event a research topic is very closely related to a prior submittal by the same entity, EREF staff will make any determinations regarding whether or not a submitted proposal constitutes a re-submittal.
  • In Kind Services and Additional External Funding
    • Because the amount of funding for research is limited, EREF encourages submitting parties to form partnerships with other funding sources (real-dollars or in-kind services).
    • Parties should identify the sources and amounts of external funding in their submissions.
    • It is preferred that real dollars from external sources be managed through EREF rather than going to the research institution directly.
    • Note that in such instances this does not reduce the amount of these funds that go to the research institution.

    Ineligibility:

    • Overhead Costs
      • EREF will not pay indirect or overhead costs in excess of 25% of direct costs.
      • For non-academic institutions, the definition of overhead can vary.
        • However, typically this refers to payment that denotes a time and materials rate multiplier of 1.25.
    • Cost Sharing
      • Cost sharing is encouraged, but is not required.
      • For clarity, any cost sharing should not be listed in in the “Amount Requested” line of the pre-proposal form.
      • Only the amount requested from EREF should be listed.
      • If cost sharing will be a part of the proposal, the amount of the cost share and where it comes from can be noted in the full proposal if one is requested.
    • Including Educational Objectives/Efforts in Research Proposals
      • Pre-proposals do not need to contain specific or direct educational objectives.
      • There is no special consideration given to proposals when such objectives are included.
      • If the proposed research includes substantial efforts related to education, these may be deemed an educational project.
        • For information regarding educational projects, see below.
    • Educational Projects
      • Grants are typically not provided to support the development of educational projects. 
      • However, collaborations or partnerships with entities seeking to develop educational materials for sustainable solid waste management, including conferences or events, which advance the Foundation’s educational mission may be considered.
    • Additional Limitations
      • It is EREF’s policy that all results from funded projects are made publicly available and are without bias.  
      • Thus, EREF will typically avoid funding proposals prepared with the following aims:
        • To directly commercialize and/or patent a particular technology or process
        • To provide venture capital or operating funds for start-up companies
        • To provide funds that primarily aid in the formation or initialization of community programs (e.g. recycling programs, re-use projects, etc)
        • To directly support lobbying activities
        • To fund conferences or events, except as noted under “Educational Projects”
        • To conduct research or evaluations with an extremely narrow scope
        • Examples include projects that impact a small portion of the solid waste stream, benefit a single entity or community, or that cover a very small geographical area (e.g. a single county or town).
    • Graduate students are not eligible to be principal investigators for this program


    About this funder:

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