Discoveries in Safety Grants
December 11, 2023

Eco-Remediation and Energy Storage

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Program Overview

Materials Discovery Research Institute (MDRI) of UL Research Institutes (ULRI) is focused on researching solutions for eco­ remediation and expediting the discovery of innovative and long-duration energy storage solutions.

Award Information

Type of Award: Competitive grant 
Number of Awards Given: Up to 2   
Funding Amount: Up to $200,000 a year 
Duration of Award: 3 years  

Key Dates  

Feb. 16, 2024 (by 11:59 p.m. EST): Letter of intent submission due (required)
May 10, 2024 (by 11:59 p.m. EST): Full proposal deadline

Key Resources 

Full Notice of Funding Opportunity
Program Terms and Conditions (updated April 1st, 2024)
Application Submission Instructions

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Materials Discovery Research Institute (MDRI) of UL Research Institutes has a vision to develop a state-of-the-art institute focusing on the accelerated discovery of materials coupled with in-house development of device prototypes for real-world evaluation. With the world facing unprecedented challenges related to environmental degradation and the pressing need for sustainable energy sources, innovative materials discovery becomes paramount. By supporting and funding research in this realm, MDRI endeavors to be at the forefront of transformative solutions. 

Grant Purpose  

The purpose of this research grant is to provide funding to advance MDRl's overarching vision and goals. These two areas include the research of eco-remediation and the exploration of long-duration energy storage solutions.

The evolution from fossil fuels to renewable energy necessitates the development of innovative materials and processes. MDRI is primed to play a critical role in this transition, particularly in pioneering long-duration energy storage solutions. Simultaneously, MDRI remains committed to eco-remediation efforts, representing a proactive strategy to combat environmental challenges and ensure the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants. Our work in eco-remediation extends to critical areas such as water purification, reinforcing our position as a leader in addressing environmental issues while advancing sustainable energy solutions.

Applicants are encouraged to select from one of the two focus areas:  

Focus Area 1: Water Purification and Conservation

  • Advanced Filtration Materials: Research will be directed towards materials that can effectively filter out contaminants, pathogens, and other undesired elements from water, making it safe for consumption. Examples include nano-structured membranes and bio-inspired filtration systems.
  • Contaminant-specific Sorbents: The institute will develop materials that selectively bind and remove specific contaminants from water, such as heavy metals, organic pollutants, or harmful chemicals.
  • Water Harvesting: In regions where water scarcity is a concern, materials that can efficiently harvest water from the atmosphere (like hydrophilic polymers or porous materials) can be a game-changer. 
  • Safe Reuse and Recycling: Discovering materials that can treat wastewater to a level where it's safe for reuse, especially in agriculture, can help conserve our precious water resources.

Focus Area 2: Electrolyzers and Fuel Cells

  • Novel Catalysts: The development of efficient catalysts can significantly enhance the performance of electrolyzers and fuel cells, making them more competitive in the renewable energy landscape.
  • Material Durability: Continuous research on materials that resist degradation under operational conditions can ensure a longer lifespan and consistent performance for both electrolyzers and fuel cells.

Eligibility Information  

Who Should Submit Proposals:  
All proposals should be submitted by an accredited college, university, government, or non-government organization (including not-for-profit and for-profit institutions) with recognized legal status in their respective country.  

At ULRI, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are critical to who we are and what we represent as a leading safety science organization. We believe that our inclusivity fuels brilliance in innovation, creative problem-solving, and, ultimately, excellence in safety science discovery. Learn more about ULRI’s commitment to DEI.

ULRI encourages proposals from, or collaborations with, diverse research teams, including minority-serving institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other institutions with a predominantly underrepresented student population.  

Who May Serve as PI:  
The Principal Investigator (PI) must be an individual of the organization holding a full-time administrative or faculty role. The PI should continue in this role for the duration of the three years of the award. Multiple PIs can be added during this time.  

The PI must NOT be:  

  • From a country under U.S. export control or sanctions; 
  • A previous employee of UL Solutions, ULRI, or UL Standards & Engagement (ULSE) within 12 months prior to submitting a Letter of Intent for this program. 

Apply Now on ProposalCentral