Forty teams of graduate and undergraduate students from across the country are each receive grants a $15,000 government grant for research proposals that develop solutions to real-world water and environmental challenges. The government grant funding, provided through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Phase I grants, was recently announced by the Agency.
“The P3 program offers a unique opportunity for students to develop and showcase innovative designs for environmental solutions,” said Lek Kadeli, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “As we enter the 10th year of the government grant program, the ingenuity and passion of the students continue to provide solutions that protect health and the environment while spurring economic development.”
This year’s P3 Phase I teams come from 34 universities in 26 states. Their projects cover a variety of environmental and health topics, such as the creation of additives that allow for eco-friendly degradation of mulch, a sustainable water treatment facility for communities with arsenic in their groundwater, mobile phone apps for citizen scientists to monitor the health of habitats and streams, and biodegradable food packaging.
Some past P3 government grant winners have gone on to start their own businesses. In 2004, an award-winning P3 team from Oberlin College launched Lucid Design, Inc., a company that designs and sells real-time energy management systems. Lucid’s clients range from Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and universities to K-12 schools. With 26 employees, the company averages $1.5 million in annual revenue helping clients change their behavior to reduce energy consumption.
Each team will use the government grant award to develop their projects throughout the academic year. In the spring, they will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Sustainable Design Expo. While at the Expo, teams will share their designs and compete for EPA’s P3 Award and a Phase II government grant of up to $90,000 to further develop their projects. Team projects are judged by a panel of environmental experts. In the past, P3 Phase II teams have gone on to create small businesses, which are helping to further America’s green economy, thanks to government grants.
(Adapted from an article appearing on www.waterworld.com)