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.
Centering Place and Community to Address Climate Change and Social Justice
Seattle Assessment of Public Health Preparedness and Response (SASPER): Duwamish Valley Pilot Project
Cultural Ecosystems in a changing world: building a network across the Northwest to support food
sovereignty, climate adaptation, and land rights
Hunting for healing: An academic and Colville Nation collaboration seeking to examine traditional food
sources in light of environmental changes
The Housing Spectrum, Temperature Extremes, and the Costs of Thermal Safety and Comfort: A Community-Informed Policy Evaluation of Weatherization and Energy Assistance Programs
In 2021, EarthLab welcomed new partners, strengthened our commitment to equity and justice work, and continued our work to inspire and incentivize innovative, community-centered environmental and climate justice research. Explore our top stories below.
10. EarthLab statement condemning violence towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community
EarthLab staff stands with the University of Washington and Nature and Health against the racially-motivated violence and hate crimes towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
Meade Krosby, a senior scientist with the UW Climate Impacts Group, is working with the Tulalips to determine the impacts on tribally important plants. The Tulalips have been leaders in organizing meetings, conferences and workshops around climate change.
EarthLab is proud to sponsor a prize at the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, presented by Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. The Community Impact Prize recognizes innovation in developing a product, solution, or demonstrated business model that mitigates or makes communities more resilient in the face of climate change while prioritizing equity and justice.
With each passing month, more and more Washingtonians are suffering under the physical, emotional and financial damages of enduring a lengthy pandemic. And as we find ourselves in the coldest, darkest days of the year during the worst-case surge yet, it can feel like a herculean task just to take a daily walk around the block. (Crosscut)
Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, faculty advisor for EarthLab member organization Future Rivers and assistant professor in the School of Marine & Environmental Affairs, is part of a team of academics that was recently awarded $5 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund an interdisciplinary, multi-year project to advance anti-racist practices and pedagogy in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
5. EarthLab and Population Health co-fund pilot grant to improve communication around smoke exposure in rural and tribal communities
EarthLab and the Population Health Initiative have announced a new pilot research grant award to study how Tribal and non-Tribal communities in the Okanogan River Airshed Emphasis Area (ORAEA) receive and communicate information about smoke exposure.
Additional climate change is projected to increase for heat-related morbidity and mortality, ozone-related mortality, dengue and Lyme disease from undetectable to severe risks as the planet continues to warm, according to new research published by the Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE) at the University of Washington.
New collaboration between UW Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE) and EarthLab will accelerate climate research, action and resilience.
EarthLab has selected Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong for our equity and justice book club this quarter. This book was selected from several works written by and about the Asian-American experience.
The Innovation Grants Program will invest in teams of community partners and academic researchers and students at the University of Washington (UW) who are interested in developing solutions at the intersection of climate change and social justice.
The 50% increase in available funding means more teams will be awarded in this cycle
We are excited to announce that we have increased the total amount of funding available for the 2021 Innovation Grants Program from $300,000 to $450,000. This expansion will enable us to award six teams up to $75,000 this cycle.
“Scaling our grants program is a key component of our 2021-25 Strategic Plan,” said Ben Packard, EarthLab executive director. “We are grateful to the growing community of EarthLab supporters who believe in our ability to achieve impact through this popular, community-engaged applied research program.”
This year, the EarthLab Innovation Grants Program is seeking proposals for research at the intersection of climate change and social justice. Projects must show an ability to generate equitable and actionable science and knowledge (i.e., science that is usable and used). Two-page Letters of Intent (LOIs) are due January 27, 2022 at 5 p.m. PST. Learn more about the full program details below.
- View the full RFP and apply here
- Read the program FAQs
- Watch a recording of our virtual information session
- See past examples of innovation teams (but note our new funding focus this year)
We are thrilled to announce the release of the 2021 EarthLab Innovation Grants Program Request for Proposals (RFP). The Innovation Grants Program will invest in teams of community partners and academic researchers and students at the University of Washington (UW) who are interested in developing solutions at the intersection of climate change and social justice. We’re excited to focus of the grants this year to better reflect EarthLab’s strategic vision, mission and priorities.
Goals for the grants program are to fund projects that demonstrate co-creation and partnership between community and UW researchers, interdisciplinary collaboration, action at the intersection of climate (both mitigation and adaptation) and social justice, and the potential for growth of the project or partnership. There is $300,000 available for the current funding cycle, with a maximum budget request of $75,000 per project. Letters of Intent are due January 27, 2022 at 5 p.m. PST
We are hosting an in-person information session on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 from 4-5 p.m. at the Intellectual House, located on the UW Seattle Campus. Additional information sessions for the UW Tacoma and UW Bothell campuses will be held virtually at the end of October.
Join our small and mighty team that is pushing boundaries to catalyze new environmental research for people and planet.
We are seeking a temporary part-time Innovation Grants Specialist to support our efforts in administering the EarthLab Innovation Grants Program. Our new team member will lead the release of the Innovation Grants Program Request for Proposals and the grant application, review and selection processes for our 3rd Cohort cycle. This position is an excellent opportunity to manage and coordinate cutting-edge grants that are funding exciting new work at the intersection of climate change and social justice engagement within the greater Seattle community. This is expected to be a .5 FTE, 9-month position starting in August 2021.
Priority will be given to applications submitted before July 31st.