The Sustainability Research Grants were initiated through the Class of 2010’s gift to the University. The grants are distributed through a collaborative venture between the Office of Sustainability and the Undergraduate Research Program. One grant of $1,000 is awarded each academic year for research related to sustainability. Students from all disciplines and diverse backgrounds who are, or will be, engaged in independent, faculty-mentored undergraduate research related to sustainability are encouraged to apply. The recipients of the awards are known as Sustainability Research Scholars.

Sustainability research clearly addresses the concept of sustainability, furthers understanding of the interdependence of ecological and social/economic systems, or focuses on a major sustainability challenge. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals illustrate the breadth of sustainability and major sustainability challenges.












The Sustainability Research Grants are intended to enhance quality mentoring relationships between faculty and students who work together to answer questions and solve problems and provide learning opportunities of the highest caliber. Research conducted by Sustainability Research Scholars and faculty mentors must contribute in meaningful ways to sustainability and the knowledge base of a given discipline. Although the end product of all research is unknown as the work is undertaken, it is expected that the work of Sustainability Research Scholars will be linked to the expertise of their faculty mentors to ensure quality and potential to contribute to the discipline. Preference will be given to projects investigating the development or implementation of new campus sustainability initiatives and/or enhancements to existing initiatives.

Funding associated with a Sustainability Research Grant can be used to support any project related expenses. The award may be applied to tuition in cases of demonstrated unmet (high) financial need.

All endowed grant funds are tied to the academic year of the award and do not roll over to subsequent years.

All equipment and software purchased with sustainability grant funds become property of Elon University. Elon does not pay students or Elon faculty for their labor (e.g., transcription, inter-rater reliability), but Elon will reimburse for gift cards for participants and professional transcription like

Application deadline

Applications for the 2024-2025 grant are due March 8, 2024 at 5:00 pm.

Please visit the Undergraduate Research Endowed Grants web page for application details.

Note: To receive any support from the Undergraduate Research Program, including being accepted to SURF, applicable approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) must be in place before any data collection from human subjects takes place. View the IRB Web site for more information about this requirement.


  • Applicants are or will be engaged in independent, faculty-mentored undergraduate research.
  • Successful applicants typically will have already completed some initial activities in the proposed research topic.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a 3.2 GPA, both cumulative and in the major in which the research will be conducted.
  • For the year the student receives a Sustainability Research Grant, he/she must register for at least one credit hour of 4998/4999 course credit in two semesters (fall, winter or spring).
  • Sustainability Research Grant recipients are required to apply to present their work at the Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) prior to graduation. It is expected that recipients also will present their work in other venues as appropriate. Additionally, the recipients will be expected to present their work to the Environmental Advisory Council.
  • Sustainability Research Grant recipients (students and mentors) may be asked to participate in panel discussions, admissions events and other activities related to the Undergraduate Research program and/or the Office of Sustainability. It is expected that the recipients will make every effort to aid the Undergraduate Research Program and Office of Sustainability in articulating the value of the undergraduate research experience.
  • Copies of presentations or manuscripts resulting from work supported by the Sustainability Research Grant funds must be submitted (electronically) to the Office of Sustainability when they are completed.
  • Any recipient failing to meet any of these requirements will forfeit his or her Sustainability Research Grant funds.

Renewal of a Sustainability Research Grant

Students who received a Sustainability Research Grant in any previous year may apply for a renewal of Sustainability Research Grant support. In addition to the standard application information, a request for renewal must be accompanied by a one-page report on the status of work supported by the previous Sustainability Research Grant, including evidence of publications and/or presentations made as a result of the award. Requests for renewal will be evaluated based on the criteria listed above and by the progress made under the previous award. Students may be supported by Sustainability Research Grant funds for no more than two years.

Additional Information

Reimbursement Guidelines