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Environmental Engineering

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See PD 20-1440 for the latest version.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The Environmental Engineering program is part of the Environmental Engineering and Sustainability cluster, which includes also 1) Environmental Sustainability; and 2) Biological and Environmental Interactions of Nanoscale Materials.

The goal of the Environmental Engineering program is to support transformative research which applies scientific and engineering principles to avoid or minimize solid, liquid, and gaseous discharges, resulting from human activities on land, inland and coastal waters, and air, while promoting resource and energy conservation and recovery. The program also fosters cutting-edge scientific research for identifying, evaluating, and monitoring the waste assimilative capacity of the natural environment and for removing or reducing contaminants from polluted air, water, and soils. Any proposal investigating sensors, materials or devices that does not integrate these products with an environmental engineering activity or area of research may be returned without review.

Major areas of interest include:

  • Enhancing the availability of high quality water supplies: Development of innovative biological, chemical and physical treatment processes to meet the growing demand for water; investigation of processes that remove and degrade contaminants, remediate contaminated soil and groundwater, and convert wastewaters into water suitable for reuse; investigation of environmental engineering aspects of urban watersheds, reservoirs, estuaries and storm water management; investigation of biogeochemical and transport processes driving water quality in the aquatic and subsurface environment. (Please note that water treatment research targeting chemical or physical separation processes (e.g. membranes) should be submitted to the Process Separations Program, CBET 1417).
  • Fate and transport of contaminants of emerging concern in air, water, solid waste, and soils: Investigate the fate, transport, and remediation of potentially harmful contaminants and their by-products. (Please note that research concerning nanomaterials should be submitted to Biological and Environmental Interactions of Nanoscale Materials, CBET 1179).

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years. The typical annual award size for the program is around $110,000 per year. Principal Investigators requesting a higher amount must consult with the Program Director prior to the submission of a proposal, to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.


Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field. Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research. The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged. Award duration is five years. The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information. 

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate. Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission. Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found hereGrant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be found here.

COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.

Unsolicited proposals received outside of the Announced Proposal Window dates will be returned without review.


Program contacts

Karl J. Rockne
krockne@nsf.gov 703-292-5356

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