Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 7/19/2022

Mass Spectrometry for Atmospheric Monitoring

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation is requesting proposals for a grant opportunity for the development of new instrument designs to bring the most advanced mass spectrometry detection capabilities and sensitivity levels into a lightweight, inexpensive, and easily operated system that could be portable or deployed on airborne platforms, in unattended monitoring stations, or operated by citizen scientists, for long-term analysis of the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The intent of this program is to support scientists, with a focus on undergraduates, to become inventors and innovators in this compelling area of research by building tools and instruments. Miniaturizing mass spectrometers has been an active area of research for many years, and it is timely to advance such prototype designs for broader applications for mobile monitoring. If successful, these prototype monitoring systems could have a lasting impact on informing policy decisions on sources of pollution, improving indoor and outdoor air quality, and furthering the democratization of access to clean air around the world.

The Foundation is requesting proposals to build novel mass spectrometer instruments with performance equivalent to current laboratory instruments that could operate on a wide range of ground-based and/or airborne platforms with minimal user expertise. Program teams must be based within a university or non-profit research institution with the ability to engage undergraduate students in research. The program team should include active participation from undergraduate students, with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff members from a mix of disciplines (e.g., chemistry, atmospheric sciences, engineering) as well as the technology transfer, commercialization, and administrative offices, as appropriate for the proposed program and institution’s resources.

The Foundation will provide support of up to $1 million per selected team over a 3-year development and testing program at awarded Institutions, which can be used flexibly to purchase materials for several prototype systems, consumables for testing, full-time support for undergraduate students to participate in the program, part-time support for other personnel, which could include research staff, graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows, support for industry collaborations, and/or training courses or experiences for participating students. 

Full Proposals Due: November 18, 2022

Eligibility Requirements

The Foundation will consider proposals from individual institutions or from consortia of institutions whose combined resources will address the program requirements. For any consortium application, there must be a “Lead Institution”, defined as the institute that will accept the entire grant award on behalf of the consortium. The Lead Institution submitting the proposal must be a nonprofit US university or research institution.

Program teams must be based within a university or non-profit research institution with the ability to engage undergraduate students in research.

Funding Type