Funding and Support for Citizen Science Projects Using Air Sensor Monitoring Technology
Getting access to air sensor monitors, equipment, and technical support is an important first step to conducting a citizen science project to measure air quality. One way to get this needed support is by partnering with local universities, air pollution control agencies and others already researching air quality.
This page provides guidance for those interested in finding funding and support for their citizen science projects.
- How to Identify and Develop Partnerships
Universities and other academic institutions
Researchers at a local university or college may be conducting studies to evaluate air quality by using low-cost, portable air sensor monitoring equipment. By connecting with these researchers, citizen scientists may be able to collaborate on these ongoing projects. Researchers may be able to share knowledge about technology and its application that are specific to the local environment. In some cases, citizen groups may be able to gain access to air measurement equipment, software, or computer resources by initiating contact with researchers.
Looking for funding to support a research project? Some research grants may require citizen scientists to partner with university researchers when applying. Other grants may not require a formal partnership, but identifying this source of collaboration or technical support in grant applications could help an application stand out.
These experts are often housed in environmental science, engineering, or public health departments. Contact the information desks of these departments to find experts who are conducting air quality studies with air sensor monitors.
Local air quality management agencies
States and many cities have environmental agencies that measure and help control environmental pollution. Reaching out to these agencies before starting a project can help citizen scientists define their projects and goals. In some cases, these agencies may be able to recommend contacts at local universities who do work on air pollution measurements.
To help prepare for these initial conversations with potential partners, define your goals and objectives, and develop a plan to carry out the research project. A list of questions excerpted from the Air Sensor Guidebook (Appendix A) is listed below that can help when seeking support or funding for a citizen science project.
State and local contacts at air management agencies can be found through National Association for Clean Air Agencies’ website.
Be prepared to answer questions about a proposed project:
- What do you want to find out or show with your measurements?
- What pollutants do you want to measure?
- Do you consider this a nuisance or a health hazard? Is this a recurring problem?
- Do you know the levels for the pollutant or pollutants that you want to measure and how they compare to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards?
- Do you have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) (detailed written instructions so that measurements are taken in a consistent way) for the device you plan to use?
- Did you receive adequate training in how to operate the device and maintain it?
- Did you have any interaction with anyone responsible for the emissions? Have you in the past?
- Where Can You Apply for Funding?
EPA, other federal organizations, and non-profit foundations provide grants and other funding to support citizen science projects. The following list provides the names of organizations and programs that may provide funding.
EPA Grant Resources
- Grants 101 Tutorial
- Environmental Education Local Grants Program
- Air Research Grants
- Air Grants and Funding
- Environmental Justice Grants and Funding
- Grant Programs for Pollution Prevention and Source Reduction Assistance
- Healthy Communities Grant Program
- Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (GAP)
- Clean Diesel Tribal Grants
- Air Grant Programs for Tribes
- Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs
- Region 9 Tribal Air Funding
Other Federal Grant Resources
- US Small Business Administration Sensor Technology for the 21st Century
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Solicitation - Sensor Technology for the 21st Century
- Research to Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants
- Tribal Colleges and Universities Program
- Environmental Engineering Grant
- Research in the formation of Engineers (RFE)
- CBET Public Participation in Engineering Research
- National Environmental Education Foundation
- Public Participation in STEM Research (PPSR)
The following links exit the site Exit
Region or State Specific Grant Resources
- California Environmental Justice Small Grants
- New York State Pollution Prevention Program – Community Grants
- Wisconsin Citizen-Based Monitoring Partnership Program
Foundations and Non-profit Grant Resources
- The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
- The Heinz Endowments
- The Kresge Foundation
- Knight Foundation
- David and Lucile Packard Foundation
- The Norman Foundation
- Surdna Foundation
- Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
- Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grants
- The Takagi Fund for Citizen Science
- The Simons Foundation
- The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Other Citizen Science Funding Sources