Distinguished Awards for Interdisciplinary Sustainability
To foster high-impact sustainability collaborations across the University of Michigan, the Dow Sustainability Fellows program includes a competition for applied sustainability projects that cut across disciplines and academic levels.
Project proposals for the Distinguished Awards competition must describe a compelling effort to solve a specific sustainability challenge. Winning proposals will:
- Prominently feature interdisciplinary work, blending applied science, engineering, business, behavior, and policy considerations as appropriate.
- Clearly articulate a new and innovative concept (e.g., process, policy, program, service, technology, product, etc.).
- Have the potential for significant societal benefits and sustainability impact.
- Demonstrate a well-crafted premise with convincing data and/or analysis
- Have scalable attributes and a strong chance for success.
- Be achievable within the proposed budget and include a firm commitment to implement the project, if funded.
Awards are intended to foster collaborations across university units, therefore strong preference will be given to teams with diverse composition with representation across disciplines and academic levels. Ideally, each team would consist of:
- at least one faculty advisor
- 3-6 students representing at least three distinct disciplines
- at least one U-M masters/professional degree student
- at least one U-M doctoral student or postdoctoral scholar
- at least one Dow Fellow from the masters/professional, doctoral, or postdoctoral level
Proposals are reviewed by an independent committee of U-M faculty and external practitioners from business, government, and civil society. It is envisioned that multiple project proposals in a calendar year will win Distinguished Awards. No single award will exceed $100,000 and the total of all awards granted in a given year cannot exceed $150,000. All award funds must be used for project implementation. Disbursement of funds will be staged and will be contingent upon satisfactory progress and achievement of pre-identified project milestones.
Project teams must be registered by May 1 of each calendar year, project proposals are due in mid-September and award winners are announced in November. Award winners are required to present their projects, including progress toward implementation, on the U-M campus in early April of the following year before a distinguished and diverse group of external sustainability practitioners.