J-WAFS Water and Food Grand Challenge Grant

Check back in the Fall of 2024 for the next request for SOIs

This J-WAFS funding opportunity is for MIT researchers to address a significant “Grand Challenge” in water and/or food systems. Going beyond our seed grants, we seek to fund a larger, integrated project that addresses a significant challenge in the area of water and/or food for human need, specifically in the context of climate change. This funding opportunity targets grand challenges in water and food that can leverage multiple existing areas of expertise, programs, and Institute resources. We wish to identify challenges that can benefit from actionable, solutions-oriented research.

Cross-disciplinary approaches are highly encouraged. Projects involving collaboration with non-MIT researchers or external stakeholders are encouraged, but please note that the J-WAFS funding itself will be limited to supporting MIT research.  We recognize that there is potential overlap with topics and teams emerging from the MIT Climate Grand Challenge.  While we would avoid funding research explicitly identified by any of the five Flagship projects that emerged from that process, we are open to complementary or synergistic topics.  

Teams must be led by a Principal Investigator who meets one of these two eligibility criteria:

  • MIT professor 
  • Member of the MIT research staff with principal investigator privileges (generally senior or principal research scientist, or senior or principal engineer)

We anticipate funding one 2-3 year project with a total budget of up to $1,500,000 (overhead free).  

This funding opportunity has a multi-step process, starting with workshops in the fall to explore potential research topics and help teams form.  Brief statements of interest describing an impact area, research topic, and approach are due at the beginning of December.  Based on these, J-WAFS will invite selected teams to submit concept papers.  Following an external review process, two to three final proposals will be invited.  The following dates are approximate: 

September 2023:    Funding opportunity announced
Oct.-Nov. 2023:    Workshops  
Friday, Dec. 8, 2023:     Two-page statements of interest due
Late Dec. 2023:    Invitations to submit concept papers issued      
Mid-February 2024:     Team concept papers due 
Late March 2024:     Invitations to submit full proposals issued
Late June 2024:    Proposals due
Summer 2024:    Final funding decisions
Sept. 1, 2024 or Jan. 1, 2025:     Research starts

If you would like to join the 2023 Grand Challenge mailing list to stay up-to-date on this year's opportunity, please click the button below: