EREF Research Grants on Sustainable Solid Waste Management

The sustainability movement has reached the business models of nearly every industry in the United States, and many companies, municipalities and states have set aggressive sustainability goals that include how waste stream are being managed.  The EREF Board of Directors has set an initiative to ensure research funded reflects EREF’s long-term strategic plan to address all areas of integrated solid waste management, with a strong focus towards research that increased sustainable solid waste management practices.

EREF is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is one of the largest sources of funding for solid waste research in North America.  EREF is not affiliated with any other entity or group and governed by a duly elected Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors is the decision-making body that has responsibility for establishing policies that define program interests and fundamental objectives to be served by the Foundation.

Definition of solid waste used in this call for proposals

It should be noted that EREF defines solid waste to include:

  • municipal solid waste (e.g. residential, commercial, institutional)
  • construction & demolition debris
  • certain industrial wastes (e.g. exploration & production waste, coal ash) and
  • other wastes typically managed by the solid waste industry or generated by the public not included in the above items (e.g. electronic waste, disaster debris, etc).

Agricultural wastes (that aren’t handled by the waste industry), nuclear waste, and land applied wastewater treatment sludge are generally not included in this definition.

Application process

Pre-Proposal Process for Proposal Submission

Pre-proposals are required prior to submitting a full proposal using the template provided. All pre-proposals must adhere to the criteria noted and be submitted by the established deadlines.  Pre-proposals submitted in response to this RFP that do not fit within the topic areas noted will not be reviewed.

Research Topic Areas

Pre-proposal topics must relate to sustainable solid waste management practices and pertain to the following topic areas:

  • Waste minimization
  • Recycling
  • Waste conversion to energy, biofuels, chemicals or other useful products.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following technologies:
    • Waste-to-energy
    • Anaerobic digestion
    • Composting
    • Other thermal or biological conversion technologies
  • Strategies to promote diversion to higher and better uses (e.g. organics diversion, market analysis, optimized material management, logistics, etc.)
  • Landfilling

Desirable aspects of the above topics, in addition to or as part of hypothesis driven applied research, also include: economic or cost/benefit analyses, feasibility studies for untested technologies or management strategies, life cycle analysis or inventory, and analyses of policies that relate to the above.

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, as described later in this document.

Typical Award Amount and Project Duration

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.  It should be noted that proposed research in excess of $300,000 and longer than 3 years should contain sufficient details that justify the need for the higher than average amount requested and longer project duration.

Submission Criteria

Non-U.S. Institutions

There are no restrictions in regards to geographic location.  Any U.S. or non-U.S. institutions are eligible to apply.

Non-Academic Institutions

Proposals will be accepted from non-academic institutions provided the principal investigators are qualified to conduct the research.

Multiple Institutions

Submissions may include multiple institutions.

Who Can Serve as a Principal Investigator

Principal investigators (PI) must be qualified to do the work proposed and should be experts in the subject matter referenced in the pre-proposal/proposal. Typically this would include full-time faculty at academic institutions, post-doctoral employees, and principals or senior personnel at non-academic institutions. Graduate students are not eligible to be principal investigators.  However, graduate students are encouraged to consider applying to EREF’s scholarship program (see the EREF website for details).

Overhead Costs

EREF will not pay indirect or overhead costs in excess of 25%. For non-academic institutions, the definition of overhead can vary.  However, typically this refers to payment that does not a time and materials rate multiplier of 1.25. Please contact EREF if your firm does not fit this model to discuss defining an appropriate overhead definition.

Submittal Deadlines

EREF has two deadlines per year for pre-proposals:

  • January 6
  • June 1

Pre-proposals will be accepted starting from 15 days prior to the deadline date and up to the close of business (5:00 p.m. eastern time) on the deadline date.  Proposals must be received during this window to be considered.  If any of the above dates fall on a weekend, then the deadline will be the Monday following the due date.

call website: https://erefdn.org/research-grants-projects/how-to-apply-for-grant/


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