Funding for Faculty

About the Irving Institute Seed Grant Program

The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society seeks proposals for research and education on the energy challenges faced by society – and the societal challenges posed by energy.  We welcome diverse energy and society projects from all disciplines, but proposals that require and engage an interdisciplinary perspective and research team are especially encouraged and can garner up to $100,000 of support.  Applicants are encouraged to consider the critical barriers that are hampering transitions to energy systems that are sustainable, resilient, and equitable and to develop proposals that could overcome those barriers or shed new light on how they might be addressed. We encourage interdisciplinary teams of applicants to develop unique and innovative approaches that are hard to fund with more narrowly focused or restricted sources of grant monies.   

Participants and Funding Levels

We welcome proposals from all Dartmouth faculty, of any rank; Dartmouth staff and post-docs. Principal investigators (PIs) should indicate whether they are considering the inclusion of collaborators from outside Dartmouth in the pre-proposal (Note: we cannot fund outside collaborators). Post-doc proposals must include a letter of support from a faculty mentor. Preference will be given to interdisciplinary, multi-departmental team proposals. The total award pool is approximately $500,000.  Anticipated award levels are:

  • Faculty and staff awards: up to $100,000 (for interdisciplinary teams)
  • Post-doc awards:  up to $25,000


The Irving Institute is pleased to announce its fourth request for proposals (RFP) to support collaborative, innovative research, education, and engagement projects that advance the understanding of and action at the interfaces of energy and society. We are especially keen for innovative, interdisciplinary efforts that will advance the Institute's mission and seed opportunities for additional funding, scholarship and pedagogy. To the Institute, "society" includes all dimensions of the human enterprise:  business, economic and technological; political, legal, and regulatory; cultural, artistic, and ethical; and behavioral, values, and imagination. 

The Irving Institute FY 2021 announcement encourages projects that initiate or advance novel or difficult-to-fund interdisciplinary lines of inquiry; that incorporate technological and social dimensions of energy systems into both classroom and experiential education; that serve as pilot projects for future federal, state or foundation funding; and that deploy new community partnerships. We encourage creative ideas, new applications, and novel combinations of perspectives and methods.  We encourage teams to bring fresh eyes to enduring questions and to rigorously test emerging hypotheses. We encourage advances in artistic expression, in policy formulation and implementation, in technological development, and in business practices.

To bring the benefits of the current energy transition to all sectors of society is truly a multidimensional, interdisciplinary and inter-institutional endeavor. For example, how can policy incent and support adoption of new opportunities across different contexts? What cultural values are at play and how can they be meaningfully integrated as we seek to expand sustainable, just access to energy services? What levers can be used to adjust cost/opportunity ratios for businesses and investors? How can more groups in society meaningfully join a conversation about distributing benefits and risks equitably across those best positioned to take them and those most vulnerable to their effects? There is a wealth of evidence that simple siloed approaches will yield results that are far short of the potential offered by an integrated approach that marries culture, technology, investment, finance, values, and other critical factors. We encourage proposals that take risks, think big, and challenge traditional ways of thinking and modes of inquiry across disciplinary boundaries.


An expert review committee comprised of faculty from Dartmouth and peer institutions will review all full proposals. Key selection criteria include:

  • Does the project address an important energy challenge or need?
  • Does the project have a strong potential to make an important impact on how people see, understand, use, and adapt energy systems for widespread and equitable impact?
  • Does the project help foster meaningful collaboration across disciplines?


Funding Period

Projects are expected to conclude on scope, on time and on budget. No-cost extensions may be requested in writing prior to the projected end date.  

Use of Funds

Examples of how funding may be used include:  seed new research projects or add new components to existing projects; support travel and supplies; hire student research assistants; pay for student employees; develop new educational programs or classes; develop or purchase specific teaching aid(s) or material(s). Funds cannot be used to pay salaries of non-Dartmouth employees. 

Funds management

PI has sole responsibility for all expenditures. The Institute will provide regular summary reports and transaction-level details to PIs. Overages will be the sole responsibility of the PI and not the Irving Institute; any unused funds will revert to the Institute unless a no-cost extension has been granted.

Project Completion and Reporting

All recipients of Irving Institute funding are expected to provide semi-annual progress updates and a final report.  Awardees will become Institute Affiliates, be profiled on the Institute website and in social media and are expected to meet with fellow Institute grantees to join the growing energy community, share findings, discuss new directions for collaborative inquiry and activity and present at an Irving Institute event. Recipients are expected to share documentation of supplemental funding (grant proposals/award letters, fellowship awards, etc.).

Each project will be considered complete and its PIs will be eligible for possible future Institute funding when all of the following are submitted to the Irving Institute:

  • Final project report and financial summary
  • Web/social-media ready material, including photos, to share findings and lessons learned via Institute communication vehicles and grants SharePoint portal
  • Full documentation of any/all project deliverables, including published papers, public presentations/exhibits, class materials, etc.