Grants Database

The Foundation awards approximately 200 grants per year (excluding the Sloan Research Fellowships), totaling roughly $80 million dollars in annual commitments in support of research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics. This database contains grants for currently operating programs going back to 2008. For grants from prior years and for now-completed programs, see the annual reports section of this website.

Grants Database

Grantee
Amount
City
Year
  • grantee: The University of Texas, Austin
    amount: $76,000
    city: Austin, TX
    year: 2018

    To analyze building performance data of the UTest House for HOMEChem

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Atila Novoselac

    To analyze building performance data of the UTest House for HOMEChem

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  • grantee: University of California, Berkeley
    amount: $780,000
    city: Berkeley, CA
    year: 2018

    To expand understanding of the roles that microorganisms play in shaping the chemistry of indoor environments

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Rachel Adams

    This grant funds a research project by Rachel Adams, research scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, to expand our understanding of how microorganisms shape the chemistry of indoor environments. Adams and colleagues will undertake a series of controlled chamber experiments to identify the boundaries of microbial production of chemical volatile organic compounds due to humidity on various surfaces fundamental to homes, including drywall, carpets, and wood. The team also plans to investigate the relative importance of growth substrate, including the dust matrix in which most household environmental microbes are embedded, and, by varying substrate and inoculum in a controlled manner, of microbial taxonomic identity. In addition to creating a more thorough inventory of MVOCs, these research activities will determine how changing environmental conditions underlie the microbial processes that determine chemical emissions. This project will result in new knowledge about microbially mediated processes that impact the chemistry of indoor spaces. The results will be shared through peer-reviewed publications and presentations at meetings and workshops. Two undergraduate, one master’s and one Ph.D. student will be trained.

    To expand understanding of the roles that microorganisms play in shaping the chemistry of indoor environments

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  • grantee: Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
    amount: $409,975
    city: Mainz, Germany
    year: 2018

    To examine the role of humans and human emissions in indoor air chemistry

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Jonathan Williams

    This grant funds a research project by Jonathan Williams, research group leader, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, in collaboration with Pawel Wargocki, associate professor at the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) that will investigate the impact of exhaled and dermally emitted human emissions in climate chambers under different conditions of clothing, temperature, relative humidity, and ozone. Volatile organic compound (VOCs) emissions will be characterized by Williams and his team using state-of-the-art proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PTR-TOF-MS). Novel analytical techniques developed by Williams for outdoor use will be used to measure OH reactivity of the human emissions, which will account for any “missing” emissions.   Twin stainless steel climate chambers located at the DTU will be used to measure how human emissions vary between cold and dry versus hot and humid conditions, and how human emissions change with the presence of ozone and with different clothing. Williams’ experiments will allow for the isolation of exhaled versus dermally emitted bio effluents and the contribution if each to OH reactivity will be separately measured. These measurements will allow Williams to make the first ever OH reactivity–based budget of the human-influenced indoor environment and will reveal what proportion of human emissions currently can be measured and what proportion is “missing.” This new knowledge will be shared through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. At least one postdoctoral fellow will be trained.

    To examine the role of humans and human emissions in indoor air chemistry

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  • grantee: University of Michigan
    amount: $300,000
    city: Ann Arbor, MI
    year: 2018

    To examine the pH of indoor surfaces

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Andrew Ault

    This grant supports research by Andrew Ault, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Chemistry at the University of Michigan, to examine the pH of indoor surfaces and answer two related questions: “What are the properties of aqueous films on indoor surfaces?” and, more specifically, “What is the pH of surface water layers indoors?” To this end, Ault will determine the properties of water layers and range of pH values present on the surface of six common building materials—glass, concrete, drywall, latex painted drywall, carpet, and wood—as well as six associated proxy model systems—silicon dioxide, quicklime (cement)/limestone (aggregate), gypsum, synthetic rubber, nylon, and cellulose. Materials will be studied before and after aging for six months in a residential environment. The project will determine the water and water layer properties (including island formation, structured water, and accessible water fraction) as a function of relative humidity (RH) for different materials, model systems, and aged samples. The project also will reveal the intrinsic pH of the samples as a function of RH, as well as the differences in pH for aged samples across spatial scales ranging from nano to macro. Last, Ault and his team will determine the sensitivity of pH to gaseous acids and bases and acidic aerosols and associated kinetics.

