Opportunities for Caltech PIs
RSI Small-Scale Proposals
RSI's small-scale grants are open to lead PIs who have their primary affiliation with one of Caltech's academic divisions and the ability to conduct research on campus. The program prioritizes funding proposals addressing significant challenges and opportunities associated with climate change and the stewardship of natural resources.
The Fall 2021 Small-Scale Proposal application period is now open. Please see our Small-Scale Proposal Submission Page for further information.
RSI Large-Scale Proposals
RSI invites the development of larger scale proposals from Caltech's professorial faculty, that leverage Caltech's unique strengths in fundamental science and engineering towards delivering real world solutions to environmental challenges. We plan to accept concept papers for larger proposals twice a year. Interested PIs should use their Access.Caltech credentials to review the application process and submission guidelines on the Large-Scale Proposal Submission Page.
The short concept paper (3 pages max, 11 pt, 1-inch margins) should include a title, PI name(s), a one sentence project summary, the project description, and an approximate budget. The project description should include a summary of the proposal goals and outcomes, a brief explanation of why RSI funding is needed beyond traditional funding sources or PI's existing funding, and a description of the project's potential impact in sustainability – please be as quantitative as possible.
The 2021 concept paper submission period is now closed. Invitations to submit full proposals will be issued in mid-august, with proposals due in September, decisions finalized in December and awards beginning as of January 1st, 2022.
2021 Research Grants
This January, the RSI announced support for 14 new research projects across campus. Designed to allow Caltech faculty to be nimble in pursuing exciting new research ideas, these small-scale projects will be led by faculty from four campus divisions, and will address challenges related to all four of the RSI research initiatives.
Projects include research into understanding the mechanisms of sequestering CO2 in the ocean, a study of the fate of snowmelt as a source of water in a changing climate, the development of new solid-state battery designs, and testing new ways to suppress invasive pest populations in agricultural ecosystems, among many others.
In early June, we announced funding for an additional 9 projects, including several looking at ways to capture or convert CO2 from point sources or directly from the air to slow or reverse global warming.
2020 Research Grants
RSI announced support for 18 seed projects in Fall of 2020. These projects will be led by faculty from four campus Divisions, and include several collaborations with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This first round of funded proposals includes research into turning bio-waste into sustainable structural materials (see figure above), using natural experiments to determine the result of increased atmospheric CO2 on the growth of plant and forest ecosystems, cultivating symbiotic relationships between soil microbes and plant roots for more resilient crops, and the development of new energy storage devices and new electricity markets to enable the transition to renewable power systems. In addition, RSI will support a larger scale effort to adapt Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), a groundbreaking new tool for seismic monitoring, to the task of accurately measuring the filling and emptying of underground water reservoirs.