The Iowa Water Environment Association (IAWEA) research committee seeks proposals for IAWEA’s 2023 Research Grant Program.  Proposers are invited to submit on topics consistent with IAWEA’s mission for education and advancement of water quality in Iowa.

The Research Program seeks to fund innovative research projects that will significantly advance understanding of water quality related to wastewater and storm water treatment/operations, conveyance and biosolids related topics.  Topics in original research or that takes existing research to a further level of completion, resulting in scientific understanding and practical solutions to wastewater challenges are encouraged.  Funding may be used for new projects or to continue/expand an existing work.

The successful team(s) will be given a two (2) year period to conduct their research and will present their projects at the IAWEA annual conference in 2025.  All final reports for research projects will be included in the IAWEA library with a summary article published in the IAWEA publication, Clean Waters.  The IAWEA Research Committee will support researchers to publish in WEF forums as well.

Process and Evaluation Criteria

Selection of research proposals is a competitive process.  Proposals are reviewed by IAWEA’s Research Committee and recommended to the IAWEA board for approval.  Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria and weighting:

  • Iowa-based research project (15%)
  • Technical, scientific, or operational merit. Explain the basis for technical achievability and include relevant research by proposer and/or others to date. Indicate both near-term or long-term applicability in the field. (15%)
  • Originality of concept (10%)
  • Quality and soundness of objectives (10%)
  • Significance of the proposed research and its likelihood to significantly advance relevant knowledge and understanding of the topic and to provide relevant information needed for subsequent use in the field. Research with non-proprietary significance is highly desired. (20%)
  • Relevance to Iowa challenges; including but not limited to the following (20%):
    • Nutrient removal
    • Resource recovery such as biogas to energy, phosphorus recovery, etc.
    • Wet weather challenges
    • Small community challenges
  • Qualifications of proposer(s) including subject-matter knowledge, experience, and demonstrated ability (5%)
  • Adherence to proposal format requirements (5%)


Note that the award amount and award period have changed from previous years.  The IAWEA Research Committee commits to awarding up to $20,000, which will be disbursed over a two-year grant period (2023-2024). Up to $10,000 will be disbursed each year within the grant period. The Committee, at its discretion, may also decide to award less than the requested amount (total and annually). The number of awards made shall be based on the number of proposals received, proposal merit, and funds requested. Grant funds shall not be used for indirect costs associated with proposer organization. The next planned application for this program will be in 2025.

 Project Schedule

Submissions are due May 26, 2023.  Project awards will be announced in June 2023 after the IAWEA Execute Committee’s June meeting.  Projects shall begin by Fall 2023 and shall be complete by June 1, 2025.

Project Deliverables

At conclusion of project the project team shall submit a short report, submit an abstract for the 2025 IAWEA Annual Conference, and present at the 2025 IAWEA Annual Conference.  Failure to submit the report and present the work may result in disqualification from future participation in the program and repayment of the award amount.

Instructions for Submission

Proposals must be submitted electronically to IAWEA Research Committee Chair Mike Roth at by 11:00 AM on May 26, 2023.

  1. Page Limit: maximum five (5) pages (not including Curriculum vitae(s)/resumes)
  2. Each proposal shall include the following sections:
    1. Project Rationale and Significance: Provide importance and relevance of proposed research. Include summary of current state of knowledge of subject and describe potential outcome of proposed research.
    2. Project Objectives/Design: Describe the specific objectives that will be addressed, briefly outline project approach, design, and procedures that will be used to achieve the objectives.
    3. Proposed Budget: Indicate the total amount requested from IAWEA and describe how the funds will be used for the proposed work. Provide itemized list of major expenses.  Indicate if the proposed project will include funding from other sources.
    4. Proposer Information: Include names and organization(s) of key individuals involved in the project. Briefly include relevant information, experience, and abilities. Curriculum vitae or resume of team leader shall be included.  Curriculum vitae or resume of other team members may be included optionally.  Note the leader of the team, providing contact information (phone/email) for the team lead.

Questions and Information

For questions, contact IAWEA Research Committee Chair Mike Roth at