When Elsie Sunderland was 17, her hometown on the southern shore of Nova Scotia sought to create jobs for local fishermen—impacted by the collapse of local fisheries—by building a toxic waste incinerator. To alert the community to the potential health impacts of the plan, Sunderland petitioned local politicians, wrote Op-Eds, and launched a citizen’s group. “And that was it,” she was hooked on the environment. “I knew that’s what I was going to do with my life.”
The Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) will award research grants to faculty teams and individual faculty members to seed innovative and exciting new projects on issues that address major problems related to energy and environment. The program is designed to facilitate new directions in research and catalyze new faculty collaborations across disciplines.
Faculty groups are encouraged to apply with proposals representing a new collaboration among the faculty team members. Funding may be used for facilitating meetings of collaborators—planning sessions, workshops, speaker series, etc. —as well as for research, including hiring graduate students and post docs. No salary support for faculty members is allowed. We anticipate the average award size to be between $30k and $40k, although smaller requests are encouraged. Only Harvard ladder faculty are eligible to apply.
The awards are also intended to offer individual faculty members the opportunity to pursue research in a direction that represents a significant departure from previous and ongoing research. Faculty members who have never worked on environmental topics are encouraged to apply, as well as those who have long-standing interests in environmental research.
Proposed research—whether individual or collaborative—should be in keeping with the objectives of a seed grant program: it should be innovative, risky, and distinct from what one might normally submit to traditional funding sources (e.g., NSF, NIH). Preference will be given to proposals that show potential for attracting additional external funding.
Although the Center is not currently soliciting faculty seed grant proposals, faculty members may wish to consider applying to the Climate Change Solutions Fund. Sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, this fund supports research and policy initiatives intended to hasten the transition from carbon-based energy systems to those that rely on renewable energy sources, to develop methods for diminishing the impact of existing carbon-based energy systems on the climate, and to propel scientific, technological, legal, policy and artistic innovations needed to accelerate progress toward cleaner energy and a greener world.
For questions about the HUCE Faculty Grants program, please contact James Clem, HUCE Managing Director, with any questions.
Note: The Center recognizes that the need still exists for smaller grants to faculty to fund special research opportunities, especially those with time horizons too short for traditional outside funders. In such cases, faculty should send a short note to Center Director Dan Schrag outlining the opportunity—which should still represent research that is innovative and risky—and funding required. He will consider all requests on an ad hoc basis.