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Call for Proposals

Research Communities

The Environmental Innovations Initiative (EII) is pleased to announce the opening of the 2024 grant application cycle, inviting requests for funding to support research communities.

Research communities center on a theme of broad environmental significance and fall into one or more of three tracks: stewardship of nature, climate action, and societal resilience, aligning with the Initiative's focus areas. Each research community should yield a public-facing outcome and provide concrete opportunities for student involvement.

Our selection criteria prioritize original research proposals led by Penn faculty that address climate and biodiversity crises and systemic inequalities. We encourage inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations that demonstrate societal impact and methodological rigor and are in need of pilot funding.  

The call for proposals for the 2024-25 academic year is now open and closes on March 15. Successful applicants will be notified in April and will receive up to $25,000 from the Environmental Innovations Initiative in June. 

The tracks for this opportunity are: 

  • Stewardship of Nature

Key Concepts: preservation, restoration, valuation, habitat, biodiversity, ecology, nature-based solutions

  • Climate Action

Key Concepts: decarbonization, mitigation, adaptation, sequestration, migration, science-based targets

  • Societal Resilience

Key Concepts: human health, well-being, justice, ecological health, economic prosperity, responsible consumption/production/waste management, disruption preparedness

Faculty-led applications may involve fellow faculty, students, staff members, and/or external partners as collaborators. This one-year opportunity, renewable for up to three years, encourages applicants to actively integrate various disciplines in research as well as dissemination, which may take the form of publications, workshops, or events. Projects can have a local, regional, national, or global focus, promoting diverse collaborations for impactful outcomes.

Application Elements

Interested faculty members should submit a pdf document of no more than three pages (11-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages) that includes: 

Application Guidelines

  • Applications must be submitted via email to by 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 15, 2024.
  • Funds will be distributed in June 2024 for use in the 2024-25 academic year.
  • Priority will be given to applications that integrate diverse disciplinary approaches and diverse team members.
  • Successful applications will involve students in meaningful ways.
  • Winning communities will be featured on the Initiative website and its newsletter and will be asked to present during a poster session during Climate Week in September 2024. 
  • Each community must specify outputs that will result from this funding, including at least one publicly accessible product (op-ed, event, lesson plan for K-12, website, etc.).
  • Feedback will not be provided on proposals that are not selected.


Research Communities recipients must report to the Environmental Innovations Initiative throughout the year of funding. Reporting requirements: 

  • Two brief progress reports within the funding cycle are due on November 1, 2024, and February 7, 2025. 
  • One final report is due on May 24, 2025. 
  • Progress reports are meant to inform the staff of EII of the impact of the research communities. These updates also increase the work’s visibility via online and social media features. The responses can be brief and informal. Elements to highlight may include key accomplishments, number of students engaged, description of activities, participating partners, media links, and images. 
  • The final report summarizes the research community's activities for the entire funding cycle. It should include sections on results, expenditures, and key deliverables. The final report should be cumulative and supplied in pdf format to allow sharing with EII's leadership.