Campus News

$200,000 available for UK Sustainability Challenge Grants, applications now open

aerial photo of UK's campus with W.T. Young Library in center
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 29, 2023) — The Sustainability Challenge Grant Program is designed to engage transdisciplinary teams from the university community to foster scholarly, creative and research projects that promote sustainability and advance field(s) of study. Sustainability, in this context, is intended to convey the need to pursue activities that are ecologically sound, socially just and economically viable. 

Applications for the University of Kentucky Sustainability Challenge Grant Program are being accepted now through May 11, 2023. Total project funds available are expected to be $200,000 with individual projects eligible to receive up to $50,000. Application materials can be found on the UK Sustainability website.

This year, the program is encouraging proposals that align with one or more of the five guiding principles from the forthcoming Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP) update and support the university’s renewed focus on Transdisciplinary Educational approaches to advance Kentucky (TEK).  

“This program has been such an important component of our sustainability efforts over the past eight years. We are very excited about the proven potential it has to engage and support our students, faculty, and staff who are interested in using sustainability as a framework for engaging with critical issues” said Shane Tedder, UK’s sustainability officer and co-coordinator for the program.

In the eight years of the program to date, 55 projects have been awarded a total of $1.55 million to pursue a wide range sustainability-driven projects on campus and beyond.

The 2022 Sustainability Challenge Grant recipients were:

  • Sustainable Bourbon-Shrooms: A Mutual Partnership for Kentucky Distillers and Mushroom Farmers | Project Abstract

  • Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility Without Leaving the Community Behind | Project Abstract

  • Documenting Change: Creating an Educational Experience Documenting the Adaptive Reuse of the Reynolds/Gray Building | Project Abstract

  • Nature Rx Design Guidelines and Landscape Implementation on the UK Medical Campus | Project Abstract

  • Post-Disaster Sustainable Housing Initiative Resilience & Recovery for the Commonwealth | Project Abstract

  • UK Education Abroad & Exchanges Emission Reductions and Education Initiative | Project Abstract

The program is a collaborative effort of the President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment and the Office of Sustainability. Funding support for the program is provided by the offices of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Provost and the Vice President for Research as well as the Student Sustainability Council

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As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.