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Opportunities for Faculty, Students & Partners

ISSE Seed Grants

The Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE) at the University of Tennessee makes annual funding available for multi-disciplinary, multi-investigator research and support. Each year, ISSE awards three or four seed grants to support research projects that are related to environmental sustainability. The aim is to support project teams as they develop interdisciplinary collaboration and build the capability to secure external funding. ISSE expects the funded teams to submit at least one external grant proposal and one article to a peer-reviewed publication acknowledging ISSE’s support. Among the topics of interest are

  • Modeling sustainability and resilience, especially for regional systems, under climate changes and other social and environmental stressors; 
  • Systems or engineering solutions to reduce nutrient and pollution (e.g., microplastics) in water;
  • Technologies and analyses for carbon sequestration; and
  • Solutions or modeling to enhance environmental health.

For FY2023, a panel of independent reviewers scored all submissions and selected the following projects.

InvestigatorsProject Title
PI: Jiangang Chen (Public Health),
coPIs: Jayne Wu (EECS) and Qiang He (CEE)
Assessing the levels of forever chemicals (PFAS) in surface water in Tennessee aquatic ecosystems
PI: Alison Buchan (Microbiology)
coPI: Qiang He (CEE)
Identification of novel pathways for bacterial degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
PI: Boshan Huang (CEE),
coPIs: Qiang He, Pawel Polaczyk (CEE) and Brian Long (Chem)
Utilization of waste plastics to build the next generation of sustainable and durable asphalt pavements
PI: Chris Cherry (CEE), 
coPI: Daniel Costinett (EECS)
Micromobility Vehicle Second-Life Battery Applications: Market Inventory and End Use Feasibility Analysis
Jiangang Chen
Alison Buchan
Baoshan Huang
Chris Cherry

Fellowship and Internship Opportunities

ISSE will award an add-on fellowship for new students who will pursue a PhD in environment and sustainability at UTK. Please note that this fellowship is for new students, not students who are already enrolled.

Every year, ISSE will select and support two or three students for about $5,000/year, each for up to two years. Application deadlines: March 20th for Fall and September 20th for Spring. Faculty members may submit the application packages, including student resumés and brief descriptions of the research areas, to and Subject line should read: ISSE Fellowship Application.

ISSE provides a variety of internship opportunities on an ongoing basis. Contact and for specifics. Subject line should read: ISSE Internships.

Partnership Opportunities

ISSE pursues a wide range of research and outreach partnerships with state and local government agencies, business, manufacturing, industry, non-governmental organizations, and others involved in environmental sustainability. Contact and to specific opportunities. Subject line should read: ISSE Partnerships.