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2024 Environmental Innovations Initiative (EII) Grant Program for Research Communities

General Information

Program Description

The Environmental Innovations Initiative (EII) is pleased to announce the opening of the 2024 grant application cycle, inviting requests for funding to support research communities.

Research communities center on a theme of broad environmental significance aligning with the Initiative’s focus areas and fall into one or more of three tracks:

  • Stewardship of Nature: Key Concepts include: preservation, restoration, valuation, habitat, biodiversity, ecology, nature-based solutions
  • Climate Action: Key Concepts include: decarbonization, mitigation, adaptation, sequestration, migration, science-based targets
  • Societal Resilience: Key Concepts include: human health, well-being, justice, ecological health, economic prosperity, responsible consumption/production/waste management, disruption preparedness

Each research community should yield a public-facing outcome and provide concrete opportunities for student involvement.


  • Applicants must be a University of Pennsylvania standing and/or associated faculty member
  • Faculty-led applications may involve fellow faculty, students, staff members, and/or external partners as collaborators
  • Visiting faculty and postdocs are encouraged to engage with a standing faculty member to apply

Award Information

  • Generally, grants are awarded in amounts up to $25,000
  • EII funding may be used as matching funds for Penn Global’s Grant Program assuming the research community has a global scope
  • Funding can be awarded for the same community for up to 3 years. Previous applicants and awardees are also welcome to apply for new research communities.

Review Process

Selection Criteria

Penn Environmental Innovations Initiative will conduct an internal competition to select winners.

Proposals must be focused on one of EII’s current research community themes:

  • Stewardship of Nature
  • Climate Action
  • Societal Resilience
  1. EII selection criteria prioritize original research proposals led by Penn faculty that address climate and biodiversity crises and systemic inequalities. EII encourages inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations that demonstrate societal impact and methodological rigor and are in need of pilot funding.  
  2. Priority will be given to applications that integrate diverse disciplinary approaches and diverse team members.
  3. Successful applications will involve students in meaningful ways.
  4. Winning communities will be featured on the Initiative website and its newsletter and will be asked to present during a poster session during Climate Week in September 2024. 
  5. Each community must specify outputs that will result from this funding, including at least one publicly accessible product (op-ed, event, lesson plan for K-12, website, etc.).
  6. Feedback will not be provided on proposals that are not selected.

EII Application Review Process

Applications must contain the following:

  1. Project Name
  2. PI Name and Department / School 
  3. Names and Departments / Schools of additional collaborators 
  4. Track to which the project most closely connects (Stewardship of Nature, Climate Action, Societal Resilience)
  5. Project Overview
  6. Key deliverables, including public-facing outcome(s)
  7. Defined role for student engagement
  8. Metrics for success 
  9. A budget describing how EII funds would be spent
  10. Timeline for the activities that would be funded by the Initiative (NB: projects may be in progress and may go beyond the scope of the funding cycle.)
  11. Any internal or external partners who would be engaged in the project activities
  12. Any group that received research community funding previously should include information on key outcomes from the previous work and how funds were used. If possible, please attach or explain any deliverables.
  13. All materials must be submitted in a single PDF document of no more than three pages (11-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages).
  14. Applications must be submitted via email to by 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 15, 2024.
  15. The subject line of the email should be, EII_2024_applicant LAST name_applicant FIRST name.


Research Communities recipients must report to the Environmental Innovations Initiative throughout the year of funding. Reporting requirements: 

  • Two brief progress reports within the funding cycle are due on November 1, 2024, and February 7, 2025. 
  • One final report is due on May 24, 2025. 
  • Progress reports are meant to inform the staff of EII of the impact of the research communities. These updates also increase the work’s visibility via online and social media features. The responses can be brief and informal. Elements to highlight may include key accomplishments, number of students engaged, description of activities, participating partners, media links, and images. 
  • The final report summarizes the research community’s activities for the entire funding cycle. It should include sections on results, expenditures, and key deliverables. The final report should be cumulative and supplied in PDF format to allow sharing with EII’s leadership. 

Please refer to the FAQ page for additional guidance.