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Academic Venture Fund

Academic Venture Fund

Seed Funding for Innovative, Interdisciplinary Research

The Academic Venture Fund (AVF) is our incubator for the next generation of sustainable solutions. The AVF seeds original, interdisciplinary research that is not likely to find funding elsewhere because the projects are novel, risky, need early data to establish traction or involve new teams working together.

Projects span the entire range of sustainability topics, prioritizing resilient rural-urban systems across our primary research themes—Food, Climate, Energy, Health, Water, and Conservation Finance. Cornell Atkinson has granted 135 awards since 2008, for projects from every college on the Cornell campus.

AVF projects often draw in external partners from industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as local leaders and community members. External organizations or individuals interested in partnering for AVF research should contact the senior director of strategic partnerships, Patrick Beary.

AVF at a Glance

  • Proposals due in the spring (now closed)
  • 7-12 awards granted annually ranging from $150,000-$175,000 per project (roughly $1-1.5M total per year)
  • Eligibility: Tenured and tenure track university faculty and similar academic research positions may be PIs

Supplemental Funding

  • Cornell Atkinson is partnering with the Office of Engagement Initiatives to provide additional support for AVF projects that incorporate undergraduate research opportunities and community engagement
  • Awardees may apply for supplemental funding of up to $25,000, enabling the participation and engagement of external organizations or communities in the research project to incorporate diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise

Awards 2008-2021

Training Dogs to Sniff Out New Pests
Training Dogs to Sniff Out New Pests
Antibacterial Resistance in Ithaca’s Drinking Water
Antibacterial Resistance in Ithaca’s Drinking Water
Bending Agricultural Burning Trajectories in Eastern India
Bending Agricultural Burning Trajectories in Eastern India
Improving Cementation of Geothermal Wells
Improving Cementation of Geothermal Wells
Protecting Biodiversity and Air Quality on the Prairie
Protecting Biodiversity and Air Quality on the Prairie
Reducing Healthcare Workers' Risk From Disease Spread
Reducing Healthcare Workers’ Risk From Disease Spread
Upcycling Ash Trees for Sustainable Wood Construction
Upcycling Ash Trees for Sustainable Wood Construction
Mining Rare Earth Elements with Engineered Microorganisms
Mining Rare Earth Elements with Engineered Microorganisms
Spoiling Fish as Food: Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Victoria
Spoiling Fish as Food: Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Victoria
Living with Leopards: Exploring Effects of Human-Leopard Interaction on Food Security and Public Health
Living with Leopards: Exploring Effects of Human-Leopard Interaction on Food Security and Public Health
Sustainable Pollination Resources for New York Apple Farmers
Sustainable Pollination Resources for New York Apple Farmers
Seed Mixtures for Climate Resilience in Ethiopia
Seed Mixtures for Climate Resilience in Ethiopia
Expanding AnyTown USA Wastewater Treatment Facilities into Local Microgrid Hubs
Expanding AnyTown USA Wastewater Treatment Facilities into Local Microgrid Hubs
Get the Lead Out: Alternative Ammunition Can Solve a One Health Conundrum
Get the Lead Out: Alternative Ammunition Can Solve a One Health Conundrum
Grazing Sheep on Solar Array Sites to Boost Pollinator Habitat and Sequester Soil Carbon
Grazing Sheep on Solar Array Sites to Boost Pollinator Habitat and Sequester Soil Carbon
Combined Solar Heating and Thermoelectric Generation as Distributed Energy Resources
Combined Solar Heating and Thermoelectric Generation as Distributed Energy Resources
Design Research for Carbon Removal
Design Research for Carbon Removal
Using Data to Boost Drought Resilience in the Caribbean
Using Data to Boost Drought Resilience in the Caribbean
Doing More with Less: Sustainable Livestock and Wildlife Management
Doing More with Less: Sustainable Livestock and Wildlife Management
The Role of Nitrogen in Toxic Blooms in the Finger Lakes
The Role of Nitrogen in Toxic Blooms in the Finger Lakes
Opening the Door to Nature-Based Engagement
Opening the Door to Nature-Based Engagement
The Future of Fibers May Be Local
The Future of Fibers May Be Local
Stay or Go? How Environment Affects Migration in Mexico
Stay or Go? How Environment Affects Migration in Mexico
Sustainable Intensification and Conservation of African Rice
Sustainable Intensification and Conservation of African Rice
Sounds of Soil
Sounds of Soil
Making Farm-to-Fork Food Safety More Sustainable
Making Farm-to-Fork Food Safety More Sustainable
Waste No More: Creating Aquaculture Feed from Seafood Industry Byproducts
Waste No More: Creating Aquaculture Feed from Seafood Industry Byproducts
Recycling Poultry Litter for Fertile Fields
Recycling Poultry Litter for Fertile Fields
Bridging the NYS Rural and Urban Divide through a Public 'Internet of Things'
Bridging the NYS Rural and Urban Divide through a Public ‘Internet of Things’
Greening the Grid
Greening the Grid
Making the Most of Marginal Lands
Making the Most of Marginal Lands
Taking the Quicksilver out of Gold Mining
Taking the Quicksilver out of Gold Mining
Analyzing Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture
Analyzing Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture
Seeding Solar in New York
Seeding Solar in New York
The Future of Pharma is Sustainable
The Future of Pharma is Sustainable
Sustainable Yield for Colombian Cows
Sustainable Yield for Colombian Cows
Small Device, Big Results
Small Device, Big Results
Wildlife-Friendly Beef
Wildlife-Friendly Beef
Preparing for Earth Source Heat
Preparing for Earth Source Heat
Green is the Norm
Green is the Norm
A Lethal Legacy
A Lethal Legacy
Photosynthesis for Farmers
Photosynthesis for Farmers
Learning for Conservation
Learning for Conservation
No Fish Tale: Feed of the Future
No Fish Tale: Feed of the Future
Imagining Energy Transitions
Imagining Energy Transitions
Building Better Cities
Building Better Cities
From C02 to Fuel
From C02 to Fuel
Hydropower and Ecosystem Services
Hydropower and Ecosystem Services
Coffee: What's Fair?
Coffee: What’s Fair?
Detecting Toxic Chemicals in Fracking Water
Detecting Toxic Chemicals in Fracking Water
Crop Disease and Climate Change
Crop Disease and Climate Change
Fighting Bacteria with Better Dairy Practices
Fighting Bacteria with Better Dairy Practices
Boosting Maize Yields Sustainably
Boosting Maize Yields Sustainably
Power in the Wind
Power in the Wind
Conservation Incentive Programs for Latin America
Conservation Incentive Programs for Latin America
Wild Seafood, Healthy Harvest
Wild Seafood, Healthy Harvest
Big Pool, Little Pool
Big Pool, Little Pool
New Tech for an Ancient Food
New Tech for an Ancient Food
Tracking Seismic Activity
Tracking Seismic Activity
Cornell Climate Plan Reflections
Cornell Climate Plan Reflections
Solar Power's Shadow Costs
Solar Power’s Shadow Costs
Real Savings from Home Retrofits
Real Savings from Home Retrofits
Reviving Oysters
Reviving Oysters
Quick Clean-up of Contaminated Water
Quick Clean-up of Contaminated Water
Ecological Calendars for Climate Change
Ecological Calendars for Climate Change
Geoengineering on a Regional Scale
Geoengineering on a Regional Scale
Wind Energy, More Efficiently
Wind Energy, More Efficiently
Reassessing Roundup
Reassessing Roundup
Rapid Test for Waterborne Diseases
Biofuel Surrogates for Transportation Fuels
Biofuel Surrogates for Transportation Fuels
Healthy Soil + Fertile Land + Food Security
Healthy Soil + Fertile Land + Food Security
Sustainable Rice: Less Water, Less Arsenic
Sustainable Rice: Less Water, Less Arsenic
Controlling the Whitefly Scourge for Staple Crops
Controlling the Whitefly Scourge for Staple Crops
Conserving Ecuador's Forests for Bears and Biodiversity
Conserving Ecuador’s Forests for Bears and Biodiversity
Healthy Living in Smart Cities
Healthy Living in Smart Cities
Crowdsourcing Rangeland Ecology Data
Crowdsourcing Rangeland Ecology Data
Greening Greenhouses with Yard Waste
Greening Greenhouses with Yard Waste
Expanding Bird Habitats at Home
Expanding Bird Habitats at Home
Early Response to Emerging Epidemics
Early Response to Emerging Epidemics
After the Conifers Die
After the Conifers Die
Bioenergy from Dairy Manure
