Photo by Noah Shatzer

South Mountain Partnership’s Research Corps releases RFPs for research grants!

The South Mountain Partnership’s Research Corps (SMRC)   has just completed the release of requests for proposals (RFP’s) to our regional university partners who will now have an opportunity to compete for Research Corps grants.

Our total grant budget for this cycle is approximately $12,000. The average award will be approximately $1,000 per project. One of our most important goals for these grants is the encouragement of undergraduate and graduate research in the South Mountain Landscape. We hope to mentor and support a whole new generation of young scholars with an interest in the region who can contribute to our regional research needs over the course of their careers. Students are encouraged to work on the proposals themselves with input and assistance from faculty and from SMRC members.

These research requests came from our public, private sector, and non-profit partners who identified their specific research needs.  The result was more than 60 research topics in biology and environmental science, recreation and trails, public history and archaeology, and hydrology and water quality. Working with our steering committee, we winnowed the most promising of these topics into brief requests for research proposals.

Those requests are focused on some of the most important resources and issues in the South Mountain Landscape. We are asking for proposals to

  • Evaluate the effects of increasing use and climate change on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT).
  • Conduct surveys and research on priority wildlife, plant species, and habitat types on the Michaux State Forest.
  • Conduct archaeological and historical surveys of abandoned 19th century communities of color and industries on South Mountain.
  • Evaluate the economic effects of the AT on regional communities.
  • Evaluate models and ideas for reducing the effects of stormwater runoff.
  • Conduct an oral history of farm labor in the Fruit Belt region of South Mountain.

and several other important topics.

Student proposals are due at the end of January 2022, and the proposals will be evaluated and grants awarded by the end of February.

This is the SMRC’s most ambitious effort to encourage and incubate academic research in our region. If we’re successful, we think this will be a good model for encouraging and nurturing young practitioners to focus on the important issues, challenges, and opportunities in the region.

If you’d like to know more about the SMRC’s grant program, please contact Joe Baker, the SMRC’s Research Coordinator at southmountainscience@gmail.com .

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