About CoLabs

The Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) supports collaborative research and training at the intersection of environmental change and human well-being. Our seed funding facilitates the interdisciplinary connections needed to form sustainable research and multi-sector collaborations that serve the public good. By actively building a team culture we help surface novel research frameworks, theories, models, and applications.

Submission Deadline

  • November 15th, 2021

Funding Available

    Up to $30,000 for early-stage projects that are developing teams.


CoLab funding provides seed money for research collaborations to connect faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students working together on problems related to the institute’s mission. We support teams at various stages of development; prior collaboration is not required, and the creation of new partnerships is encouraged. CoLabs have access to the Institute’s communication and outreach efforts to translate research findings to stakeholder groups and decision makers. Co-production between researchers and stakeholders is encouraged to make findings actionable and impactful.

ERI is currently prioritizing projects that align with the University’s 2030 Strategic Plan for Environmental Resilience and Sustainability research. Specifically, ERI is prioritizing funding for projects that align with three areas:

These themes were used to structure the Environmental Resilience and Sustainability (ERS) Grand Challenges Research Forum in partnership with the Offices of the Provost and the Vice President for Research. This event was the first step in a university-wide discussion to identify potential areas of focus. With faculty participating from every school, over 100 ideas were collected. Faculty are invited to review the event video and ideas submitted via Ideanote, as the prepare submissions to the CoLab funding solicitation.

Eligibility and Selection Process

All full-time, PI-eligible faculty can apply. To be considered for a CoLab award, proposals must include an interdisciplinary approach. Proposals will be reviewed by the ERI’s Steering Committee with recommendations for funding made to the Institute Director approximately two weeks from the submission deadline. Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Has potential for societal impact;
  2. Has likelihood that the proposed activity will lead to external funding;
  3. Includes a clear plan to build interdisciplinary collaborations and, where appropriate, collaborations with external stakeholders.


Successful CoLabs will be expected to:

  1. Work with ERI staff to write a short “Issues in Brief” on their research project geared towards a general audience. This will be shared on the ERI website.
  2. Prepare a presentation for an ERI related event.
  3. Submit proposal(s) to external funding agencies for continued support.

Instructions for Submitting an Application

Proposals are limited to 3 pages (excluding references and CVs) and should include the following:

  1. Title and Abstract (no more than ½ page)
  2. Research area of focus and relevance to institute’s mission and/or priority area
  3. Project team, including brief qualifications of CoLab leader and key faculty collaborators, and how the qualifications put the team in a strong position to make progress on its stated goals. Note any expected student involvement.
  4. Project description, including research merit, research plan, and anticipated timeline.
  5. Specific opportunities for external funding, and how the investment of seed money will increase competitiveness of the team.
  6. Budget and brief justification. Funds can support expenses for equipment, materials and computer time, meetings, graduate or undergraduate student stipends, travel for stakeholder collaborations, and no more than 1 month stipend for faculty leader.
  7. 2-page CVs for PIs and co-PIs

Please submit proposals as a single PDF document. To apply, fill out the form below, and upload your proposal.


Please contact Jonah Fogel (jfogel@virginia.edu), ERI Program Manager, with questions.

Upcoming Solicitation Deadline November 15th, 2021