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The Illinois Energy Scholars maintain an email list for sharing opportunities for research funding, industry partnerships, student funding, and education and outreach activities. If you are a faculty-level researcher who would like to be counted among the Illinois Energy Scholars and receive these updates, please email us at with the subject line, “Add an Energy Scholar.”

Grant and Other Opportunities ...

Recent calls for proposals from major funding agencies, as well as speaking opportunities and other announcements for Illinois faculty-level scholars.

February 2021: U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E


A message from iSEE Acting Associate Director for Research Jeremy Guest: 


Please find a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) below from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Here is the Lewis-Burke summary >>>
This opportunity encompasses a WIDE RANGE of topics, and I encourage everyone to take a look. General categories include Grid, Transportation, Building Efficiency, Power Generation and Energy Production (Fossil, Nuclear, Renewable), Bioenergy, and Other Energy Technologies (including water production/reuse, thermal energy storage, manufacturing, data centers and computation, heat recovery, etc.).
RFP/FOA topic: OPEN 2021
Questions Deadline (estimated*): March 26, 2021
Concept Paper Deadline (estimated*): April 6, 2021
Funding (total): $250,000-$10,000,000
Duration: 3 years
General details about OPEN 2021: 
*Deadlines are included in this summary to help folks get a sense for the timeline for the call for proposals. If you are interested in submitting to this call for proposals, please review the RFP/FOA for yourself to identify deadlines, submittal requirements, etc. 
February 2021: NSF EarthCube

A message from iSEE Acting Associate Director for Research Jeremy Guest: 


Please find a National Science Foundation solicitation (request for proposals, RFP) below:

RFP/FOA topic: EarthCube: Developing a Community-Driven Data and Knowledge Environment for the Geosciences
Full Proposal Deadline (estimated*): March 2, 2021
Funding (total): Check with program manager, but looks to be something like $500,000-$2,000,000
Duration: Up to 3 years
February 2021: Several Upcoming Opportunities through U.S. Department of Energy

A message from iSEE Acting Associate Director for Research Jeremy Guest: 


Please find several funding opportunity announcements (FOAs), requests for information (RFIs), and annual meetings from the U.S. Department of Energy below (and attached):
RFP/FOA topic: X-Stack: Programming environments for scientific computing
Pre-application Deadline (estimated*): March 1, 2021
Funding (total): $750,000-$2,700,000 for DOE National Labs, $300,000-$900,000 for all other applicants
Duration: 3 years
RFP/FOA topic: Engineering-Scale testing and validation of algae-based technologies and bioproducts
Full application Deadline (estimated*): March 2, 2021
Funding (total): $2,000,000
Duration: 2-3 years
RFP/FOA topic: Carbon Capture R&D: Bench-Scale Testing of Direct Air Capture Components (TRL 3) and Initial Engineering Design for Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Systems from Air (TRL 6)
Full application Deadline (estimated*): March 5, 2021
*Deadlines are included in this summary to help folks get a sense for the timeline for the call for proposals. If you are interested in submitting to this call for proposals, please review the RFP/FOA for yourself to identify deadlines, submittal requirements, etc. 
See this PDF for:
- Plastics Innovation Challenge Draft Roadmap
- High Energy Physics and Space-Based Astrophysics
- Creating a Robust Accelerator Science and Technology Ecosystem
Annual Meetings:
- Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Project Peer Review
- Hydrogen Program Annual Merit Review & Peer Review Meeting
January 2021: Environmental Research & Education Foundation

Request for Pre-Proposals – Management of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Landfills

Pre-proposals due Feb. 5, 2021.


The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) Board of Directors has identified a high priority research topic in the area of managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills and has issued a request for pre-proposals (RFP) on the topic to support the long-term needs and strategic direction of the solid waste industry.

Management of GHG emissions from landfills is an important aspect of the day to day operation of landfills across the US due to the need for management of landfill gas (LFG). This process is complex and site specific depending on the operational conditions and geographical location and will continue to be even more challenging as federal, state and/or local agencies and sustainability organizations establish more stringent standards for reporting and reducing emissions. The emission of focus for this RFP is methane and includes the generation, collection, quantification and utilization. Understanding the generation, collection and management of methane emissions holistically at landfills is important to not only reduce GHG emissions, but also to demonstrate how operational and regulatory guidance impacts estimated, measured or computed emission rates. In order to be able to address these aspects of the management of methane emissions at landfills, the industry needs to be able to overcome challenges with quantifying emissions due to the varying waste composition and the complexity of the landfill environment and ability to collect reproducible and accurate field data.

Research Focus Areas

Submissions of scientific research pre-proposals related to the management of methane emissions from MSW landfills are invited in the following areas:

  • Methodologies for Direct Emission Measurements (baseline emissions and emission reductions)
    • surface emission monitoring (SEM) technologies
    • remote sensing using ground, aerial and satellite-based technologies to measure emissions
    • what methodologies and algorithms should be used to turn measured methane concentration data into flux or emission values
    • utilization of industry data to correlate and validate new methodologies relative to currently approved regulatory methods
  • Comparison of Regulatory Reporting Guidelines to Industry Measured Data
    • how do methane emissions estimated using the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency GHG reporting rule compare to measured data from the various technologies being used by the solid waste industry?
  • Emission Generation and Characterization
    • methane generation, oxidation and fugitive emission quantification
    • approach to determine overall facility emissions by integrating existing and new methods of direct emissions measurements
  • Methane Emission Reduction Strategies


Pre-proposals submitted in response to this RFP should consider the focus areas noted herein. Projects and research previously funded by the Foundation can be viewed on its website. Previously awarded grants have ranged from $15,000 to over $500,000 with the average grant amount in recent years being $160,000. Typical project durations are about 2 years.


Submission Instructions and Deadline

The pre-proposal template must be used for all submissions and is available online. This template also includes details on formatting your submission. Pre-proposal submissions are limited to two submissions per primary Principal Investigator (PI), however a PI may be on multiple pre-proposals if it is demonstrated that it will not affect his or her ability to fulfill the scope of work in the primary investigation.

All submissions must include the project duration and budget. If invited to submit a full proposal, the budget cannot exceed the amount outlined in the pre-proposal submission. EREF will not pay indirect or overhead costs in excess of 25%. Cost sharing is permitted, but not required. Additional details on budget guidelines and restrictions can be found on EREF’s website.

Pre-proposals are currently being accepted online and will continue until the close of business (5 p.m. eastern time) on Feb. 5, 2021. Pre-proposals must be received during this window to be considered. Late submissions will not be accepted.


Review Process

All pre-proposals received are screened by EREF staff. Shortlisted pre-proposals will be reviewed and discussed by the EREF Research Council’s Pre-Proposal Selection Committee. This review process can take up to 12 weeks from the solicitation deadline. Full details on the review process can be found on EREF’s website. Investigators invited to submit a full proposal will be given at least 30 calendar days to prepare their submission.


Educational Projects

Note that one of EREF’s primary focal areas within its mission is to provide education. However, education components such as the development of educational materials or courses should not be included in a proposed project. EREF welcomes collaborations or partnerships with entities seeking to develop educational materials for sustainable solid waste management, including conferences or events, which advance the Foundation’s educational mission. Grants are typically not provided to support the development of educational projects. Thus, concepts for educational projects should NOT be submitted as a pre-proposal. Rather, please contact EREF at (919) 861-6876 ext. 108 or to discuss the concept.


Frequently Asked Questions

Typical questions pertaining to pre-proposal review and notifications, formatting requirements, submittal process (pre-proposal and proposal), typical award amounts and duration, and criteria for submissions are outlined on the EREF website.


Invitation to Submit Full Proposals

Upon submission, pre-proposals will be examined by a selection committee and successful pre-proposals will be invited to submit a full proposal for consideration. Full proposals will then be subjected to EREF's review process.


EREF is a 501(c)3 class charity that funds and directs scientific research and educational initiatives for waste management practices to benefit industry participants and the communities they serve.

May 2020: International Joint Commission — Great Lakes Board


Please be advised that the IJC Great Lakes Boards are tentatively planning to post solicitations for projects listed below on a U.S. GSA schedule by July. The most likely GSA schedule will be the Environmental Services Schedule

To be able to respond to these IJC RFPs, potential vendors must be registered as a vendor on the GSA schedule. Registration is free, but the process may take 30-180 days

If you are interested in submitting a proposal(s) for the projects, please register using this link:

Please also see email below for additional information about the registration.


Tentative Great Lakes Board projects:

  • Envisioning Our Great Lakes Future: Scenarios, Opportunities, Threats and Responsive Governance
  • Third Binational Great Lakes Basin Poll
  • Operationalizing an Early Warning System for the Great Lakes
  • Synthesis of IJC Nutrients-related Projects
  • Development of Surface and Ground Water Integration Model and Management Framework


Thank you for your support of the IJC’s work in the protection of the Great Lakes!


Lizhu Wang, Ph.D.

Environmental Science Advisor/Secretariat of SAB-RCC

International Joint Commission

Great Lakes Regional Office

100 Ouellette Ave, Windsor, ON N9A 6T3

Tel: 519-562-4980


March 2020: NSF Gen-4 Engineering Research Centers (ERC) Program new solicitation (NSF-20-553)


Dear Colleagues,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) has announced a new solicitation (NSF-20-553) under the Gen-4 Engineering Research Centers (ERC) Program.

With its long history and proud tradition, the ERC Program continues to be a landmark program in federal support for large-scale center-type university research. These centers provide an interdisciplinary environment where academe and industry focus together on transformative fundamental research to advance complex engineered systems that are important for the Nation's future. NSF has continually refined the goals of the ERC program to meet evolving needs. The NSF-requested 2017 study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) “A New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research” recommends that NSF place a greater emphasis on forming research centers focused on convergent research and education approaches that address challenges with significant societal impact. Building upon the NASEM’s recommendations, the new Gen-4 (fourth generation) ERC Program has been created.  The Gen-4 ERCs will continue to focus on advancing engineered systems through inclusive cross-disciplinary and cross-sector partnerships, while placing emphasis on basic research with high-risk/high-payoff ideas that will lead to societal impact through convergent approaches, engaging stakeholder communities, and strengthening team formation.  This new solicitation (NSF-20-553) is the second Gen-4 ERC solicitation. 

Thank you for your kind attention and please spread the news!



Kon-Well Wang, Ph. D.

Division Director

Division of Engineering Education and Centers

Directorate for Engineering

2415 Eisenhower Avenue

National Science Foundation, Alexandria, VA 22314