Environmental Sustainability

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals for its Environmental Sustainability program to support engineering research with the goal of promoting sustainable engineered systems that support human well-being and that are also compatible with sustaining natural (environmental) systems. Proposals for research spanning long time horizons and incorporates contributions from the social sciences and ethics are welcome. There are four principal general research areas which are supported, but other areas can be proposed by contacting the program director:

  • Industrial Ecology - topics can include advancements in modeling such as life cycle assessment, materials flow analysis, input/output economic models, and novel metrics for measuring sustainable systems.  
  • Green Engineering - Topics include advancing the sustainability of manufacturing processes, green buildings, and infrastructure. Innovations in managing storm water, recycling and reuse of drinking water, and other green engineering techniques to support sustainability may also be fruitful areas for research.
  • Ecological Engineering - topics can include the engineering aspects of restoring ecological function to natural systems.  Engineering research on enhancing natural capital to foster sustainable development is encouraged.
  • Earth Systems Engineering - topics can include aspects of large scale engineering research that involve mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to climate change, and other global scale concerns.

All proposed research should be driven by engineering principles, and be presented explicitly in an environmental sustainability context. Proposals should include involvement in engineering research of at least one graduate student, as well as undergraduates. NSF encourages applicants to incorporate aspects of social, behavioral, and economic sciences.

Proposals are accepted between October 1 and October 20 annually.

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A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt