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Team is awarded $200K through the Stanford EVP grant program


Inspiring Collaboration: Grants empower experts to tackle environmental challenges

Stanford engineers, physicians, sociologists, Earth scientists and others soon will collaborate to make cities healthier, revolutionize plastic recycling, track and treat viruses in water, combat the illegal wildlife trade and more.


Stanford engineers, physicians, sociologists, Earth scientists and others soon will collaborate to make cities healthier, revolutionize plastic recycling, track and treat viruses in water, combat the illegal wildlife trade and more.


The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment is awarding more than $1.5 million to 10 innovative projects as part of its 2021 Environmental Venture Projects (EVP) and Realizing Environmental Innovation Program (REIP) grants. Both programs provide up to $200,000 per project for interdisciplinary research needed to solve major environmental challenges too complex for any one discipline alone to tackle. The Stanford Woods Institute prioritizes funding interdisciplinary projects that have the potential to make significant strides in addressing such multifaceted challenges.

Since EVP began in 2004 and REIP began in 2015, the Stanford Woods Institute has awarded more than $19 million in grants to 122 research teams representing all seven of Stanford’s schools and working in 33 different countries. These projects have gone on to receive more than $47 million in additional funding from other sources.


EVP grants support interdisciplinary, high-risk research projects that identify and develop real-world solutions. The projects selected for 2021:


Improving plastic waste management: Globally, 359 million tons of plastic waste are generated annually. It is estimated that 150-200 million tons accumulate in the natural environment each year. Much plastic waste is single-use and, thanks to its engineered durability, will persist for thousands if not millions of years. This project aims to radically change the way plastic waste is processed via a new biotechnology paradigm: engineering highly active enzymes and microbes capable of breaking down polyesters in a decentralized network of “living” waste receptacles. In parallel, the researchers are building a quantitative model of human behaviors involved in plastic recycling and are in active dialogue with leading apparel companies, as they explore options for a start-up venture that can scale and bring the technology to market for consumer adoption.

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