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2022 Innovation Grants Announced

UW EarthLab selects six community-led teams to solve complex challenges at the intersection of climate change & social justice that will make a positive impact on people’s lives and livelihoods

Today EarthLab announced that six transdisciplinary teams have been selected for the 2022-2023 Innovation Grants program. This signature initiative provides essential funding to newly formed applied research teams that are led by and with community partners. Now in its third iteration, this year’s Innovation Grants request for proposals looked for research at the intersection of climate change and social justice. Each team will receive up to $75,000 to generate equitable and actionable science and knowledge that make a positive impact on people and communities. The award period lasts 16 months and final products are due by September 30, 2023. 

Interest in the Innovation Grants program has continued to grow since its inaugural funding round in 2019. This year, for the first time ever, EarthLab was able to expand its Innovation Grants funding from $300,000 to $450,000. In this year’s application cycle, 33 teams submitted letters of intent to apply to the RFP, of which 15 were invited to submit a full proposal. Proposals were evaluated by an 11-member review committee that included faculty and staff from several disciplines and a community member from outside UW. 

“I have loved being involved with EarthLab’s Innovation Grants for the past three years,” shared Kristi Straus, Chair of the Innovation Grants Program Review Committee and Associate Teaching Professor through UW’s Program on the Environment. “EarthLab continues to optimize their approach to applied environmental research funding with this year’s focus on projects that center social justice and climate change. It was exciting to read the grant proposals and learn about so many transdisciplinary research teams and creative research approaches. Many of these projects are collaboratively designed by and with communities most impacted by climate change, which I think speaks to our collective desire to address human-environment mitigation and adaptation to climate change through both an intersectional and interdisciplinary lens.”

Project teams included faculty from a range of disciplines at the University of Washington, including public health, environmental and occupational health sciences, anthropology, civil & environmental engineering, law, marine sciences, landscape architecture, humanities, and more. Community partners include Tribal leaders, public agencies, community organizers and other universities.

In addition to the funds awarded, Innovation Grant recipients receive administrative and communications support throughout the award period. Teams connect as a cohort at workshop-style meetings which are designed to share resources on interdisciplinary and community-engaged research, create the opportunity for co-learning and networking, and to provide a structured space to work collaboratively on their projects.

“This year’s innovation grants catalyze community-led teams working with UW researchers and students on game-changing environmental research,” said Ben Packard, EarthLab Executive Director. “We’re thrilled to support the work being done by these six fascinating cross-disciplinary teams who are all generating critical, scalable solutions in the community.”

EarthLab is an initiative of the UW College of the Environment to solve the biggest problem of our lifetime – our changing environment. EarthLab works across the university to accelerate and focus UW’s broad expertise across multiple fields, amplify engagement between private, public, non-profit and community leaders, and spur the development of co-created, meaningful, science-based solutions to improve people’s lives and livelihoods. The Innovation Grants program is an annual initiative supported by newly raised funds. 

Learn more about the Innovation Grants program here and check back often for news regarding the 2019-20202020-2021 funded projects.

Funded Projects