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News Releases from Region 05

EPA Awards $25,000 Grant to Michigan State Students for Innovative Technology Project

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-111

EAST LANSING, Mich. (February 20, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $24,947 grant to fund a Michigan State University student team’s development of a sustainable design to address an important environmental or public health challenge. MSU’s team is one of 18 undergraduate or graduate student teams across the nation to receive up to $25,000 through EPA People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Student Design Competition Program.  

“The innovative ideas that these P3 teams are bringing out of the classroom and into the real world will help solve some of our nation’s most pressing environmental challenges,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “From creating a simple at-home test for consumers to detect lead in tap water to designing a system to remove toxic chemicals from landfill gas, the fresh thinking behind these projects will result in tangible products that will help Americans for generations to come.”

The goal of MSU’s team’s “Planet-friendly and Scalable Approach Towards 100% Recyclable Water- and Oil-resistant Paper” project is to develop fluorine-free, oil-resistant coated paper for disposable plates and cups, paper straws, and secondary packaging materials such as boxes and food wrappers. This product would be an alternative to paper coated with synthetic latex, fluorinated chemicals or non-degradable plastics.

"EPA is pleased to help the MSU student team and their professor launch this very worthwhile and ambitious project aimed at cutting paper waste and expanding recycling,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “We are eager to see their finished product.”   

“Passion bridges the gap between you and your dreams,” said MSU Professor Dr. Muhammad Rabnawaz, who is advising the student team. “With passion, you can become whatever you want.”

All the teams will showcase their projects at EPA’s National Student Design Expo on June 29-30 at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference in National Harbor, Md. Following the Expo, the P3 teams may compete for Phase II awards of up to $100,000 to further implement their designs.

To learn more about the 2019 Phase I winners, visit: 

For more information on the P3 Program, visit: