Supports fundamental research focused on reducing pollution and its environmental and human impacts through closing resource loops; smart amendments; environmental manipulation; or remediation with engineered processes.
The Environmental Engineering program is part of the Environmental Engineering and Sustainability cluster, which also includes 1) the Nanoscale Interactions program; and 2) the Environmental Sustainability program.
Environmental engineering is an interdisciplinary field that applies chemical, biological, and physical scientific principles to protect human and ecological health.
The goal of the Environmental Engineering program is to support potentially transformative fundamental research that applies scientific and engineering principles to 1) prevent, minimize, or re-use solid, liquid, and gaseous discharges of pollution to soil, water, and air by closing resource loops or through other measures; 2) mitigate the ecological and human-health impacts of such releases by smart/adaptive/reactive amendments or manipulation of the environment, and 3) remediate polluted environments through engineered chemical, biological, and/or geo-physical processes.
Integral to achieving these goals is a fundamental understanding of the transport and biogeochemical reactivity of pollutants in the environment. Therefore, research on environmental micro/biology, environmental chemistry, and environmental geophysics may be relevant providing the research has a clear objective of protecting human and ecological health.
Major areas of interest include (but are not limited to):
- Building a future without pollution or waste: Investigation of innovative biogeochemical processes that prevent or minimize the production of waste; waste valorization and other research that will lead to new technologies to extract resources from waste streams to close the resource loop.
- Sustainable supply and protection of water: Investigation of innovative biogeochemical processes that remove, biologically or chemically transform, and/or prevent the release of contaminants in surface and groundwater; innovative processes for recovery of water, nutrients, and other resources from wastewater, saline water, or brines; innovative approaches to smart and adaptive management of surface water, groundwater, and urban watersheds and storm water to maintain/improve quality and prevent downstream impacts from nutrients and other water constituents.
- Environmental chemistry, fate, and transport of nutrients and contaminants of emerging concern in air, water, soils, and sediments: Investigation of transport and biogeochemical reactivity in the environment; environmental forensics to identify sources and reaction pathways; field- and laboratory scale experimental research that bridges gaps between data and predictions from molecular, continuum, and field-scale modeling.
- Environmental engineering of the built environment: Research to understand the biogeochemical reactivity of the built environment with the goal of enhancing and improving human and ecological health; research that will lead to new technologies to improve outdoor and indoor air quality; research to understand how drinking water and wastewater chemical characteristics and microbial community structure impact or are affected by water quality and human health.
NOTE: Proposals with a scientific focus on chemical or physical separation processes (for example, materials or processes for reverse osmosis, membrane distillation, and hypo-filtration) should be submitted to the Interfacial Engineering program (CBET 1417). Proposals that seek to advance fundamental and quantitative understanding of the behaviors of nanomaterials and nanosystems should be submitted to the Nanoscale Interactions program (CBET 1179). Proposals focused on in vitro molecular-level environmental chemistry research should be submitted to Environmental Chemical Sciences program (CHE-ECS 6882). Proposals focusing on industrial ecology, green engineering, and ecological/earth systems engineering should be submitted to the Environmental Sustainability program (CBET 7643). Proposals whose main research focus is on materials development, sensors, or environmental monitoring that do not seek to understand biogeochemical reactivity mechanisms or treatment efficiency are not encouraged and may be returned without review.
Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered. However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the program director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.
INFORMATION COMMON TO MOST CBET PROGRAMS
Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field. Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research. The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.
The duration of unsolicited proposal awards in CBET is generally up to three years. Single-investigator award budgets typically include support for one graduate student (or equivalent) and up to one month of PI time per year (awards for multiple investigator projects are typically larger). Proposal budgets that are much larger than typical should be discussed with the program director prior to submission. Proposers can view budget amounts and other information from recent awards made by this program via the “What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)” link towards the bottom of this page.
Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged. Award duration is five years. The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Learn more in the CAREER program description.
Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the program director before submission of the proposal.
Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate. Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission. Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that RAPID, EAGER, and GOALI proposals can be submitted anytime during the year. Details about RAPID, EAGER, and GOALI are available in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Part 1, Chapter II, Section E: Types of Proposals.
Compliance: Proposals that are not compliant with the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.