RENEW Seed Grants

What: Grants up to $35,000 in direct costs for projects of one year or less

For: Interdisciplinary projects in areas: Next-generation materials for energy, environment & water; Freshwater coastal ecosystems and blue economy; Environmental exposures, genomes and health; Sustainable urban environments; and Climate change and socio-economic impacts

Who: RENEW affiliated faculty

Due: Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, by 5 PM

Send to:

RENEW seed grants

The institute’s overarching goal is to advance energy, water and environmental sustainability as a foundation for a regenerative economy.  We will accomplish this via research and education in focus areas of:

  • Next-Generation Materials for Energy, Environment & Water; 
  • Sustainable Urban Environments;
  • Freshwater Coastal Ecosystems and Blue Economy; 
  • Environmental Exposures, Genomes and Health; and 
  • Climate Change & Socio-Economic Impacts.  

These cut across the areas of energy, environment & water. Further details on RENEW focus areas can be found on the RENEW website. We seek proposals in topics related to all RENEW focus areas. A description of previously funded RENEW seed projects can also be found on the RENEW website.

RENEW Background

UB’s Institute on Research and Education in Energy, Environment and Water (RENEW) seeks to promote interdisciplinary research activities to position UB as a global leader in select areas of energy, environment and water. The institute’s interdisciplinary focus — involving the faculties of the School of Architecture and Planning, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Law School, School of Management, School of Public Health and Health Professions and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences — is designed to foster new collaborations and produce new ideas. The initiative taps the leadership and vision of deans and faculty at these seven UB schools and colleges.

Proposal Areas

  • Next-Generation Materials for Energy, Environment & Water: Creating novel materials with tailored combinations of properties that meet targeted functional needs is a multi-disciplinary challenge that involves rational design, directed synthesis, characterization, validation of underlying theories, and ultimately materials integration and device fabrication.  We are soliciting proposals incorporating all components of “rational design” to impact materials and technologies in the areas of Energy, Environment & Water. We also want proposals that address the design, development and marketing of green products that emphasize extending the product lifespan and closing the product lifecycle loop through reuse, remanufacture, refurbish and recycling.
  • Freshwater Coastal Ecosystems and Blue Economy: We are looking for interdisciplinary proposals that incorporate new tools, new computational and modeling perspectives and innovations that can have a transformative impact on research in these areas. Potential topics include emerging contaminants, water quality, impacts of climate related changes on coastal environments. The Blue Economy concept focuses on sustainable economic development and furthers the concept of water conservation and reuse, wastewater reduction and water governance.
  • Environmental Exposures, Genomes and Health: We are looking for interdisciplinary proposals that incorporate the effects of environmental pollutants with biomarkers and genomics data to understand effects on human health and disease progression.
  • Sustainable Urban Environments: We are soliciting interdisciplinary proposals that address the built environment including urban planning issues, green infrastructure innovations and innovative strategies for stormwater management. We also are looking for interdisciplinary proposals that address the Whitehouse Smart Cities initiative to realize transformational progress on important challenges such as health and wellness, energy efficiency, building automation and public safety.
  • Climate Change and Socio-economic Impacts: We would like interdisciplinary proposals that focus on climate change, climate change hazards and adaptation, socioeconomic impacts and environmental justice.

Proposals at the nexus of energy, environment and water are of interest. Proposals that focus on the interplay between social, economic and policy aspects in any of the above mentioned areas are of interest. We highly recommend partnering with RENEW research professors with backgrounds in policy & planning, database & visualization and environmental & ecological economics.  (please refer to RENEW website for details on staff specialists).

We are soliciting interdisciplinary research proposals based on innovative and transformational concepts to enable thriving working groups within the institute by providing glue funding to bring faculty together to engage in multidisciplinary work.

We expect all PI’s and co-PI’s of successful proposals to actively participate in monthly meetings of focus area groups. A key goal is to use these seed projects to bring appropriate faculty from seven schools and colleges together in working groups for achieving defining impact. This could include planning for and developing large grant proposals, developing strategic positioning, and enabling true interdisciplinary collaborative research and educational offerings.

