Department of Defense (DoD) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) funding available

The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) is seeking to fund environmental research and development proposals.  SERDP is DoD’s environmental science and technology program, planned and executed in partnership with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, with participation by numerous other Federal and non-Federal organizations.  The Program invests across the broad spectrum of basic and applied research, as well as advanced development.

Proposals responding to focused Statements of Need (SONs) in the following areas are requested:

  • Environmental Restoration — Research and technologies for the characterization, risk assessment, remediation, and management of contaminants in soil, sediments, and water.
  • Munitions Response — Technologies for the detection, classification, and remediation of military munitions on U.S. lands and waters.
  • Resource Conservation and Climate Change — Research that advances DoD’s management of its natural and cultural resources and improves understanding of climate change impacts.
  • Weapons Systems and Platforms — Research and technologies to reduce, control, and understand the sources of waste and emissions in the manufacturing, maintenance, and use of weapons systems and platforms.

Proposals responding to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 SONs will be selected through a competitive process.  Separate solicitations are available to Federal and non-Federal proposers.  The SONs and detailed instructions are available on the SERDP website.

The Core SERDP Solicitation provides funding in varying amounts for multi-year projects.  All Core Solicitation pre-proposals are due to SERDP January 5, 2017 by 2:00 p.m. ET.

SERDP also will be funding environmental research and development through the SERDP Exploratory Development (SEED) Solicitation.  The SEED Solicitation is designed to provide a limited amount of funding (not to exceed $200,000) for projects up to approximately one year in duration to investigate innovative approaches that entail high technical risk or require supporting data to provide proof of concept.  This year, SERDP is requesting SEED proposals for the Munitions Response program area.  The SONs and detailed instructions are available on the SERDP website. All SEED proposals are due March 7, 2017 by 2:00 p.m. ET.

To learn more about this funding opportunity, participate in the webinar SERDP Funding Opportunities conducted by SERDP Executive Director Dr. Herb Nelson and Deputy Director Dr. Andrea Leeson on November 4, 2016, from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET.  This briefing will offer valuable information for those who are interested in new funding opportunities with SERDP.  During the online seminar, participants may ask questions about the funding process, the current SERDP solicitation, and the proposal submission process.  Pre-registration for this webinar is required.  If you have difficulty registering, please contact the SERDP Support Office at or by telephone at 571-372-6565.

California, White House Launch Water Data Challenge

Read the full post at CivSource.

The state of California and the White House are coming together on a new open data challenge around California’s drought. The challenge is backed by Governor Brown’s Water Action Plan, which is a roadmap for the first five years of the state’s work on sustainable water management. The Governor and several state agencies are inviting developers to use the state’s open data to create applications that help save water.

The challenge will run from October 28 – December 5, 2016. Final entries must be submitted by 5:00 pm Pacific Time on December 5, 2016, and a closing event will be held on December 9, 2016.

Drones take off in plant ecological research

Read the full story from the Biological Society of America.

Long-term, broad-scale ecological data are critical to plant research, but often impossible to collect on foot. Traditional data-collection methods can be time consuming or dangerous, and can compromise habitats that are sensitive to human impact. Micro-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, eliminate these data-collection pitfalls by flying over landscapes to gather unobtrusive aerial image data.

A new review in a recent issue of Applications in Plant Sciences ( explores when and how to use drones in plant research.

Do We Have the Right Performance Indicators for the Circular Economy?: Insight into the Swiss Waste Management System

Haupt, M., Vadenbo, C. and Hellweg, S. (2016), Do We Have the Right Performance Indicators for the Circular Economy?: Insight into the Swiss Waste Management System. Journal of Industrial Ecology. doi:10.1111/jiec.12506 [Open access article]

Abstract: A material flow analysis of the 2012 Swiss waste management system is presented, highlighting the material content available from waste. Half of municipal solid waste (MSW) is materially recycled and the other half thermally treated with energy recovery. A key component of an industrial ecosystem is increasing the resource efficiency through circulating materials. Recycling rates (RRs), an indicator for the circulating behavior of materials, are often used as measure for the degree of circularity of an economy. This study provides an in-depth analysis of the recycling of paper, cardboard, aluminum, tinplate, glass, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from MSW in Switzerland by splitting the RRs into closed- and open-loop collection rate (CR) and RRs. Whereas CR refers to collected material that enters the recycling process, RRs measure the available secondary resources produced from recycling processes. For PET, the closed-loop CR of 45% and the open-loop CR of 40% compare to an RR of 31% and 37%, respectively (including exports and recycling of polyethylene and metals from collection). Official collection rates for paper and cardboard are very high (97%), whereas CR of 74% and 89% and RR of 59% and 81% for paper and cardboard, respectively, were found in the present study (including export). For a majority of the separately collected materials investigated, the rates that are determined are substantially lower than those that are officially communicated. Furthermore, given that official rates often do not provide information on the availability of secondary materials, the improvement potential for increased resource recovery is hidden.

What Walmart is Doing to Increase the Recyclability and Sustainability of Product Packaging

Read the full story at Waste360.

While Walmart Stores Inc. has been working toward a zero waste goal for at least a decade, the company is now hoping to motivate its suppliers to consider sustainability and recyclability in product packaging. By targeting three main areas—packaging optimization, sustainable sourcing and increased recycling—Walmart is looking to help make packaging more sustainable, while continuing to keep product prices low.

Last week, at a Sustainable Packaging Summit, Walmart released its Sustainable Packaging Playbook, a guidebook for suppliers to improve packaging sustainability. Hundreds of Walmart suppliers and merchants attended the meeting and viewed the playbook, which gave suppliers a clearer picture on what the leading retailer is looking for in terms of packaging sustainability.

University of Iowa wins $3 million grant to launch water sustainability graduate program

Read the full story from the University of Iowa.

The University of Iowa has received a five-year, $3 million National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) grant to develop a Sustainable Water Development graduate program.

Where Have All the Butterflies Gone?

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

Although bees’ troubles tend to receive more attention, butterflies have also had a tough go of it lately, particularly in the United Kingdom, where populations have been slipping away for four decades. Now, researchers suggest climate change may be the culprit, but not in the usual way: Growing variability in temperature and precipitation brought on by climate change, rather than overall higher temperatures, may be to blame.

No-Cost Solar Screenings and Implementation Assistance for Universities

In support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is offering approximately 40 hours of no-cost technical assistance to universities seeking to increase the deployment of mid-scale solar photovoltaic systems at universities. Assistance will provide project development support to higher education institutions as they deploy solar on-campus, which includes assistance writing and/or evaluating request for proposals, advice on financing structures and interconnection agreement facilitation. Applications are due November 18.

Saluki Food Pantry aims to lessen burdens for food insecure students

Read the full story in the Southern Illinoisan.

Between managing classes and life, many college students struggle to come up with the funds to pay for nutritious foods throughout the school year. SIU officials have set out to change that.

Why It Pays to Invest in Green Offices

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Green workplaces don’t necessarily require a massive financial investment. Employers, building owners and developers can take simple steps like improving air quality and increasing natural lighting.

Not only do these provide environmental benefits such as reduced emissions and energy use, but they can also bnefit the bottom line by improving employee productivity and reducing absenteeism, staff turnover and medical costs, according to a World Green Building Council report.

Building the Business Case: Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Green Offices suggests that it pays to invest in greener offices that keep workers healthy and happy.