Seed Grant Program

Seed grants are awarded with funding provided by the Binghamton University Road Map through the Provost's Office and the Division of Research.

The goal of these seed grants is to encourage faculty to develop collaborative projects that stimulate the advancement of new ideas that can build Binghamton University's expertise toward a national reputation in the broad area of sustainable communities. This competitive, peer-reviewed program is providing initial support for proposed long-term programs of collaborative research that have strong potential to attract external funding.

Information on how to apply for seed grant funding for the 2024–2025 academic year can be found on the TAE landing page. The deadline for proposals is February 16, 2024.

Deadline for a Letter of Intent was December 4, 2023 and has passed. LOIs are required for proposals with a large budget and strongly recommended for all proposals. The LOI is not binding, however it will help to gauge interest in the next, potential round of seed grant applications. This information will also be helpful to have in the event additional funding channels are identified.

For the 2023-2024 academic year, the following seed grant was awarded:

Web-based, Interactive Decision Support Tool to Navigate NY's Energy System Tradeoffs

Neha Patankar, systems science and industrial engineering; Yong Wang, systems science and industrial engineering; Madhusudhan Govindaraju, computer science; Ziang Zhang, electrical and computer engineering

For the 2021-2022 academic year, the following seed grant was awarded:

Risk assessment of PFAS emissions during thermal treatment of lithium-ion batteries recycling processes

Yuxin Wang, environmental studies; Hao Liu, chemistry; and Jessica Hua, biological sciences

The growth of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) in consumer electronics and the emerging electric vehicle fleet has highlighted the increasingly urgent need to address recycling issues. Despite the growing interest in LIBs recycling, little is known about the decomposition products generated from the thermal treatment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) additives and the fluorinated electrolytes. Despite the unknown fate of PFAS emissions during LIBs recycling, knowledge about their ecological impact to the local environment is limited. We integrate expertise from environmental engineering, battery chemistry, and ecology to understand the fate and environmental impact of PFAS and other fluorinated emissions during LIB recycling. Through this project, the research team will increase community engagement through our affiliation with Binghamton University’s Center for Integrated Watershed Studies by providing education to Binghamton area citizens with presentation and discussion of our findings. Due to a proposed LIBs recycling plant, the local community is receptive to such a discussion.

For the 2019-2020 acacemic year, the following seed grants were awarded:

Designing Food Systems to Sustain Urban Communities

Valerie Imbruce, environmental studies; Stephen Fan, Institute for Public Architecture, S!Fan Designs; and Olivia Georgia, City as Living Laboatory

This project will use a tested framework to engage art with science in community forums to investigate and promote sustainable food systems in an iconic ethnic enclave, Manhattan’s Chinatown. Art has the power to contextualize global issues into place-based, personal, and visceral experiences to emotionally inspire people to act. Food is integral to any community, and culturally appropriate foods are fundamental to food security, yet the environmental externalities of global food systems that cities rely on are unsustainable. We will build upon previous research to explore the relationship between cultural practices around food and the modes of agricultural production and supply that provision them. We will host walks, workshops, and demonstrations in Chinatown to engage in an iterative process of research, consensus building, and collaboration that is at the heart of community engaged research. Our project aims to bring perspectives from this immigrant community into public and academic discourse about sustainable food systems to translate research into practice.

Plant Inspired Front-Resistant Construction Materials for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure

Congrui Jin, mechanical engineering, Weizing Zhu, biological sciences, and Bruce Murray, mechanical engineering

Abstract unavailable

For the 2018–2019 academic year, the following seed grants were awarded:

ECAP: Environmental Context based Anomalous Activity Prediction for the Safety and Security of Sustainable Community

Yu Chen, electrical and computer engineering, Chengben Deng, geography, and Timothy Faughnan, University Police

Fast-growing urbanization and proliferation of Internet of things (IoTs) technology are making smart cities a reality. Safety and security are among the top concerns in building a sustainable community. Nowadays, the pervasive use of surveillance cameras and motion sensors enables various quality video streams generated continuously 24/7. However, it is challenging to capture the suspicious activities from the extraordinarily large data volume in real-time. It is even harder to proactively take actions to prevent crimes before damages are incurred. Inspired by recent achievements in environmental criminology, an edge computing based real-time anomalous or suspicious object movement prediction scheme is proposed in this project. Leveraging the cross-disciplinary expertise of the investigators including cloud/edge computing, smart surveillance, remote sensing, and geographic information science (GIS), this project seeks support to validate the feasibility of accurately predicting the movement within the environmental context. A prototype will be built and tested. Success of this project will enhance the understanding of the complex and dynamic characteristics of our community.

Creating Healthy Communities for Rural and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Populations

Kim Brimhall, social work, Shelley Dionne, School of Management, and Mark Zhang, computer science

Finding ways to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities, particularly for rural and low-income populations, continues to be a critical component in the development of sustainable communities. The steady rise of healthcare costs over the past several decades and the increasing income inequality in the United States, poses particular challenges for improving healthcare in rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. One way to improve quality of care, and potentially decrease health disparities for individuals from rural, low-income, and racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, is through creating healthcare organizations that foster high quality leadership and positive work climates. Although, leadership and organizational climate have been linked to improved outcomes (i.e., increased innovation and quality of care), little is known about how leaders can foster beneficial work climates that ultimately improve quality of care and community health outcomes (e.g., reduced health disparities, hospital readmissions and diagnostic errors). Using a community-based longitudinal mixed-methods design, the proposed study aims to develop evidence-informed, economically-practical tools that leaders can use to create positive work climates that increase staff engagement, innovation, satisfaction, performance, and high quality care in rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. This information can be used to create system-wide interventions designed to improve healthcare quality. This project is a collaboration between Kim Brimhall from the Department of Social Work, Shelley Dionne from the School of Management, Mark Zhang from the Department of Computer Science, and community partners from Lourdes Hospital, Kathryn Connerton (CEO), Mary Hughs (Senior Director), and Robin Kinslow-Evans (Strategy Officer). Support awarded from the Sustainable Communities Transdisciplinary Area of Excellence Seed Grant will be used for an initial pilot study that will become part of a larger National Institute of Health grant submission planned for August 2018.