Now congressional Republicans are digging through scientists’ grant proposals

Read the full story in Grist.

When scientists across the country need money for research projects, one place they often turn is the National Science Foundation. The NSF is an independent federal agency with an annual budget of about $7 billion, which it doles out to fund about a quarter of all federally supported science research.

Of course, the agency doesn’t just give money away to anyone who asks. Proposals have to survive a rigorous review process that includes close scrutiny by a panel of top scientists in the relevant field. Competition is fierce: Of the 49,000 proposals submitted in 2013, only a fifth were ultimately funded. So as far as most scientists are concerned, an NSF grant is about the highest mark of scientific legitimacy a research project can get.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) apparently disagrees. Over the last 18 months, Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has launched an aggressive campaign against what he sees as misguided money management at NSF that fritters funds away on frivolous research. Research on ridiculous things like, you know, climate change.

BoatUS Foundation Accepting Grant Applications for Safe and Clean Boating Projects

The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is accepting applications to its Grassroots Grants Program, which annually awards funds to nonprofit organizations, boating clubs, and student groups in the United States that provide education about safe and clean boating.

The foundation is looking for creative projects that promote safe and clean boating on local waterways. Past topics have ranged from PSAs on the effects of boating under the influence to hands-on education about the effects of marine debris.

2015 EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

Due Date: December 15, 2014
Full solicitation

EPA is making available funding to support activities designed to empower and educate communities to understand environmental and public health issues and to identify ways to address these issues at the local level. The funding will focus on proposals supporting community-based preparedness and community climate resiliency efforts. Examples of community resilience projects that will receive consideration include improving water use efficiency and installing green infrastructure to increase resilience to heavy storms.

USDA FY14 Rural Community Development Initiative

Due date: November 12, 2014

USDA is making available funds to develop the capacity and ability of qualified private, non-profit community-based housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities, and federally recognized Native American tribes to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development in rural areas. Applications that consider technical assistance for the development of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements can receive additional consideration.


FY 2014 Regional Innovation Grants (U.S. Economic Development Administration Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

Application due date: November 3, 2014
Full solicitation

EDA is seeking applications for three programs that develop regional innovation strategies: the i6 Challenge ($8 million available), Science and Research Park Development Grants ($5 million available), and Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds ($2 million available).

The i6 Challenge aims to commercialize innovations, ideas, intellectual property and research into viable companies; the Science and Research Park Development Grants seek to provide research hubs and increase regional competitiveness; and the Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds are intended to create sustainable financing institutions for innovation-based startups. Science and Research Park Development Grant applications in the field of energy efficient building technologies, renewable energy, and cogeneration can receive extra consideration.

NOAA Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise Program

Due date: November 18, 2014
Full solicitation

NOAA is seeking applications to support management of regional and local ecosystem effects of sea level rise and coastal inundation through targeted research on key technologies, natural and nature-based infrastructure, physical and biological processes, and model evaluation. The funding is intended to integrate dynamic physical and biological processes with sea level rise and coastal inundation to improve the prediction of coastal ecosystem effects to enable enhanced coastal resiliency.

How green energy crowdfunding is ‘coming of age’

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Triodos Renewables’ $7.95 million crowdfunded share issue is a sign that peer-to-peer lending for green energy products is “coming of age,” claims the company behind the initiative.

The renewables investment arm of Triodos Bank recently launched the offer to fund an expansion of its 11-project, 53MW portfolio, with investors able to pledge as little as $80 — the lowest minimum investment for a Triodos Renewables share issue.

The company, which has 5,000 shareholders, said it wants to ensure investing in renewable energy is “an option for everyone” and has teamed up with crowd financing platform Trillion Fund to promote and distribute the offer, timed to coincide with Good Money Week.