As IonE@UMD becomes established, faculty are especially encouraged to apply for IonE mini grants.

IonE mini grant:

Mini Grants are small awards of $3,000 or less, intended to spur new collaborative efforts on environmental topics across the University of Minnesota System. We have funded workshops, speakers, seed funding for larger projects, public engagement events, and dozens of other unique projects. Fall application deadline TBA.

Learn more about other IonE grant opportunities here

Selected recent examples of IonE Mini grants to awarded to UMD faculty:

  • Birds of a feather: A climate change workshop, Julie R. Etterson, Swenson College of Science and Engineering, UMD, and Kathryn Schreiner, Large Lakes Observatory

Climate change and its accompanying ecological, societal and environmental impacts are among the most urgent topics of our time. To address this important issue, a diverse group of UMD faculty who are interested in or are currently doing climate change research and outreach will attend a two-day workshop to cultivate meaningful conversations that lead to interdisciplinary collaborations, grant proposals for basic and applied climate change science, and local citizen and professional outreach.

  • Angler survey: Feasibility study of interest in research participation, Ryan Hueffmeier, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth

"The IonE-sponsored weekend workshop on climate change provided the first sustained opportunity for me, as a social scientist, to gain a deep understanding of how my UMD colleagues' scientific research overlapped with my own efforts to establish socially embedded renewable energy." Kathryn Milun, College of Liberal Arts, UMD

A promising alternative to collecting fish for scientific study is using fish already caught by anglers. This project will enlist student workers to survey anglers at the St. Louis River Estuary near Duluth to determine feasibility of angler participation in a research program using their daily harvest. Survey data will provide information on how much participation might be expected as well as angler success and species harvested.

  • Energy, water and community engagement: A transdisciplinary approach to research and teachingElizabeth Hill, Swenson College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota Duluth, and IonE Educator

The grant will be used to bring faculty and undergraduate researchers to the St. Louis River summit in March 2017, and to host three meetings to advance the creation of a model for leveraging student and faculty transdisciplinary research to address significant community sustainable energy needs in the Western Lake Superior Region.

  • Learning from the experts: How to implement renewable energy technology at the community scale, Alison Hoxie, CSE UMD and IonE Associate 

This Mini Grant project will send two graduate students to visit communities abroad that have successfully adopted renewable energy technologies, one in Switzerland and another in Germany. There, they will meet with policy-makers, educators and plant operators and learn about the successful drivers for making energy technologies more financially attractive, gain understanding about getting buy-in from community members, learn how to disseminate energy knowledge at all levels of education, and study the daily challenges and benefits of developing sustainable communities.

  • Movement patterns of fishes in western Lake Superior, Andrew Bramburger, NRRI, UMD

This study will provide baseline information on the importance of the St. Louis River Estuary as habitat for migratory, transient and permanent fish residents. Knowledge gained through this study will help to inform management of estuarine habitats and pelagic fisheries. Immediate project outcomes will include the formation of a team of expert collaborators and development of methods for examination of otoliths (ear stones), which leave a record of water chemistry that may be used to infer residency and movement patterns.

  • Sustainable systems for water resource management, Melissa Maurer-Jones, SCSE, UMD

Maintaining and managing sustainable water resources is critical to addressing global water scarcity and access. A group of UMD faculty who are interested in or are currently doing environmental water chemistry or water technology research will meet monthly throughout spring 2017 to facilitate and support conversations that lead to curricula development, interdisciplinary collaborations, and grant proposals for fundamental and applied water technology science.

  • Environmental entrepreneurship models for institution building, Aparna Katre, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth

With an eye toward understanding how social ventures can empower social change for the disenfranchised, the project team will host a representative of Gram Oorja, an organization that helps implement solar and biogas micro-grids in rural villages in India, on the Duluth and the Twin Cities campuses. The representative will present a series of workshops and lectures about Gram Oorja’s vision and mission to solve energy problems and overcome challenges unique to remote villages.