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Innovative Research Grant Program

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The ASHRAE Innovative Research Grant was established to provide seed funding for novel research which does not fit within the current TC research activities, but deemed to have the potential to significantly advance the state-of-the-art in heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigeration engineering. The idea is to encourage out-of-the-box research to complement the research proposed and guided by technical committees. It is neither meant to supplement ongoing research nor support (partially or fully) the development or improvement of a commercial product. It is rather targeted to provide seed money to encourage ‘blue sky research’ that may otherwise not be funded initially through other means.

Description of the Grant:

The award carries a base grant of $50,000 per year for two years, with an additional $25,000 available in the third year if it is matched (cash or kind) by a third party  contributor. The maximum award from ASHRAE would be $125,000 and the maximum available to the recipient would be $150,000. The third party must be engaged in activities related to ASHRAE's areas of interest.

The intent is to fund one (1) award each year subject the following conditions:

  • Suitability of Proposals - A competitive process will be followed to evaluate research proposals. If, in a given year, there are no proposals that meet the criteria for the award, an award will not be made.
  • Funding Constraints - The amount of research funding available for initiating new research projects is highly variable from one year to the next. When research funds are limited, ASHRAE’s Research Administration Committee (RAC) may opt to forego requesting proposals for this grant.

The grant will have minimal oversight from ASHRAE and is intended to enable the investigator to perform enough work to complete an initial evaluation of the feasibility of a new concept, process, methodology, technology, etc. Projects producing promising results could lead to additional research on a larger scale through a URP or a TC-sponsored RTAR and work statement.

Selection Process:

A two-phase process managed by RAC will be used to select grant awardees. The initial phase will entail the evaluation of pre-proposals consisting of a two-page whitepaper and two-page curriculum vitae for the principal investigator (PI).  The whitepaper should consist of: Problem Statement, Innovative Research Concept, Scope, Methodology, Specific Outcomes of Research, and Research Team. Pre-proposals may be invited once a year. The evaluation of pre-proposals will be organized through RAC’s Research Planning Subcommittee and will be performed in conjunction with the RAC Winter meeting held each year.

Full proposals may be invited from PIs of selected pre-proposals each year that offer sufficient novelty and merit.  Detailed instructions on proposal structure will be provided at that stage.

Selection Criteria:

The criteria for selecting projects for funding are as follows with approximate weights given in parenthesis:

1) novelty of the research (30%)
2) importance of the problem (30%)
3) potential for success (20%)
4) student involvement (10%)
5) cost sharing (10%).


Pre-proposals are due December 3rd each year only when a solicitation  announcement is made in November and should be submitted to ASHRAE’s Manager of Research & Technical Services, 180 Technology Parkway NW, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. The Principle Investigators (PIs) of the short-listed pre-proposals will be notified by the end of February, and invited to submit full proposal by April 15th. The PI of the winning proposal will be notified by July 15th and the project is expected to start by mid-September.

Grant Cycle Milestones

Schedule Timeframe

Solicitation announcement

First week of November

Pre-proposals received


RAC review and short-list

ASHRAE January meeting

Full proposal invitation to short-list

Last week of February

Full proposals received


RAC review and winner bid selection

ASHRAE June meeting

Winner notified


Project start data


Updated 9/28/2016