Grantee Research Project Results
TSE solicitations are generally divided into three or four main research areas, including chemistry or chemical-reaction-based science for pollution prevention, engineering for pollution prevention, green systems and design for sustainable product realization, and sustainable construction processes. The program's scope has broadened over time such that the number of specific research topics has increased, though the major research areas have remained consistent. The first solicitations (1996, 1998) emphasized green chemistry, green engineering, and feedback techniques for pollution prevention. In the 1999 Solicitation, Industrial Ecology was added as a topic. Also, collaboration with industry partners began to be strongly encouraged and was required for all second grant applications. The 2001 Solicitation broadened to include sustainable product realization. In addition, applicants were required to explicitly state potential environmental impacts of their research. In the final solicitation, the 2003 Solicitation, a research category was added for sustainable construction processes.
TSE grants were awarded competitively to fund high quality science that meets the research solicitations goals. The grant applications are evaluated through a rigorous merit review process. The selectivity of the grant program is high, with about 15 percent of the applicants receiving grants in the last two solicitations.
Applicants are encouraged to seek project collaboration with industrial partners on fundamental research issues that link basic and applied aspects of pollution prevention. In some cases, state government agencies or other professional organizations may be an appropriate substitute for an industrial partner.
One NSF research priority that has helped shape the TSE program is the focus on training and education of junior scientists and engineers in academia. Projects that provide both graduate and undergraduate students with experience in research, interdisciplinary educational activities, and student teamwork are strongly encouraged.
The TSE program is not currently being funded by either agency. However, as the results of this ten-year partnership are evaluated further, a next generation TSE effort could be developed.