Bioenergy from Dairy Manure
Monarchs: Conservation and Controversy
Monarchs: Conservation and Controversy
Small Molecules to Vanquish Parasitic Worms
Small Molecules to Vanquish Parasitic Worms
Cornell NutriPhone: Personalized Micronutrient Analysis
Cornell NutriPhone: Personalized Micronutrient Analysis
An Environmental Flows Framework for the Andes
An Environmental Flows Framework for the Andes
Sustainable Coffee: A Better Model for Smallholder Farmers
Sustainable Coffee: A Better Model for Smallholder Farmers
Biodegradation of Cattle Manure Using Fly Larvae
Biodegradation of Cattle Manure Using Fly Larvae
A Toilet with Biological Pathogen Control
A Toilet with Biological Pathogen Control
Understanding Clouds for Better Climate Prediction
Understanding Clouds for Better Climate Prediction
What Causes Brown Tides?
What Causes Brown Tides?
Impacts of Pathogens and Pesticides on Wild Bees in Eastern Apple Orchards
Impacts of Pathogens and Pesticides on Wild Bees in Eastern Apple Orchards
Improving Energy Cost and Scalability of Algal Biofuels
Improving Energy Cost and Scalability of Algal Biofuels
A Hydrogen Test Bed at Cornell
A Hydrogen Test Bed at Cornell
Climate Protection as a Driver for Job Creation in New York State
Sustainable Production of Staple Leafy Green Vegetable Crops in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sustainable Production of Staple Leafy Green Vegetable Crops in Sub-Saharan Africa
Does a Healthy Diet Lead to a Healthy Environment?
Does a Healthy Diet Lead to a Healthy Environment?
Probing the Micromechanics of Shale under Varying Fluid Compositions
Probing the Micromechanics of Shale under Varying Fluid Compositions
Assessing Mycotoxin Exposure in Pregnant Zimbabwean Women
Assessing Mycotoxin Exposure in Pregnant Zimbabwean Women
Developing Species-Specific and Environmentally Friendly Insect Control
Developing Species-Specific and Environmentally Friendly Insect Control
Energy Harvesting from High-Density, Small-Scale Turbines in Urban Areas
Energy Harvesting from High-Density, Small-Scale Turbines in Urban Areas
New Sales Approach for Improved Cookstoves
New Sales Approach for Improved Cookstoves
Threats to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Finger Lakes
Threats to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Finger Lakes
Developing a Sustainable Specialty Crop Greenhouse Industry in the Northeast
Developing a Sustainable Specialty Crop Greenhouse Industry in the Northeast
Harnessing Genomics to Advance Biodiversity and Conservation Research
Harnessing Genomics to Advance Biodiversity and Conservation Research
Sustainable Disease Management for Emerging Bioenergy Crops
Sustainable Disease Management for Emerging Bioenergy Crops
Property Formalization and the Role of Technology in Tanzania
Property Formalization and the Role of Technology in Tanzania
Fugitive Emissions in Natural Gas Production from Shale
Fugitive Emissions in Natural Gas Production from Shale
Sustainable Pest Management and Yield Increase Strategies
Sustainable Pest Management and Yield Increase Strategies
School Gardens for New York
School Gardens for New York
A New Framework for Evaluating Agrarian Development
A New Framework for Evaluating Agrarian Development
Bacteriophages for the Dairy Industry
Bacteriophages for the Dairy Industry
Monitoring Protocols for the Marcellus Shale
Monitoring Protocols for the Marcellus Shale
Thousandfold Improvement in Solar Photobioreactors
Thousandfold Improvement in Solar Photobioreactors
Biochar Fibers for Personal Protective Equipment
Biochar Fibers for Personal Protective Equipment
Water Governance in the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin
Water Governance in the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin
Self-Powered Wireless Solar Tiles for a Renewable Energy Future
Self-Powered Wireless Solar Tiles for a Renewable Energy Future
Carbon Sequestration Risk Analysis
Carbon Sequestration Risk Analysis
University Collaboration on Wind Energy
University Collaboration on Wind Energy
Sustainability of Food Systems
Sustainability of Food Systems
Assessing Carbon Sequestration in Complex Agricultural Landscapes
Assessing Carbon Sequestration in Complex Agricultural Landscapes
Green Energy Development and Rural Community Sustainability
Green Energy Development and Rural Community Sustainability
Micropowdered Biomass Combustion
Micropowdered Biomass Combustion
A Solar Cell Using Inorganic "Grass"
A Solar Cell Using Inorganic “Grass”
Algal Bioreactors for Biofuel Production
Algal Bioreactors for Biofuel Production
Cornell Workshop on Large-Scale Wind-Generated Power
Cornell Workshop on Large-Scale Wind-Generated Power
Sources of Uncertainty for Sustainable Resource Management
Sources of Uncertainty for Sustainable Resource Management
Integrated Digital Design Environment for Sustainable Architecture
Integrated Digital Design Environment for Sustainable Architecture
Social Networks for Biological Inventories and Information
Social Networks for Biological Inventories and Information
Forecasting Disease and Economic Consequences of Climate Change
Forecasting Disease and Economic Consequences of Climate Change
Urban Trees for Sustainable Cities
Urban Trees for Sustainable Cities
Environmental, Energetic and Economic Potential of Biochar
Environmental, Energetic and Economic Potential of Biochar
Understanding Aflatoxin Accumulation in Maize
Understanding Aflatoxin Accumulation in Maize
Vibro-Wind Technology
Vibro-Wind Technology
Environmental Sustainability in an Aging Society
Environmental Sustainability in an Aging Society
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles
People and trees
Accelerating Agroforestry for a Healthy Planet
Eastern hemlock
Improved Flood Prediction With Better Hydraulic Simulation
Malawi sunset
Climate Change Preparations Informed by Local Forest Inventories
Climate justice factory
Expanding the Repertoire of Community-led Climate Justice Practices
subway car
A New Data-driven Approach to Rethink Sustainable, High-density Urban Environments in the Light of Pandemic Resilience
Amazon fish
Balancing Environmental and Nutritional Tradeoffs of Expanding Amazonian Aquaculture
scientist in the field
Accelerating Carbon Removal Through Enhanced Weathering by Capturing Heavy Metals From Alkaline Sources
mycelium
Enabling Circular Construction With Fungi-based Materials
hydroponic sprouts
Increasing Milk Production and Reducing Greenhouse Gas by Feeding Cows Hydroponic Sprouts
aquaculture
Promoting Sustainable Seafood by Tracing Ingredients in Aquaculture Feeds
Soil
Sustainable Design for the Circular Bionutrient Economy

Primary Research Areas:

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