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$200,000 Available for Sustainability Projects

By Whitney Harder

(Aug. 31, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Sustainability Challenge Grant Program is funding sustainability projects on campus for the second year and with double the funds. This year, $200,000 is available to interdisciplinary teams working on sustainability-driven projects.

The program is designed to engage multidisciplinary teams from the university community in the creation and implementation of ideas that will simultaneously advance economic vitality, ecological integrity and social equity, now and into the future.  

"The campus response to the Sustainability Challenge Grant Program was tremendous last year with outstanding proposals from nearly two dozen interdisciplinary teams and seven funded projects that utilized our physical campus as a living laboratory," said Shane Tedder, University of Kentucky sustainability coordinator. "We are thrilled with the increased support for another round of transformative projects that will engage faculty, staff and students at UK."

All members of the university community are encouraged to develop project ideas. Project teams must be led by a faculty or staff member whose home unit/department agrees to manage the dispersal of funds. Student involvement is strongly encouraged. Teams must include representatives from at least two distinct organizational units. 

A total of $200,000 is available with awards for individual projects ranging from $10,000-$50,000.  A limited number of proposals will be awarded more than $25,000. Funds will be awarded based on a rubric that prioritizes transformational potential, creativity, measurable impacts, student-engagement, number of departments on project team, use of campus as a living laboratory, and the potential for institutionalization. Previously funded projects are available for review at

In general, proposals should directly address one or more of the following categories:

  • Operations: Using the principles of sustainability to improve material, physical, or infrastructural elements at the University of Kentucky.
  • Engagement: Fostering a campus and community culture of sustainability.
  • Research: Discoveries with the potential to catalyze operational, academic, or cultural change at the University of Kentucky and beyond.
  • Academics: Improving the university’s capacity for integrating sustainability with the educational experiences of our students in both curricular and co-curricular activities.

Funds will be available starting January 2016, and the project duration will be 12 months from the time of the award. 

Funding is provided by the Student Sustainability Council, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The program is a joint effort of the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, UK Office of Sustainability and the President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee.

Complete information, applications and instructions are available online at

The deadline for submitting is 11:59 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16. Awards will be announced in December. For additional information, please contact Shane Tedder at or 859-257-0014.