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Environmental Venture Projects

Promising research needs support to advance transformative environmental and sustainability solutions around the world.

The Stanford Woods Institute has awarded millions of dollars in Environmental Venture Projects (EVP) seed grants to interdisciplinary faculty research teams from all seven of Stanford’s schools and 34 of its departments. These innovative research projects focus on finding solutions to challenges ranging from the protection of endangered species in California to the delivery of clean drinking water in Africa. EVPs have led to development of natural resources valuation software and biodegradable building materials.

The Environmental Venture Projects (EVP) program is closed for the 2020 funding cycle. The program is expected to open again for requests in November 2020, with the next deadline being early January 2021, for the 2021 cycle. For insights into the program and what is required each year for the Letter of Intent application, you may consult the 2020 EVP Program Priorities, Guidelines, LOI Instructions and Budget Guide.

Environmental Venture Projects

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment (Stanford Woods) EVP program provides seed grants, from $5,000 up to $200,000 over two years, for interdisciplinary research projects that seek to identify solutions to pressing problems of the environment and sustainability. Projects are evaluated for their intellectual merit, potential to solve environmental problems, the interdisciplinary strength of the team and the project's potential to secure additional funding in the future.


The EVP Program will consider applications in two categories:

  • EVP Small Grants with support from $5,000 up to $50,000 for discrete research needs and efforts to define and scope research projects at preliminary stages of development, in line with the EVP program priorities and guidelines below. *Note: Requests may be for less than $50,000, and PIs are encouraged to be judicious in their requests for EVP Small Grant funds. These EVP Small Grants are treated as department research grants, rather than sponsored research. PIs who receive an EVP Small Grant to develop a project remain eligible to apply in a future round for an EVP Grant for that project.
  • EVP Grants with support from $10,000 up to $200,000 over two years for research projects per the EVP priorities and guidelines below. *Note: Requests may be for less than 200,000 and need not be for two years. PIs are encouraged to be judicious in their requests for EVP Grant funds. EVP Grants are treated as sponsored research.

Each PI (Lead and Co-) must be a member of the Academic Council or Medical Center Line. Please verify that both PI and co-PI are PI eligible.
Faculty members may only be Lead PI on one EVP application at a time, either for one EVP Small Grant or one EVP Grant, and not both. Likewise a faculty member may not apply for a Woods Institute EVP grant and an REIP grant in the same application cycle. Faculty members are also restricted from being the Lead PI on more than one active grant from the EVP Program or REIP Program.
However, faculty may be the Lead PI on consecutive grants from the EVP program and/or REIP program. In the case of a consecutive award, a Lead PI applying for a new award in 2020 will need to have any existing, open grant award from either EVP or REIP set to close in 2020 and have the required financial and narrative reports of the current award submitted before the new award can begin. 



The EVP program seeks projects that:

  • Are high-risk, transformative projects that have the potential to produce solutions to major global environmental challenges;
  • Represent new interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty who have not previously worked together, with a preference for scholarly communities that have not been active in the Stanford Woods Institute to date; and
  • Address cross-cutting issues that are relevant to the environment in general and/or address challenges within one or more of the Stanford Woods’ seven focal areas.
  • Examples of cross-cutting issues include: environmental ethics, cultural and humanistic influences, effective economic and incentive systems, environmental justice, political ecology, stewardship, risk perception and analysis, communication, mitigation and adaptation, responses to global changes, valuation, and interdisciplinary modeling.
  • Stanford Woods focal areas include: oceans, ecosystem services and conservation, public health, freshwater, climate, food security, and sustainable development.



Proposed projects should:

  • Represent one or more of the above program priorities;
  • Contribute towards a solution to a major global environmental challenge;
  • Demonstrate a clear strategy and pathway for connecting your research to an actual solution;
  • Involve PIs at Stanford from at least two separate disciplines (For assistance identifying possible co-investigators, please visit the Stanford Woods Institute’s faculty and researchers directory);
  • Document how the collaborative effort will be stronger than the sum of disciplinary parts; and
  • Have the potential for obtaining future support.

Full program guidelines and specific application instructions are available below.