2024 Sustainable GeoCommunities Seed Grants

Aerial view of a populated area. Text: Sustainable Geocommunities; Research and Innovation Office

The Research and Innovation Office (RIO) is excited to announce a new seed grant program to support research projects aligned with the University of Minnesota's Sustainable GeoCommunities initiative. Sustainable GeoCommunities is an international program launched in April 2024 that includes partners at the University of Buffalo, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, a multicampus Indian university. The program aims to leverage geodesign thinking, geospatial technologies, and other research tools to help local communities around the world grow and thrive by meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

All proposals must include:

  • A lead PI, who is a faculty member at the University of Minnesota and a co-PI from the community of interest.
  • A local community partner from anywhere in the world. The co-PI must serve as the point of contact for the community.
  • Implementation plans for addressing a specific, community-driven problem (i.e., “solution”).
  • Application of Geodesign and/or Geographic Information Science (GISc) concepts to develop innovative solutions for achieving one or more sustainable development goals (SDGs). At least one SDG should be clearly addressed in the proposal.
  • Plans for testing, measurement, and validation of efficacy of the proposed solution.
  • Recommendations for policy developments (if the solution is successful) and/or opportunities for replication of the solution with other communities to sustain and broaden the impact of the proposed solution.
  • An explicit plan for seeking extramural funding including specific agencies, funding mechanisms, and potential timelines for applications. Provide examples of solicitations that could be potentially targeted.

RIO expects to fund up to four awards with budgets of up to $100,000/year for performance periods of up to three years. The total three-year funding request is limited to $300,000. The award period begins January 1, 2025, and lasts for up to three years (36 months). The annual release of funds for Years 2 and 3 is contingent on satisfactory progress toward meeting the project goals.

Key Dates

Mid-June - Application instructions available on the RFA webpage
August 30 - Letter of intent due
September 3 - Application opens
September 24 - Lead PI submits application to approvers (by 11:59 p.m.)
September 26 - Approvers submit application to RIO (by 11:59 p.m.)
December - Award notification
January 1, 2025 - Award period begins

Learn more and apply.

Questions? Please contact facgrant@umn.edu.