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Climate Solutions Fund RFP


Climate Solutions Fund: 2024 Request for Proposals

The 2030 Project aims to catalyze large-scale, meaningful, impact-oriented climate research at Cornell University, working across all colleges and professional schools, in this decisive decade of action.

To that end, we have launched the inaugural call for proposals to the Climate Solutions Fund, a new funding opportunity from The 2030 Project, administered by the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.

The Climate Solutions Fund, which is supported in part by the generous proceeds from a Dead & Co. concert at Cornell, seeks to accelerate cross-disciplinary efforts in the 2030 Project pillars: food & farms of the future; the energy systems of the future; the materials of the future; and the societies of the future – helping to develop systems that support human flourishing while minimizing harmful climate impacts.

Proposals might include, but are not limited to, solutions involving renewable and zero-carbon energy production; zero-emission agriculture; decarbonized industrial processes and sustainable material extraction; climate finance and climate policy development; and climate justice and adaptation.

Award Information:

We are currently accepting proposals for projects in the $100,000-$200,000 range.


Any professorial faculty and non-visiting RTE (Research, Teaching, Extension) faculty with a primary appointment at Cornell University, in any college, may apply. See Cornell PI eligibility guidelines for more detail.

Award Timeline:

  • Nov. 30, 2023: Call for proposals
  • Feb. 1, 2024: Climate Solutions Fund Roundtable Event
  • Mar. 7, 2024, 10:30 A.M. ET: Information Session (Zoom registration)
  • Mar. 29, 2024, 11:59 P.M. ET: Deadline for proposal submission
  • May 8, 2024: Estimated notification date
  • July 1, 2024: Earliest project start date

How to Apply:

  1. Online application form: Click here to access. The form requests basic contact information, project title, etc.
  2. Application text: Proposal write-ups should not exceed 5 pages (single-spaced). Proposal length limit does not include any pages dedicated to budget or letters of support.
  3. Project budget: Submit the budget using our budget spreadsheet template (saved as Your Last Name-First Name.xlsx) and upload via the online application form.

Application text sections:

Proposals must include the following formatted sections:

1. Overview of Research or Program Proposal. A brief (3-5 sentence) summary of research or program proposal.

2. Categories of Climate Action This Research Will Further (identify all that apply) (~1-2 sentences)
– Reduce Emissions – Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from human activity or process.
Remove Greenhouse Gases – Reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases or enhance sequestration; utilize carbon for a product.
Prepare Ourselves for a Warming and More Extreme World– Improve human ability to adapt to changes that are projected from global climate change.
Advance Just, Equitable, and Legitimate Transition – Improve quality of life, equity, legitimacy, or justice as part of a transition associated with preventing or preparing for climate change.

3. Magnitude of Opportunity & Impacts (~1-2 paragraphs) Describe as clearly as possible magnitude of the potential magnitude for ultimate impact, such as:
Magnitude of Current Emissions Source That Could Be Abated/Reduced
Magnitude of Potential Reduction/Removal at Scale
Magnitude of Benefit/Harm Avoided

We are particularly interested in quantitative estimates if possible, though qualitative assessments are also welcome. Please justify estimates based on peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Consider how your proposal could also advance an equitable and just transition, improving quality of life, equity, legitimacy, or justice as part of a transition to prevent or prepare for climate change.

Particular interest is in projects that could ultimately help to catalyze large-scale projects with scalable potential: .5 billion tons or more of annual emission reductions or removal; projects that impact >50,000 people, globally scalable to billions of tons and millions of people.

4. Consistency With One or More Articulated Public or Private Climate Goals (1-2 sentences)
Identify consistency with one or more external public or private climate goal, such as the United States emission reduction goal; R&D opportunities identified by the White House to meet 2050 climate goals; the global Methane pledge; New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals; or a corporate Net-Zero pledge.

5. Route to Impact (~2-3 paragraphs)
Describe the route by which this research would create an impact. An impact might include altering an industry practice, informing a change in policy, developing a new product or entrepreneurial opportunity, or catalyzing a shift in public opinion. Among other kinds of impacts, we welcome proposals that would advance a new entrepreneurial endeavor or enable technology commercialization. If this is to advance the development of a new process, technology, or product, please characterize the current status and your future ambition with your proposal in the context of its TRL (Technology Readiness Level).

6. Partners (2-3 sentences + letters of support)
We are interested in proposals that build new or deepen existing partnerships with key non-academic partners, such as a government, company, or organization, to turn research into impact (e.g. EDF; Nature Conservancy; Clean Air Task Force; Rocky Mountain Institute). What key non-academic partners will be relevant or required to turn this research into impact? Please include letters of support or interest from partners if available.

7. Objective, Timeline, and Key Deliverables (~2-3 paragraphs + timeline or chart)
Describe the objectives of the research and timeline, as well as key deliverables.

8. Resources Needed for Impact (~1-2 paragraphs + attached budget template)
Describe the resource need for the research and its translation into impact. (Include project budget according to attached template).

9. Novelty and Innovation (~1-2 paragraphs)
Please describe how your proposal or approach differs from other existing solutions or lines of research. Contextualize your proposal among other similar inquiries or solutions being developed or pursued.

10. Risks and Barriers to Success (~1-2 paragraphs)
Describe the risks and barriers to success associated with this research or its scalability.

11. Other Funding (~2-3 sentences)
Please describe other sources of funding this project currently receives and describe prospects for future follow-on funding opportunities.

12. Future Plans (~1-2 paragraphs)
Describe the next steps for further expansion development of this research beyond the initial project.


Climate Solution Fund PIs will:

  • Meet with the Center leadership to discuss the progress of efforts in research, intended applications, desired impacts, development of Cornell and external partnerships, followon funding, and milestones met and/or
  • Submit periodic reports describing results and progress relating to each specific metric of success presented in the proposal
  • Respond to surveys or other requests for information about the longer-term impacts of the project after the funding ends
  • Acknowledge The 2030 Project: A Cornell Climate Initiative in presentations, reports, and publications stemming at least in part from this funding. Guidance for acknowledging your affiliation with Cornell Atkinson can be found on our website.


All proposal materials MUST be received by 11:59 PM ET on Friday, March 29th, 2024.

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