MIT Student Support

Open RFPs

The J-WAFS Grant for Water and Food Projects in India is a funding opportunity for current members of the MIT community—including students—interested in addressing a water or food challenge in India. Up to $30,000 will be awarded in 2020. The grants are intended to further work being pursued by individuals as part of their MIT research, innovation & entrepreneurship initiatives, coursework, or related activities, or support a relevant new activity.

The grant is for development projects or projects benefiting low-income populations. Examples of relevant challenges may include but are not limited to:

  • Economically appropriate water purification technologies, esp. for rural areas
  • Water distribution and management strategies, esp. for rural areas
  • Other water quality issues, e.g. sanitation, monitoring, etc.
  • Food safety issues
  • Food preservation and waste reduction
  • Water for agriculture, especially smallholder farms
  • Agricultural innovations and improvements

Eligibility: Faculty members, full-time research staff, currently matriculated MIT graduate and undergraduate students, or small teams with at least 50% MIT participation and an eligible individual in the leadership role will be considered for funding.

Download the RFP

In 2017, J-WAFS inaugurated two J-WAFS graduate student fellowships: the Rasikbhai L. Meswani Fellowship for Water Solutions and the J-WAFS Graduate Student Fellowship Program. For each fellowship, selected doctoral students will receive one semester of funding.

The Rasikbhai L. Meswani Fellowship for Water Solutions is a doctoral fellowship for students pursuing research related to water and water supply at MIT. Up to two outstanding students will be selected annually to receive fellowship support; the Fellowship currently covers one academic semester. This fellowship was made possible by Elina and Nikhil Meswani and family. Through it we seek to support outstanding MIT students who are pursuing solutions to the pressing global water supply challenges of our time.

The J-WAFS Research Affiliate Program offers companies the opportunity to partner with MIT around food and water research. The program is central to J-WAFS' efforts to engage across sector and disciplinary boundaries in solving real-world problems. A portion of each Research Affiliate’s fees support the J-WAFS Graduate Student Fellowship Program. One MIT doctoral student pursuing work in water and water supply will be supported for one semester.

Eligibility: Application to the Meswani Fellowship and the J-WAFS Graduate Student Fellowship is by faculty nomination; nominating faculty and students interested in the fellowship should read the RFP for instructions and nominating requirements.

Students eligible to be nominated for a Meswani Fellowship or a J-WAFS Graduate Student Fellowship must be in their second or third year of PhD studies and must have passed their qualifying exams by the nomination deadline. Nominees should be engaged in research focused on alleviating the problems of water supply or other solutions-based research and innovation related to the water sector. They should also have a clear research question and plan that they are actively pursuing. J-WAFS seeks students with outstanding academic credentials for these fellowships; candidates should be able to demonstrate a GPA of 4.5 or higher. Eligible students must be in residence at MIT during the fellowship award period.

Download the RFP

Ongoing

The J-WAFS Research Affiliate program is an opportunity for corporate, government, or non-profit partners to directly support and engage with the MIT research community to pursue research to answer specific water and food sector challenges that are identified by the collaborating partner. Projects funded through this program are considered sponsored research, and varies depending upon J-WAFS’ arrangement with a particular research affiliate.

Students have in the past benefitted from this research arrangement, gaining access to executives and leaders in the water and food sectors, networking with professionals outside of academia, and even securing jobs upon graduation.

Engagement between Research Affiliate partners and MIT researchers is coordinated through J-WAFS.

Eligibility: MIT principal investigators from all departments, labs, and centers of MIT are eligible to participate in this sponsored research funding opportunity. The principal investigator submitting the proposal may be an MIT professor or a member of the research staff with principal investigator privileges (generally senior or principal research scientist, or senior or principal engineer.)

This funding opportunity does not use an open RFP process. J-WAFS’ leadership will personally reach out to pre-identified MIT PIs to create proposals.

Currently Closed

J-WAFS offers travel grants for MIT graduate students to attend select international water conferences. This year, the grant is available to applicants interested in attending Stockholm World Water Week (August 25-30, 2019) in particular. Nearly 400 organizations from 130 countries meet at this event, organized to discuss global water issues. The 2019 theme is “Water for society – Including all.” The selected students will benefit from opportunities to interact with leaders from Xylem, Inc., a World Water Week sponsor and J-WAFS Research Affiliate. In addition to attending Water Week, selected students will be able to participate in Xylem-sponsored side events.

Eligibility: Students eligible to apply for the travel grants must currently be full-time MIT graduate students whose research, academics, and other activities demonstrate a commitment to addressing water quality, water supply, or related public or private sector challenges around water use, sustainability, and access, as well as an interest in pursuing a career in the water sector. Students selected for support will be responsible for making their own travel arrangements, and if they don’t hold a US passport, they are responsible for determining requirements and applying in a timely manner for any needed visas.

Funded students will be expected to maintain a daily journal at the conference, in which they record and reflect on their experiences there, including sessions attended, people they meet or engage with, interactions with Xylem, what they are learning, and how the conference influences their thinking about their research or career aspirations. Upon return J-WAFS’ communications team will request a summary of the student’s experience as well as photos to be used in J-WAFS’s newsletter, communications with the funder, and other materials. The funded students will also be asked to acknowledge their appreciation to Xylem for the gift that is supporting this funding opportunity and any additional opportunities provided during the conference.

Download the RFP

The J-WAFS Grant for Reducing the Negative Impacts of Industrial Animal Agriculture is a funding opportunity for current members of the MIT community—including students—interested in addressing problems associated with industrial animal food production (IFAP). The production of food from animals, including meat, milk, and eggs, has largely been industrialized in developed countries, providing a substantial portion of the typical diet in those countries with minimal human labor, but imposing significant environmental and other impacts that are often poorly monitored and regulated, and largely unaccounted for in economic terms. Developing countries still largely rely on smaller farms, but IFAP is expanding as these countries seek to intensify their food production systems, while meat consumption in these countries rises as per capita income increases. This grant is available to members of the MIT community interested in reducing the negative impacts of industrial animal agriculture through innovative solutions.

Up to $50,000 will be awarded in 2019. The grants are intended to further work being pursued by individuals as part of their MIT research, innovation & entrepreneurship, coursework, or related activities. Applicants may request up to $20,000 in funding. J-WAFS will award two to three grants based on the winning proposal(s).

Examples of relevant challenges could include but are not limited to the following:

  • Reducing the environmental footprint of animal agriculture
  • Addressing the social and economic impacts of animal agriculture
  • Improving animal and human health

More examples are included in the RFP.

Eligibility: Faculty members, full-time research staff, currently matriculated MIT graduate and undergraduate students, or small teams with at least 50% MIT participation and an eligible individual in the leadership role will be considered for funding. Grants can be used over the course of one year to support travel, technology pilots, scale-up studies, community outreach and education, etc. Local partners are encouraged but the grant funding should support MIT activities. Funds may not be used for MIT equipment purchases.

Download the RFP