Incentivizing Cross-Disciplinary Research in Sustainability

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration by offering a variety of financial resources and support for teams of scholars investigating sustainability issues that focus on the interrelatedness of energy, environment, and economic development. Since its inception, ACSF has seeded more than 50 cross-cutting research efforts, generating over $92 million of external follow-on funding to advance initiatives from concept to impact. Outlined below is the Center's suite of funding opportunities for Cornell faculty, students, and research staff. Submissions for grant support are evaluated on individual merit as well as their contribution to ACSF goals.

Faculty Funding Opportunities

Academic Venture Fund (AVF)

AVF - Bee pollinating apple flowerACSF's keystone funding initiative primarily supports novel, multidisciplinary research efforts that explore the Center’s focal areas of energy, environment, and economic development. Projects that receive AVF seed grants demonstrate the potential to advance a cross-cutting research agenda and engage external partners from industry, government, nongovernmental organizations, and foundations.
(Deadline: April (typically);
Letters of intent Due in February)

Student Funding Opportunities

Summer Institute and Fellowships

ART - Wood delivery for market in AfricaThe Summer Institute is an annual four-day event that will bring together researchers (late-stage graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, and early career faculty) around a theme related to agrarian development. Institute sessions will cover theory, methodology, and research design and provide a forum for the productive exchange of ideas. Fellows will be awarded small annual research grants. Eligible candidates are Cornell researchers from any discipline focused on agrarian issues with current standing as a post-A exam PhD student or postdoctoral research associate.
(Deadline: TBD)

Rapid Response Fund (RRF)

RRF - testing temperature in lavaRRF grant proposals are accepted quarterly to provide modest support for urgent or time-sensitive ventures such as conferences, workshops, grants, and smaller seed projects. RRF proposals undergo accelerated review, resulting in expedited turnaround time.
(Deadlines: March, June, September, December)

Sustainable Biodiversity Fund (SBF)

SBF - Dogbane beetleCornell graduate students and postdoctoral research associates from all disciplines are encouraged to apply for the SBF grant to pursue innovative, integrated, and interdisciplinary research support outside the purview of their current dissertation or postdoctoral research plan. Biodiversity research proposals will optimally span disciplines, building new collaborations across campus between the award recipient and two faculty advisors.
(Deadline: October)

Proposal Support

Proposal Support - platinum latticeThe Center offers specialized proposal development support for faculty engaging in broad research collaborations, both internally and externally. Securing financial support from external partners and major grant-issuing institutions often requires cost-matching from investigators’ home institutions. ACSF prioritizes proposals developed with substantive ACSF engagement and prepared with advance consideration.
(Rolling submissions)

Cross-Scale Biogeochemistry & Climate Grants (CSBC)

CSBC - observations in Arnot ForestGrowing out of the NSF Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training Grant, CSBC awards are granted to those engaging in the interdisciplinary study of global climate change on multiple biogeochemical scales. Cornell graduate students from any field with research interests in biogeochemistry and climate change are encouraged to apply.
(Deadline: October)

CARE-Cornell & Impact through Innovation Fund (IIF)

IIF - Cattle along river in AfricaThis unique collaboration links Cornell researchers to CARE professionals in the developing world. An annual Impact through Innovation Fund program finances projects that foster sustainable solutions for food security and economic development.
(Deadline: TBD)

Iscol Internships

Iscol Interns - intern in apple fieldPartnering with the Environmental Defense Fund, ACSF provides undergraduates with a hands-on opportunity of a lifetime. Coordinated through Cornell Career Services, the Iscol summer internship exposes undergraduates to the inner workings of one of the nation’s leading environmental advocacy groups, where they work on sustainability issues in a vibrant workplace. This program is funded by Jill and Ken Iscol.
(Deadline: February)

TNC-CU NatureNet Fellows

TNC-CU Fellows - Blaschka glass model of coralIn partnership with Cornell and five other leading universities, The Nature Conservancy has established a NatureNet Science Fellows Program to create a reservoir of interdisciplinary science talent that will carry out the new work of conservation.
(Deadline: February)