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Brown University Student Team Awarded EPA Funding for Innovative Environmental Project

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David Deegan (
(617) 918-1017

PROVIDENCE - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that a Brown University student team is among eight undergraduate and graduate student teams selected from colleges and universities across the country for project funding through EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grant program. The Brown team is being awarded $75,000.

“I congratulate these students for their innovative ideas to solve some of our biggest environmental challenges,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The student teams in this competition have shown exemplary work and are excellent representatives of the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

The eight teams will share in $594,424 being awarded in P3 Phase II funding to develop their proposed solutions to pressing environmental problems including determining trace levels of lead in drinking water, controlling harmful algal blooms, and removing Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from wastewater effluent for reuse in agriculture.

“EPA is especially happy to help these students from Brown University as they pursue this important project,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. “Environmental innovations have improved health protections and boosted efficiency for decades, and it will be exciting to see where this project leads.”

The Brown University student project is seeking to develop a renewable treatment system using naturally occurring proteins found in bacteria to remove trace levels of arsenic from drinking water with greater performance than current arsenic removal technologies. During this phase of the project, students will focus on optimizing the enabling biotechnology and to develop a treatment system that preserves the economic and environmental benefits of their biological approach. Once completed, there will be a foundation for pilot testing these living filters at contaminated well sites in the field.

The P3 program is a two-phase research grant program that challenges student teams to research, develop, and design innovative projects addressing environmental and public health challenges. The winning teams are building upon their successes in Phase I where they each received up to $15,000. With today’s announcement of Phase II funding of up to $75,000 per team, the teams will now further develop those projects and designs to ensure they can be sustainably implemented in the field.

Other P3 Phase II recipients include student teams from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, N.J.; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Ill.; University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; University of California, Riverside, Riverside, Calif.; University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.

Since the P3 program’s inception in 2004, EPA has funded student teams to develop sustainable technologies that help solve important environmental and public health challenges. To date, EPA has awarded over 720 P3 projects for a total amount of $16,745,235 involving more than 4,000 students at 234 institutions in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Research from previous P3 awards continues to make a difference today. Many student teams have taken their experience and funding to go on to start small businesses across the country. For example, a former P3 team from Harvard University launched One Earth Designs, a startup that sells solar-powered grills, which can also function as space heaters and electric generators. Another former P3 team from Cornell University funded SUNN, a company that sells energy efficient indoor LED light fixtures.

To learn more about the Phase II awarded institutions:

For more information on the P3 Program, visit:

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