    To examine the pH of indoor surfaces

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  • grantee: University of Saskatchewan
    amount: $729,933
    city: Saskatoon, Canada
    year: 2018

    To examine photon fluxes, oxidants, and oxidant precursors in indoor environments

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Tara Kahan

    Funds from this grant support a project by Tara S. Kahan, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan, in collaboration with Jianshun Zhang, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, at Syracuse University to examine indoor photon fluxes and determine concentrations, sources, and sinks of indoor oxidants and oxidant precursors. The project will combine laboratory, field, and chamber studies to better understand oxidizing capacity from emerging precursors in residences. Kahan will investigate the sources and sinks of indoor oxidants by measuring oxidant precursor concentrations in three residences, measuring indoor photon fluxes under a range of conditions, and determining oxidant concentrations via chamber experiments that simulate indoor conditions. The results will be shared through peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Environmental Sciences & Technology and Indoor Air. The team also plans to make presentations at conferences and meetings, including meetings of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate and the American Association for Aerosol Research. One postdoctoral scholar, three graduate students, and one undergraduate student will be trained on this project.

    To examine photon fluxes, oxidants, and oxidant precursors in indoor environments

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  • grantee: York University
    amount: $274,942
    city: Toronto, Canada
    year: 2018

    To develop analytical platforms for the detection of reactive nitrogen indoors

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Trevor VandenBoer

    Reactive nitrogen species—nitrous acid (HONO), ammonia (NH3), and amines (NR3)—are present indoors. These reactive nitrogen species are important because of the associated chemical and physical transformations. Outdoors, amines are implicated in particle formation. And HONO is photolabile, which means it decomposes in the presence of light, generating the important oxidant hydroxyl radical. Hydroxyl radicals can then rapidly react with volatile organic compounds, leading to secondary aerosol formation. Detecting concentrations of these chemicals is vital to answering key questions about the chemistry of indoor environments, such as “What is the role of ammonia and amines in indoor chemistry?” and “To what extent do they contribute to new particle formation?” This grant funds a team led by Trevor VandenBoer, Visiting Professor of Chemistry at York University, that aims to develop analytical platforms for the detection of reactive nitrogen indoors. The work plan has three parts. First, the team plans to develop new selective sampling methodologies for the passive collection of HONO, ammonia, and amines in indoor environments. Second, they plan to design and construct a real-time monitor for HONO and total reactive nitrogen that can discriminate between gas and particulate pools. Finally, they will validate the new methods both against traditional benchmarks and through deployment in various indoor environments. The team plans to share their findings through peer-reviewed articles and presentations at several scientific and professional conferences. One postdoctoral fellow, three graduate students, and numerous undergraduates will be trained in the course of the project.

    To develop analytical platforms for the detection of reactive nitrogen indoors

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  • grantee: Washington University in St. Louis
    amount: $298,758
    city: St. Louis, MO
    year: 2018

    To develop a chemically-resolved volatility and polarity separator for improved understanding of indoor air chemistry

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Brent Williams

    Funds from this grant support a team led by Brent Williams of Washington University in St. Louis to improve our ability to collect and analyze indoor air samples through the development of a chemically resolved volatility and polarity separator. The project aims to build and test a new field-deployable automated instrument for the simultaneous measurement of organic gas and particle chemical composition. The work plan has three parts. First, Williams and his team will develop a modified volatility and polarity separator capable of detailed chemical characterization of the particle phase and gas phase of airborne indoor organic material. Next they will demonstrate the strengths of the new measurement capacity through controlled laboratory studies and through an indoor field study. Last, they will develop an open-access volatility- and polarity-separated chemical profile database of indoor sources and transformations, along with open-access data analysis codes for use by the indoor air research community. Predicted outcomes of this project include the new instrument, the open access data base, and new knowledge about the composition of indoor air. The team plans to share their findings through multiple peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations on instrument development and through open-access chemical databases and analysis codes. One postdoctoral fellow and three graduate students will be trained.