Funding details

Award amount: Awards will not exceed $35,000.00 in direct costs (no overhead allowed) for projects of one year or less.

Scope of awards: Funding can support a variety of expenses, including but not limited to salaries to support graduate students, prototype development costs, materials and supplies, and equipment usage. Faculty salaries are not allowed. Award recipients must submit a proposal for competitive external funding, based on the project, within 24 months of the award start date.

Eligibility: All RENEW affiliated faculty* whose appointments allow them to submit external proposals through UB SPS are eligible to apply. Proposals must involve at least three to five (3-5) faculty co-PI’s from different disciplines (departments and preferably different schools/colleges).

Review process: Ad-hoc panels of faculty members will review the proposals and make recommendations to the RENEW Director. The RENEW office will make the final recommendation to the VPRED’s office for approval. Reviewers will consider the following:

  • Scientific, scholarly or creative merit
  • Innovation and potential impact
  • Project investigative team
  • Likelihood that project can lead to the development of a large interdisciplinary  project

In addition to these general criteria, proposals will be evaluated based on quality and the extent to which the project truly employs interdisciplinary and collaborative strategies. We will review budgets for reasonableness in relation to the proposed project. We highly encourage you to leverage current resources or departmental/school cost-sharing to ensure the success of the project.  

*Affiliated faculty are shown on the RENEW website. UB faculty can become affiliated by joining on the website.

Award terms:

  • All PI’s and co-PI’s of successful proposals will actively participate in monthly meetings of focus area groups.
  • Prior to issuance of the award, all regulatory approvals needed to conduct the work must be in place. 
  • A progress report must be submitted midway through the project and a final report is due within 30 days after the conclusion of the funding period summarizing the results in relation to the stated goals of the application. 
  • We will track external funding success related to RENEW SEED awards.
  • The awardees must report annually on proposals submitted and awards generated for five years. 
  • You must submit an application for extramural funding within 24 months of the project start date, sending a copy to the RENEW office. Please also send reviews from the sponsor, whether the project is funded or not.

Application details

Application format

Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF to Applications (5-page limit, single spaced, 12pt font, 1 inch margins) should provide:

  1. Cover page with title, names, department affiliation and contact information for each investigator.
  2. 500-word (maximum) abstract using lay terms accessible to a broad audience.
  3. Five (5) page proposal (maximum) plus 1-page of references. The proposal must include sufficient detail to convince reviewers of the project’s scientific, scholarly or creative merit and relevance. The proposal should provide the information to demonstrate to reviewers the merit of the project and potential for external funding, including the following elements:
    • Introduction
      • State a clear research question that defines the purpose of the project
      • Describe how the project is innovative and distinct from other activities going on at UB.
      • Provide background/rationale that addresses the significance and impact of the project to the field.
      • Describe the project’s short-term objectives and how meeting these objectives will lead to a larger externally-funded project.
    • Proposed Plan
      • Describe the research/scholarly methods that will be used to conduct the project.
      • Describe the expected results or outcomes.
      • Describe what the seed grant will accomplish that cannot be achieved through other means.
    • Timeline for external funding proposal submission (< 24 months)
      • Identify specific external funding opportunities (program and funding agency), submission deadlines, and submission timelines
      • Articulate the fit of the proposed project, explaining how the project aligns with the funding opportunity.
  4. Current & Pending Support: Submitters to disclose any similar proposals that are currently under review for any other internal funding opportunity or any external opportunity.  If the project was previously submitted to an internal or external funding agency and declined, please attach the reviews.
  5. References to prior work: Submitters to include ALL relevant references to prior or related work in the field. References do not count towards the page limit.
  6. Key Personnel: Attach a 2-page biographical sketch/vitae summary for each co-investigator participating in the project including current and pending funding.
  7. Project Budget: Attach a 1-page line item budget and a 1-page detailed justification including a description of other resources or cost-sharing that will be applied to the project. The budget justification is important since budget reasonableness will be considered.  Cost-sharing will be viewed favorably.

Submission deadline: Submit via email in a single PDF to the RENEW offices at by 5 PM, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.

Submission deadline: 5 PM, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017

Submit via email in a single PDF to RENEW offices at