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Grants and Funding: EPA People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Student Design Competition

December 11, 2018


EPA’s P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) Program is a unique competition that is open to teams of college/university students working to design solutions for a sustainable future. P3 offers students hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life, while also allowing them to create tangible changes in their communities. This annual, two-phased research grants program challenges students to research, develop, and design innovative projects that address real world challenges involving all areas of environmental protection and public health. Phase I serves as a “proof of concept,” where teams are awarded a one-year grant of up to $25,000 to develop their idea and showcase their research in the spring at EPA’s National Student Design Expo (NSDE). These teams are then eligible to compete for a Phase II grant of up to $100,000 to implement their design in a real world setting. P3 aims to foster progress towards environmental awareness by achieving the symbiotic goals of improved quality of life for all people, economic prosperity, and protection of the planet – people, prosperity and the planet.

Program Goals

EPA’s P3 Program has identified the following four strategic program goals.

Goal 1: Engage and educate the next generation of scientists, engineers, and the greater academic and external communities in understanding and using the P3 approach.

Goal 2: Support the development of innovative technologies that will contribute to improved social, environmental, and economic well-being, especially in communities with the greatest needs.

Goal 3: Support the demonstration of P3-developed technologies to prove their effectiveness and value.

Goal 4: Foster the development of enterprises that will disseminate technologies in the target communities and elsewhere.

Funding Opportunity Numbers (FON) and Associated Research Areas

EPA-G2019-P3-Q1 – Air Quality

EPA supports research that advances the science and provides the information critical to improving air quality.

EPA seeks projects that would support research and demonstration of innovative and cost-effective solutions for the following topics:

  1. emission reduction strategies for stationary sources
  2. approaches to prevent and reduce pollution, particularly for multi-pollutants
  3. measurement and monitoring methods to enable informed air quality decision-making at the state and local level
  4. emission control technology to reduce mobile-source-related air pollution
  5. technology that converts emissions from mobile sources that use internal combustion engines into harmless substances and/or materials and products that have economic value

EPA-G2019-P3-Q2 – Safe and Sustainable Water Resources

EPA supports research for developing innovative, cost-effective solutions to current, emerging, and long-term water resource challenges for complex chemical and biological contaminants.

EPA seeks projects that would support the development and demonstration of innovative and cost-effective solutions for the following topics:

  1. technological solutions for preventing or mitigating harmful algal/cyanobacteria toxins in recreational waters and drinking water sources
  2. technology for point-of-use removal of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) families of Per- and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water for homes and/or from wastewater
  3. methods for detecting and monitoring waterborne pathogens
  4. technologies that address stormwater and wastewater infrastructure needs in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities
  5. prevention and mitigation approaches to increase reuse of potable and non-potable water supplies, such as desalination units for small communities that are not based on reverse osmosis
  6. basic sanitation and drinking water for homes in tribal and disadvantaged communities
  7. technologies to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water systems, such as
    1. developing simple, inexpensive tests for use in homes to check for lead in tap water
    2. developing water pipes that do not contain lead, that prevent the growth of biofilms, and that prevent corrosion and scaling
  8. innovative and low-cost technologies for the rapid detection and treatment of antibiotic resistant bacteria in wastewater
  9. novel sampling devices to collect and quantify microplastics in surface water, drinking water, sludges/biosolids and discharges from wastewater treatment systems

EPA-G2019-P3-Q3 – Sustainable and Healthy Communities

EPA supports research for developing and demonstrating technologies to prevent contamination by toxic materials and to reduce solid waste that goes to landfills.

EPA seeks projects that support research and demonstration of innovative and cost-effective solutions for the following topics:

  1. replacement for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE) water pipes which currently have a high probability of being discarded to landfills
  2. remediation of PFAS-contaminated soil and sediment
  3. construction materials that are less-toxic, lighter, more compact, stronger, more durable, longer-lasting, at least as affordable, and can more easily be reused and recycled than currently-used materials
  4. less toxic materials for use in floors, walls, and ceilings
  5. electronic components that are less toxic and/or easier to reuse and recycle
  6. technologies that divert food waste from landfills and recover valuable resources

EPA-G2019-P3-Q4 – Chemical Safety

EPA supports research for evaluating and predicting impacts from chemical use and disposal and providing states and industries with information, tools, and methods to make better informed and more timely decisions about the thousands of chemicals in the United States.

EPA seeks projects that would support research and demonstration of innovative and cost-effective solutions for the following topics:

  1. non-toxic chemicals that can replace toxic chemicals that are now used in the manufacture of plastics
  2. plastic products that are totally made from non-toxic materials
  3. dyes and inks from non-toxic components
  4. non-toxic paints and coatings
  5. inherently flame-retardant materials—i.e., that do not use a flame-retardant coating
  6. new chemicals that cause less depletion of stratospheric ozone than currently-used substances

It is recognized that some proposals may be appropriate for more than one FON/research area, but the applicant must identify a primary FON/research area for application submission purposes. The primary FON/research area is used to determine the appropriate peer review panel. Applicants should also select one of the topics in that research area as the focus for their P3 project.

Helpful Links

Learn more about the P3 program and how to apply

Easy P3 Fact Sheet

RFP on EPA Website



December 11, 2018