Environmental Center Seed Grants

The Environmental Center at the University of North Florida seeks to stimulate the creation of multidisciplinary research projects related to the environment. To achieve this goal, the Environmental Center is leveraging its River Branch endowment to provide funding to faculty in the form of Seed Grants. The grants offered to faculty are intended to “seed” environmentally related research that subsequently results in the preparation and submission of a proposal to an external funding agency that is submitted through the Environmental Center. In addition, the Environmental Center especially hopes to inspire effective collaboration between faculty members and students in diverse disciplines. The Seed Grants are competitively awarded to the most meritorious proposals.


Two Seed Grants for up to $6,000 each will be awarded f or the 2017 cycle. 

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016.


2017 Seed Grant Application  

Examples of Successful Past Seed Grant Applications


Voices from the Stream: An Environmental History of the St. Johns River 2009


Dig in! Go Green! Fruit and Vegetable Gardening with Preschoolers 2009

2016 Seed Grant Recipients

Willingness to Pay for Safe Drinking Water: A Contingent Valuation Study in the City of Jacksonville, Florida

Dr. Chris K. Johnson, Department of Economics and Geography

Dr. Chiradip Chatterjee, Department of Economics and Geography

Dr. Parvez Ahmed, Department of Accounting and Finance

Dr. Russell Triplett, Department of Economics and Geography


The objective of this study is to examine how measures of socioeconomic background, social capital and media exposure influence the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for water quality improvement. The purpose of this study is threefold: First, we will estimate residents’ monetary valuation for the improvement of tap water quality. Second, we will explain the influence of social capital and other socioeconomic factors on WTP. Finally, since Jacksonville’s tap water quality has attracted both positive and negative media attention, we will investigate to what extent the media attention influenced the monetary valuation for the improvement of tap water quality.

We propose a household phone survey of randomly selected residents in the city of Jacksonville by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at UNF with a target sample size between 500 and 1000 respondents. Students enrolled in Business and Economic Statistics (ECO 3411) will staff the phone bank. This will help to offset costs and offer students practical exposure to data collection procedures and the mechanics of random sampling. Looking ahead, we plan to use this data in support of proposal(s) for external funding for a more detailed in-person survey within the JEA service area and to develop a GIS map of water quality differentials across zip codes.

Metallic Nanorods as Effective Environmentally Benign Biofilm Inhibitors

Dr. Stephen Stagon, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Amy Lane, Department of Chemistry


The U.S. Navy estimates that biofouling increases drag on the hulls of its ships by up to 40%, resulting in an annual cost of over $1 billion. Biofouling occurs through a multi-step process, beginning with the attachment of microorganisms and the formation of a biofilm which larger fouling organisms preferentially attach to. Biofilm formation may be mitigated using two approaches: chemical or mechanical. Chemically, surfaces are coated with a toxic substance that kills the biofilms if they are to attach. This approach is environmentally negative, as the toxins are often non-specific and impact organisms in the entire marine ecosystem. Mechanically, surfaces can be featured in such a way that the biofilm forming microorganisms physically cannot attach or find them non-preferable. While there is literature detailing the interaction of biofilm forming microorganisms on microstructured surfaces there is almost no investigation of the effects of nanostructured surfaces. In this project we aim to investigate the effects of nanofeatured surfaces, being metal nanorods, made of environmentally benign materials on the formation of marine biofilms. This project may result in a novel means of preventing biofilm formation and will serve as preliminary data to attract funding from the Navy or the NSF.

    Past Seed Grant Recepients and Projects