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Open to US citizens and non US citizens
Deadline: 11/18/2023

Program summary: The Water Center at Penn encourages Penn undergraduate students from any discipline to apply for this competitive student grant program to promote research in water science, policy and sustainability. The grant also aims to recognize academic excellence and prepare students towards leadership by encouraging applied research and community engagement.

About the Water Center: The Water Center at Penn connects researchers, the water industry, public utilities, environmental organizations and communities by providing guidance, promoting creative thinking, and fostering thoughtful and impactful research needed to solve our shared urban water problems

Our vision is to be the preeminent center that provides integrative real-world solutions to critical urban water problems. WCP’s mission is to support the resilience, sustainability, and equity of urban water systems, and the watersheds upon which they rely, through guidance, assistance and by directing applied collaborative research.

As a guide, students from across the University are encouraged to apply for this grant if they can demonstrate a meaningful nexus between their work and the following areas:

  • Community engagement around water access, racial and gender equity, and affordability
  • Pandemic outbreaks and water challenges
  • Water-focused climate resilience
  • Source water protection
  • Watershed planning and governance
  • Contaminants of Emerging Concern
  • Drinking water and wastewater issues
  • Green infrastructure design, finance and planning
  • Development of predictive and decision-making tools for water management  
  • Artificial intelligence, sensors and robotics
  • Aquatic ecology and associated life sciences

Undergraduate research grant guidelines:

  • Students applying for this grant must work in coordination with a faculty advisor. The grant award can be used towards completion of a capstone or a thesis
  • The student should submit a 2-page synopsis of their proposed applied research and the synopsis must include the following:
    • Background of the proposed research project
    • Problem definition and objective/s of the research project
    • methodological approach to achieve the expected outcomes
    • A summary of expected outcomes and real-world significance
    • A brief statement on how the research is in nexus with Water Center’s research agenda
    • Itemized proposed budget
  • Budget guidelines: the grant can be used for following purposes,
    • purchase of laboratory/other materials related to project
    • procuring textbooks and software useful for proposed research,
    • completion of online courses helpful for the research or field work
    • Field work related travels (conference travel not encouraged)
    • Research assistant hours if the project does not incur any other costs
  • Selection committee will consist of the Water Center Staff and Fellows.
  • The grants will be awarded to undergraduates in amounts of up to $1000 each
  • Grant Period is up to 12 months, starting in November 2020
  • Upon the completion of the work, the deliverables include submitting a technical report or a blog article. Specifics of the deliverables will be outlined in individual award letters.

The application material consisting of the following must be submitted through the CURF application form.

  1. Name of the student
  2. Program and major
  3. Penn school/college
  4. Name of the faculty advisor
  5. 2-page synopsis of the project (please see guidelines above)
  6. One-page Resume

For any questions, contact Dr. Swati Hegde (


Research Offering Type




Undergraduate School

College, Engineering, LPS, Nursing, Wharton



Contact Information

The Water Center at Penn