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EPA Awards $50,000 to Student Teams in Michigan for Innovative Technology Projects

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Ben Weiss (

CHICAGO (December 16, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $50,000 in funding to two student teams in Michigan through its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grants program. The teams from University of Michigan and Wayne State University will receive funding to develop and demonstrate projects that help address environmental and public health challenges.

“Advancements in scientific knowledge and technology come from innovative projects like these,” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “EPA is pleased to advance the work of the student teams from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University as they work towards finding solutions to protect the environment and our communities.”

“As EPA celebrates its 50th anniversary, this month, we are highlighting ways the agency supports the next generation of environmental leaders,” said Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, EPA’s Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science and EPA Science Advisor. “The P3 program helps foster environmental education among students to support the next generation of scientists and engineers working to tackle some of today’s most pressing environmental issues.

The Phase I teams will receive grants of up to $25,000 each which serve as their proof of concept. Across the nation, this year’s winners are addressing a variety of research topics including efforts to reduce microplastics waste and food waste, creating innovative and solar-driven nanomaterials, building a stand-alone water treatment system that can provide potable water for indoor use in single family homes, and removing PFAS from water using liquid extractions. These teams are also eligible to compete for a Phase II grant of up to $100,000 to further implement their design in a real-world setting.

Phase I grantees include student teams from the following universities:

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Mich.: A student team from the University of Michigan will determine the feasibility of engineering the microbiome of municipal wastewater treatment plants to degrade microplastics, before they enter the environment via discharge into surface waters or through the application of biosolids to agricultural fields. The prevention of microplastics pollution will benefit aquatic ecosystems, fishing and aquaculture industries, and human consumers of seafood.

Wayne State University – Detroit, Mich.: A student team from Wayne State University will research how green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) affects urban groundwater quality and flow by piloting a network of community-based groundwater monitoring stations surrounding GSI sites in Detroit.

To learn more about the P3 Phase I winners, visit:


The P3 program is a two-phase research grants program that challenges students to research, develop and design innovative projects addressing environmental and public health challenges. Phase I serves as a “proof of concept,” where teams are awarded a $25,000 grant to develop their idea and showcase their research in the spring at EPA's National Student Design Expo. These teams are then eligible to compete for a Phase II grant of up to $100,000 to implement their design in a real-world setting.

For more information on the P3 Program, visit:

To learn more about EPA’s 50th anniversary, visit: