Call for Proposals: Mini-Grants for Agricultural and Water Quality; and Solid Waste Management

Download the Call for Proposals PDF

The purpose of this mini-grant program, offered by Syracuse EFC with support from United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, is to spur research and support projects in two categories: Category 1,  Agricultural and Water Quality; and Category 2, Sustainable Materials Management. In Category 1, Syracuse EFC seeks proposals that address agricultural best management practices, rural community economic sustainability, and agricultural economic development. In Category 2, Syracuse EFC seeks proposals that address sustainable materials management issues, which includes solid waste reduction, recycling, materials reuse, organics management, and composting. These two categories of mini-grants are intended to provide support to students and academic researchers as well as non-governmental organizations and agencies whose work is focused on these topics in New York State and/or Puerto Rico (Category 2 only).

Category 1: Agricultural and Water Quality (New York State only)

Objectives

This mini-grant program seeks to engage students in rural land-use and water issues and to promote better stewardship of rural communities and lands as a direct result of research and outreach. All awardees will be required to prepare a paper, which documents the research and explains the implications of the results as well as prepare a community presentation following the completion of the project. Syracuse EFC staff members may provide support to the awardee with the community presentation (location, publicizing the event, who to invite, etc.)

Below are examples of questions that could be incorporated into a fundable research project. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but provides guidance on possible areas of exploration.

Possible Category 1 Project Topics:

·    GIS data on agricultural lands and watersheds, and implications;

·    Effectiveness of BMP implementation and innovative BMP practices;

·    Building networks among local agricultural programs and agencies;

·    On-site waste management technologies;

·    Social aspects of sustaining NY agriculture;

·    How New York agricultural communities are responding to sustainability challenges such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, preservation of water quality, and integration of innovative technology (i.e., renewable energy, green infrastructure);

·    Barriers farmers perceive to operating sustainably;

·    Resources needed by farmers to enable more sustainable operation and production; and,

·    Assessment of the general knowledge level of farmers relating to environmental topics.

 

Category 2: Sustainable Materials Management (New York State and Puerto Rico)

Objectives:

This mini-grant program seeks to engage students and project leaders working in the public or private sector in New York and Puerto Rico with rural solid waste management/sustainable materials management (SMM) issues and to promote better stewardship of rural communities and lands as a direct result of research and outreach. All awardees will be required to prepare a paper that documents the research and explains the implications of the results, as well as prepare a community presentation following the completion of the project. Syracuse EFC staff may provide support to the awardees with the community presentation (location selection, publicizing the event, who to invite, etc.). Below are examples of questions that could be incorporated into a fundable project. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but provides guidance on possible areas of exploration.

Possible Category 2 Mini-Grant Project Topics:

·  GIS data on solid waste management, and implications;

·  Best Management Practices (BMP) implementation and innovation;

·  Building networks among local solid waste management programs and agencies;

·  On-site waste management technologies;

·  Social aspects of supporting New York and Puerto Rico SMM;

·  Local perceptions on SMM;

·  How New York and/or Puerto Rican rural communities are responding to

sustainability challenges such as energy efficiency, recycling, waste reduction, product stewardship, organics management, life cycle analysis, and/or integration of innovative technology;

·  Perceived barriers that keep solid waste managers from operating sustainably;

·  Identification of resources needed by SWM operators to enable more sustainable operation and production; and,

·  Assessment of the general level of knowledge of SWM operators relating to environmental issues.

 

Who May Apply?

All students and researchers at academic institutions, governmental, and non-profit organizations with interest and expertise in either category above are invited to apply. The intent of this mini-grant is to provide support for students to engage with rural communities in NYS.

How Much Funding is Available?

For Category 1, Syracuse EFC will award three grants of up to $5,000 during one round of funding. For Category 2, Syracuse EFC will award four grants of up to $5,000, two each in New York and Puerto Rico. Grant funds may be used for approved budget purposes, which may include compensation for the principal investigator(s), student interns, consultant(s), graduate or undergraduate student support through a stipend and research assistants, as well as research materials, travel, and other necessary expenses. Grant funds may not be used for university or agency overhead, fringe or administrative charges.

How and When to Apply?

Please submit one hardcopy of your proposal, including appendices and any letters of support, and one electronic copy of the proposal in PDF format. Proposals must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Nov 11, 2011. Please mail hard copies to Khris Dodson, SyracuseCoE, 727 E. Washington Street, Syracuse, NY 13244. Awards will be announced no later than December 31, 2011. Work is anticipated to commence on January 1, 2012 and must be completed by August 31, 2012. No-Cost Extensions will not be an option.

The proposal should include the following information:

§  Description of the project

§  Discussion of how the project meets the objectives of Syracuse EFC mini-grant program as

described in this call for proposals

§  Discussion of the application of proposed research to the category for which you are

applying

§  Description of intended final project and how it will be disseminated to others in the

field, and what its expected utility will be

§  Timeline of activities

§  Detailed budget

 

Proposal Format:

A.  Cover Sheet:

1.   Project Title

2.   Principal Investigator Name, Affiliation, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone, and Email

3.   Collaborator(s) Name, Affiliation, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone, and Email

4.   Amount Requested

 

B.  Proposal: The text of the proposal should be no more than 3 pages, excluding references, budget, cover sheet, and supporting materials.

1.  Abstract: Briefly summarize the project’s focus and goal, scope of work, nature of any potential collaboration, and significance to research, education, and outreach pertaining to the category for which you are applying.

2.   Statement of the Project Focus: State the topics to be addressed by the project and in a clear and concise manner how the project relates to the objectives of this mini-grant program.

3.  Scope of Work: Describe the purpose and scope of work to be accomplished. Include the following:

o   Purpose of the project and specific objectives to be achieved;

o   Public benefits and implications for policy development; and,

o   End-products of the project and how these products could be used to further develop the project goals.

4.   Timeframe:  Provide a timeframe for completion of objectives and major milestones of the work.  Final reports will be due to the Syracuse EFC no later than September 30, 2012. No-Cost Extensions will not be allowed.

5.   Personnel and Collaboration: Describe the nature and degree of collaboration between those involved. Describe the personnel to be assigned to this project.  Include resumes of lead personnel. If an intern is involved in the project, list their major advisor or agency and describe how the intern will be selected.

 

C.  Budget: The budget must include the following items:  A separate budget justification is recommended.

1.     Amount of Funds Requested

2.     Matching Funds:  Matching funds are not required for this program however they are encouraged.  If matching funds are used, show them in the budget.

3.     Permanent Equipment:  This is defined as items having a life of two or more years and/or a cost of $500 or more.  For items fitting this description, you must attach a written justification.

4.     Indirect CostsIndirect costs are not eligible to be included in the mini-grant portion of the budget.

 

D.  Notification and Reporting Requirements:

Upon completion of the research project according to the schedule set forth above, grantees must submit a final written report that includes a description and chronology of the research and results, an accounting for grant funds, and copies of any publications/products developed. In addition, a short written progress and status report must be submitted not later than 90 days after a project begins. Upon award, a template will be distributed for final reports. Final reports will be due to the Syracuse EFC no later than September 30, 2012.

Questions?
Please direct all questions to Khris Dodson: 315-443-8818 or atkdodson@syracusecoe.org.