The Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) has identified five strategic research themes where IEE believes that Penn State can achieve global prominence (listed alphabetically): Climate and Ecosystem Change; Future Energy Supply; Health and the Environment; Smart Energy Systems; and Water and Biogeochemical Cycles.

IEE has established a Seed Grant Program with approximately $400,000 available to foster basic and applied research focused on these strategic research themes. Preferred activities for funding under the Seed Grant Program are:
• Development of new interdisciplinary research teams to position them for substantial external funding success
• Novel research in theme areas, especially high-risk proof of concept projects
• Demonstrated collaborations between junior and senior faculty involved in research development and mentorship

For the 2015-2016 IEE Seed Grant Program we are highlighting several emerging opportunities, including health and the environment, the water energy nexus, climate change, and the future of the electric grid. We are particularly interested in projects that develop and enable new scholarly communities around important energy and environmental datasets, and efforts that extend data and knowledge to have a positive impact on society.

Update (10/21/15): Funds up to $5,000 can be awarded for a single investigator project, up to $10,000 for two or more faculty from the same college (University Park) or Commonwealth Campus, and up to $25,000 for multi college (across University Park) and multi campus (between campuses) collaborative grants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to download an FAQ list:

Webinar Oct. 21

IEE  held a webinar to discuss the pre-proposal process. You may log on to the webinar at that time here:

The Powerpoint slideshow that was presented during that webinar is available for download here:

Deadlines and Instructions

Pre-proposal deadline: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, 5:00 p.m. EST

Click here to download the full Request for Proposals with complete instructions:

Click here to upload a pre-proposal

Please direct any questions regarding the proposal process to


Hughes - Computing and plant disease, Leveraging rapid advances in computer science to feed the world and preserve the environment, College of Agricultural Sciences

Miller - Unmanned Aerial Systems Based land characterization, Mapping and Measuring Forests and Wetlands with a UAS-Based Lidar/Multispectral System, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Taylor - Mechanisms of Rapid Fire Spread, Characterizing mechanisms of rapid fire spread under low wind speed conditions that lead to high intensity/severity fire College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Leites - Genotype to Understanding Adaptation in Forest Trees, Linking genotype, phenotype and environment to understand adaptation to climate in forest trees, College of Agricultural Sciences

Xuan - Soot-Emissions in Fuel Flexible Combustors, Accurate Prediction of Soot Emissions and Morphology in Turbulent, Fuel-Flexible Combustors, College of Engineering

Brennan - Biofuel production from wastewater, Sustainable  biofuel  production  from  ecological  wastewater  treatment  systems: maximizing starch content and carboxylic acid production from aquatic plant biomass, College of Engineering

Redwing - High Efficiency Tandem Photovoltaics, High Efficiency Sn(S,Se) 2 /Crystalline Silicon Tandem Photovolatics, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Maranas -  Perfluorooctane Sulfanate on Obesity Outcomes, Modeling the Host-Gut Microbiota Metabolic Interactions to Elucidate the Role of Perfluorooctane Sulfanate on Obesity Outcomes, College of Engineering

Taff - Healthy Parks Criteria Tools, Examining the Healthy Parks Criteria Tools & Informing Baseline Indicators of Health, College of Health and Human Development

Bahnfleth - Dessicant Dehumidifier Prototype, Development and Benchmarking of a Full-Scale Desiccant Dehumidifier Prototype Utilizing Microwave for Desiccant Regeneration and Inactivation of Airborne Microorganisms, College of Engineering

Jenkins - Saharan dust for evaluating disease risk across the meningitis belt, Collecting and characterizing Saharan dust and associated pathogens for evaluating disease risk across the meningitis belt and Cape Verde, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Rim - Nanoparticles in Indoor Air, Composition, Morphology, Size, and Agglomeration of Nanoparticles in Indoor Air, College of Engineering

Giebink - LED efficiency roll-off, Unraveling efficiency roll-off in white light emitting diodes, College of Engineering

Litwhiler - DC Microgrid Data Acquisition, An Integrated Platform For DC Microgrid Data Acquisition And Stationary Energy Storage System Optimization, Penn State Berks

Wang - Solid-state Ion Conductors, Development of Solid‐State Ion Conductors    for Safe,  High‐Performance Energy Storage Devices, College of Engineering

Warner - Sediment record in Upper Allegheny Watershed, Sediment Record of Anthropogenic Changes in the Upper Allegheny Watershed, College of Engineering

Nam - Nanomembranes for Water Purification, Development of Dynamic Controlled Nano-membranes for Water Purification, College of Engineering

Vander Wal - Capacitive desalination, Capacitive Desalination for Agriculture Using Biochar, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Yoxtheimer - Novel Groundwater Analysis, Novel Analytical Methods for Groundwater Quality Analysis Near Shale Energy Sites, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences