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Extramural Research - People, Prosperity and the Planet

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WHAT IS EPA’s P3 Program? P3 stands for People, Prosperity and the Planet.  Through this EPA program, college students can benefit people, promote prosperity and protect the planet by designing solutions that move us towards a sustainable future.

WHAT AREAS OF SUSTAINABILITY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE P3 COMPETITION? EPA considers projects that address challenges from a wide range of categories: water, energy, agriculture, built environment, and materials and chemicals. The categories of clean cookstoves and green infrastructure were added to the 2012 solicitation. These can be challenges found in the developed or developing world.

WHAT IS THE P3 AWARD COMPETITION? The P3 Award competition is a two-phase team contest. For the first phase, interdisciplinary student teams compete for $15,000 grants.  Recipients use the money to research and develop their design projects during the academic year.  The final projects include a Phase I project report and a Phase II proposal.

In the spring, all teams submit their reports and proposals, and then bring their projects to Washington, DC for judging by a panel of experts convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Judging takes place at the annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall.  

Scores from the reports, proposals and the presentations on the Mall are combined into a final overall score for each P3 team. Based on these scores, the AAAS judges recommend to EPA which teams should receive the EPA P3 Award and the opportunity for Phase II funding.

WHAT IS THE P3 AWARD? Given to the best student designs, this is an award and opportunity for grant funding up to $75,000 to further the project design, implement it in the field, and move it to the marketplace.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE? Institutions of higher education located in the United States are eligible to apply as the recipients of grants to support teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students. Collaboration and partnerships with colleges and universities outside the United States are permitted (and up to 40% of the grant can be contracted to an international partner), but only U.S. institutions are eligible to apply.

HOW DO WE APPLY? The request for applications (RFA) opens in the Fall.  Grants are awarded for the following Fall. More details can be found at: ApplyNow!.

APPLICATION REVIEW: A peer review panel evaluates all EPA P3 Phase I applications for problem definition; innovation and technical merit; connections to sustainability in terms of people, prosperity and the planet; measurable results, evaluation method, implementation strategy; and integration of the P3 Award competition as an educational tool. Final funding decisions are made by EPA.

WHAT IS THE NATIONAL SUSTAINABLE DESIGN EXPO? Held each spring on the National Mall in Washington, DC, the National Sustainable Design Expo featuring EPA’s P3 Award brings together students, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses that are working to create a sustainable future.

The Expo is a unique opportunity to discover innovative, cutting-edge technologies developed by university students and their faculty advisors, learn what nonprofit organizations and government agencies are doing to advance sustainability, experience sustainable products that are currently available, and recruit talented hires with backgrounds in the broad range of disciplines found the sustainability arena.

The Expo is open to the public.

CONTACT: Cynthia Nolt-Helms (nolt-helms.cynthia@epa.gov), U.S. EPA, Office of Research and Development, Washington, DC; Telephone: 703-347-8102; or Gregory Lank (lank.gregory@epa.gov), U.S. EPA, Office of Research and Development, Washington, DC; Telephone: 703-347-8128.

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