    To develop a chemically-resolved volatility and polarity separator for improved understanding of indoor air chemistry

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  • grantee: Colorado State University
    amount: $253,684
    city: Fort Collins, CO
    year: 2018

    To develop and test software to identify isomers based on differences in binding energy using time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometry

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Delphine Farmer

    Mass spectrometry is a technique that ionizes chemical species and then sorts them by mass. While useful, spectrometry does not distinguish between chemical isomers, species with the same number and types of atoms as another chemical species. This is important; isomers possess distinct properties because their atoms are arranged into different chemical structures. Isomers may differ, for instance, in reactivity, vapor pressure, and the identity of products. This grant will support work by Delphine Farmer, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Colorado State University, in collaboration with Ellison Carter, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to develop and test novel software for time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometry that will allow researchers to identify isomers based on differences in binding energy. Funded work includes software development, calibration, and validation using both individual isomers and mixtures of isomers, and field testing in an unoccupied residence. The project will result in new software for both data acquisition and analysis, as well as field datasets, for sharing with the broader scientific community. The findings will be shared through publications from the instrument development component of the proposal, and additional publications when the instrument is used in an indoor study. The project will train at least one Ph.D. student in indoor chemistry and mass spectrometry instrument development.

    To develop and test software to identify isomers based on differences in binding energy using time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometry

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  • grantee: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    amount: $312,170
    city: Blacksburg, VA
    year: 2018

    To develop and test a field-deployable gas chromatograph coupled to a chemical ionization mass spectrometer, GC- CIMS, to identify isomers

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Gabriel Isaacman-VanWertz

    Funds from this grant support a team lead by Virginia Tech’s Gabriel Isaacman-VanWertz to improve our ability to detect chemical isomers indoors through the development of a field-deployable gas chromatograph coupled to a chemical ionization mass spectrometer. This proposed research is divided into three technical tasks: First, Issacman-VanWertz will engineer the physical and technical interface between the major instrument components. Then he will characterize and calibrate the new instrument. Finally, he will deploy the instrument in an on-campus controlled indoor environment to examine emissions. The team plans to share their findings through peer-reviewed articles and presentations at several scientific and professional conferences.

    To develop and test a field-deployable gas chromatograph coupled to a chemical ionization mass spectrometer, GC- CIMS, to identify isomers

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  • grantee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    amount: $299,424
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2018

    To develop a low-cost monitor for measurements of volatile organic compounds in the indoor environment

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Jesse Kroll

    Test bed studies require Chemistry of Indoor Environment researchers to be able to make important indoor chemistry measurements quickly and at low cost. Unfortunately, there are no good low-cost sensors for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This grant funds an effort to build one. It’s an important effort. Many VOCs are harmful to human health and even those that aren’t can react with oxidants, eventually leading to new particle and aerosol formation. Over the next three years, Jesse Kroll—Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—will attempt to develop a low-cost monitor for measurements of volatile organic compounds in the indoor environment. The work plan has two major parts: the construction, characterization, and optimization of the VOC monitor, and the use of several such monitors in real indoor environments, providing both a proof-of-concept and initial measurements of indoor VOC levels. The primary output of this project will be the monitor and associated algorithms as well as the associated research results. Descriptions of the optimized monitor design and calibration algorithms will be disseminated broadly via the peer-reviewed, open-access literature and conference presentations. At least one graduate student will be trained.  

    To develop a low-cost monitor for measurements of volatile organic compounds in the indoor environment

    More