The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of the P3 Award Program, is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. The P3 competition highlights the use of scientific principles in creating innovative projects focused on sustainability. The P3 Awards program was developed to foster progress toward sustainability by achieving the mutual goals of economic prosperity, protection of the planet, and improved quality of life for its people– people, prosperity, and the planet – the three pillars of sustainability. The EPA offers the P3 competition in order to respond to the technical needs of the world while moving towards the goal of sustainability.

Award Information:
Anticipated Type of Award: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 40 awards for Phase I; Approximately 6 awards for Phase II
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $850,000 total for all awards
Potential Funding per Award: Up to $10,000 per Phase I grant for one year including direct and indirect costs. Proposals for Phase I grants requesting an award of more than $10,000 will not be considered. Upon the successful completion of Phase I, Phase I grant recipients will have the opportunity to apply for Phase II funding of up to $75,000 for two additional years including direct and indirect costs (see Background section for more information). Proposals for Phase II grants requesting an award of more than $75,000 will not be considered. Cost-sharing is not required for either Phase I or Phase II grants.

Eligibility Information:
Public nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to degree-granting public institutions of higher education) and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to degree-granting private institutions of higher education) located in the U.S. are eligible to apply. See full announcement for more details.

Application Materials:
The necessary forms for submitting a STAR application will be found on the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) web site. Electronic submission of your application must be performed by an authorized representative of your organization.

Expected Outputs and Outcomes
Note to the applicant: The term “output” means an environmental activity or effort, and associated work products, related to a specific environmental goal(s), (e.g., testing a new methodology), that will be produced or developed over a period of time under the agreement. The term “outcome” means the result, effect, or consequence that will occur from the above activity(ies) that is related to an environmental, behavioral, or health-related objective.

The P3 program aims to generate research outputs in the form of innovative, inherently benign, integrated, and interdisciplinary designs that will advance the scientific, technical, and policy knowledge necessary to further the goals of sustainability. The desired outcomes of the P3 research are to simultaneously achieve three goals: (1) to maintain or improve human health;    (2) to advance economic competitiveness; and (3) to protect and preserve the environment by effectively and efficiently using water, materials, and energy and minimizing the generation, emission and use of hazardous substances.

E. Research Areas
The Phase I competition is designed to foster creativity by allowing interdisciplinary teams of students to:

1. identify the technical challenge to sustainability their design will address;
2. discuss how the identified technical challenge relates to people, prosperity, and the planet;
3. propose a scientifically-based design approach to address the challenge; and
4. propose an approach to communicate relevant data and information to users and stakeholders.

Challenges in a wide range of research areas will be considered. All projects must be science-based research or development as defined in 40 CFR Part 30.2 Subpart (dd) (see Section III.C. below for language) and as authorized by one or more of the statutes described in Section C.1. above. (NEPA is a secondary supporting statute and cannot be the sole supporting statute for a proposed project.)

Projects that apply established approaches or designs to address a sustainability challenge to a new regional location are not appropriate for the P3 competition.  (These are sometimes referred to as “off-the-shelf” projects.)

Applicants must address one or more of the research areas listed below in their Phase I proposals. (Proposals can include, but are not limited to, technical challenges within the examples following each research area below.)  All proposals must clearly articulate how the proposed project/design will result in pollution prevention and/or control. The link to pollution prevention can be a direct link (such as reductions in air emissions from a more efficient engine design) , or an indirect link (such as water conservation approaches that reduce the energy needed to provide clean drinking water).

Energy (e.g., reduction in air and water emissions through innovative strategies for energy production and energy distribution; energy conservation; inherently benign energy through green chemistry, green engineering)
(Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2010-P3-Q1 – Energy)

Built Environment (e.g., green building designs, transportation and mobility strategies, or smart growth approaches that result in environmental benefits such as air emission reductions or water quality improvements )
(Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2010-P3-Q2 – Built Environment)

Materials and Chemicals (e.g., biomimicry; materials conservation; renewable feedstocks;  materials and chemicals that are inherently benign and energy-, water- and material efficient through their full life-cycles; recovery and reuse of materials through product, process, or system design)
(Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2010-P3-Q3 – Materials and Chemicals)

Water (e.g., water quality, conservation, availability, and access)
(Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2010-P3-Q4 – Water)

Agriculture (e.g., reduction or elimination of pesticides, minimizing fertilizer and nutrient runoff,  productive use of agricultural wastes, water management in agriculture)
(Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2010-P3-Q5 – Agriculture)

All projects, regardless of research area, must be student-led with faculty involvement, as appropriate and necessary.

It is recognized that some proposals may be appropriate for more than one FON/research area, although the applicant must identify a primary FON/research area for application  submission purposes.

Eligibility Contact: William Stelz (; phone: 202-343-9802
Electronic Submissions Contact: Ron Josephson (; phone: 202-343-9643
Technical Contact: Cynthia L. Nolt-Helms (; phone: 202-343-9693
Solicitation Closing Date: January 4, 2010

Please see the P3 website ( for more details about this program.

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

Line Break

Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine,, Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine,, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.