Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 6/22/2023

University Training and Research for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management

The University Training and Research (UTR) Program, sponsored by Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) and administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), has the following primary mission objectives: 1) educate and train the next generation of engineers and scientists to help develop and contribute to a highly-skilled, inclusive, and competitive U.S. workforce and economy; 2) support novel, early-stage research at U.S. colleges and universities that advances the FECM mission of delivering integrated solutions related to fossil energy and carbon management and enable transformation to a sustainable, netzero greenhouse gas future; 3) increase research and development opportunities for underrepresented and structurally marginalized communities within the U.S. and tap into the innovative and diverse thinking of student researchers at minority serving institutions of higher learning; and, 4) ensure that students are being equipped with cutting-edge, translatable skillsets that will allow them to contribute to the U.S. workforce and greater economy over the course of a longstanding and enduring career.

The UTR Program consists of two (2) sub-programs, including University Carbon Research (UCR) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other MinorityServing Institutions (HBCU-MSI).

University Carbon Research (UCR) Program: The UCR Program is aligned with Administration goals to successfully achieve net-zero or net-negative GHG emissions by focusing on the following research and development efforts: 1) technology development to mitigate and/or remediate legacy environmental impacts of fossil-based generation systems; 2) assessments of environmental benefits and impacts of utilizing legacy mining materials such as coal-related wastes for the production of low-carbon products and recovery of valuable materials (e.g., critical minerals and rare earth elements); 3) ensuring the safety and environmental integrity of systems that provide benefit for coal and power plant communities.

Deadline: August 7, 2023

Areas of Interest

Projects are specifically sought under Five (5) Areas of Interest (AOIs) as follows:

Note: The UCR and HBCU-MSI Programs target the same AOIs with the exception of AOI 2, which is restricted solely to the HBCU-MSI program.

AOI 1: Visiting scholars program to benefit students from minority-serving institutions: This AOI seeks to maximize the number of students who benefit from opportunities provided through the UTR program by fostering new partnerships between institutions with differing research capacity. Projects under this AOI should involve a partnership between one “host institution” and one, or more, MSIs (i.e., “partner institution(s)”) which have demonstrably lesser capacity than the host institution to conduct research in FECM-related priority areas.

AOI 2 (HBCU-MSI Only): Development of geoscience education curriculum at minority-serving institutions to prepare a workforce for critical mineral production

AOI 3: Humanities-driven science (including social science), technology, engineering and mathematics (HDSTEM) to facilitate interdisciplinary student training and technology development: This area of interest includes funding research and development for collaborative work amongst researchers in social sciences and humanities fields (as a primary focus) in collaboration with researchers in STEM fields, leading to sustainable technology deployment in communities. The majority of the proposed budget must be allocated to the students, PI(s), and/or co-PI(s) in the social sciences and/or humanities. Social science focus areas could include policy, entrepreneurship, urban planning, energy equity, and other sociological topics. Humanity focus areas could include ethnic, art and design, equity, and other considerations relating to the incorporation of new technology into the landscape of a community and/or ecosystem to minimize negative impacts, and ultimately lead to sustainable deployment.

AOI 4: Improving critical minerals and materials recovery from coal-based resources

  • Subtopic A (4A): Improving Critical Mineral Extraction from Coal-based Feedstocks
  • AOI 4 - Subtopic B (4B): Testing and Developing Ionic Liquids and Associated Methods for Extraction, Separation, or Refinement of CMs from Coal-based Resources

AOI 5: Energy Asset Transformation

  • Subtopic A (5A): Pathways to Transition Energy Assets that Maximize Benefits to Local Communities
  • Subtopic B (5B): Safety and Reliability for Fossil Assets under Decarbonization and Climate Change
Eligibility Requirements

The Principal Investigator or a Co-Principal Investigator listed in the application must be a teaching professor at the submitting university. If this condition is met, other participants, Co-Principal Investigators or research staff, who do not hold teaching or student positions may be included as part of the research team. Applications from university-affiliated research institutions must be submitted through the college or university with which they are affiliated.

Applicants may submit multiple applications under each area of interest of this FOA; HOWEVER, applicants may not submit duplicate applications under multiple areas of interest. Put simply, each submitted application should be distinct and tailored to the specific area of interest.