IEE Research Financial Assistance

As-needed funding to support interdisciplinary energy and environmental research

The Institute of Energy and the Environment makes funding available to Penn State researchers working on interdisciplinary projects that align with IEE’s five research themes. Requests are accepted on an as-needed basis at any time and are subject to the availability of funds. Three types of funding requests may be submitted:

  • Rapid: quick funding for urgent research
  • Rescue: short-term funding for existing projects
  • Reach: support for large external proposals

We understand that the cost of research support can vary widely, so there is no set minimum or maximum dollar amount for proposals. We encourage researchers to apply for the funding they need, regardless of the size of their project or the requested support. 

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Application for Rapid, Rescue, or Reach funding includes filling out a brief online form.

Apply now

Rapid Funding

A gloved hand takes samples from a stream

Rapid funding is used for requests that have a severe urgency regarding the availability of or access to data, facilities, or specialized equipment, including quick-response research on disasters or similar unanticipated events. This funding is not meant to support longer-term efforts. Funding can be used for (but is not limited to):

  • Travel to a site and lodging
  • Sampling supplies and special equipment needs
  • Laboratory testing fees

Rapid funding proposals must describe why the proposed research is urgent and why Rapid funding would be the most appropriate mechanism for supporting the proposed work. 

Rescue Funding

A researcher in a white coat looks into a microscope in a lab

Rescue funding provides short-term funding for existing projects that, due to unexpected or unanticipated situations, require additional financial support to achieve their goals. This funding may be used to help recover an initiative that has or will stall in progress due to a gap in funding. Funding can be used for (but is not limited to):

  • Student/postdoc funding that is running out
  • Fees for sample analysis that exceed current funding

Reach Funding

People working at a conference table with papers and a laptop

Reach funding empowers researchers to write large, interdisciplinary, and multi-investigator proposals that target significant external grants. Funding can be used for (but is not limited to):

  • Postdoc assistance in writing proposals
  • Graduate student funding
  • Summer funding
  • Course buyout (not preferred, but possible with specific conditions)

Reach funding proposals must include the specific grants that are being targeted with the proposal being developed.

Evaluation of Proposals

Proposals for Rapid, Rescue, or Reach funding assistance will be evaluated by IEE leadership, in consultation with other Penn State researchers, based on four criteria. Funding is subject to availability, and meeting all criteria does not guarantee that funding will be awarded. The application process is intended to be straightforward and can be initiated by submitting a proposal via the online form. Applicants will be contacted to discuss their request and if further information is required. A list of funded requests will be published on the IEE website.

Need Does the proposal seek to fill a funding gap that other Penn State or external funding sources cannot otherwise meet? 
Relevance Does the request fit the objectives of the funding type (Rapid, Rescue, Reach) and align with one or more of IEE's research themes?
Collaboration Does the proposed funding benefit and facilitate a more robust energy and environment research community, especially across colleges and disciplines?
Impact What is the likelihood that the proposed funding will provide measurable research growth beyond the direct funds associated with the request?