Funding Opportunities



Funding Opportunities




As a state taxpayer-funded initiative, the TRIF-WEES program benefits the state of Arizona while also achieving a high return on investment for the University of Arizona. The WEES initiative works in tandem with the office of Research, Innovation, and Impact (RII) and the office of Research Development Services (RDS) at the University of Arizona to administer the Research Advancement grants process and hiring/startup support provision. The WEES Director oversees the WEES grant review process, which draws on expertise across campus to evaluate proposals in a fair and transparent manner.  Although WEES funds support and report on these grants, the application process is run through Arizona Cultivate. This website also has a listing of all recipients of research advancement grants, though the particular funding source is not differentiated on the site. The link below provides a record of WEES specific investments.


WEES Programmatic Investment Areas

 For FY22–FY24, WEES support will focus on the following six areas (described in detail below).

  • Resilient Systems Integration
  • Building Resilience from Environmental to Human Health
  • Observation Systems for Resilience Monitoring and Modeling
  • Future-Proofing Arizona Water
  • Adaptable Desert Communities, Cultures, and Ecosystems
  • Fostering Leaders in Resilience

In FY22, WEES funding will be used to support new faculty salary and startup; new and not yet sustainable initiatives, centers, and institutes; targeted grants and awards; and competitive grants. In addition to the AIR-administered competitive Resilience Grants, WEES plans to fund select relevant and highly-ranked proposals submitted through RII’s Internal Funding program, including Faculty Seed Grants, Workshop Support, Equipment Enhancement Fund, Challenge Grants, and Production Grants.

In addition to supporting AIR’s mission of supporting interdisciplinary groups, including off-campus partners, to develop practical, applied solutions that further resilience in our natural and human communities, all WEES investments will be evaluated with respect to the following ABOR performance measures:

  • Postdocs supported
  • Graduate students supported
  • Undergraduate students supported
  • New Sponsored Project funding
  • Publications in academic peer-reviewed journals
  • Licenses and options
  • Startup companies, investments, and FTEs

A final point of evaluation will be whether the funding would be a responsible use of Arizona taxpayers’ money.


Resilient Systems Integration


As energy demands, food scarcity, and climate variability increase, the means to create and maintain reliable and resilient energy delivery systems, and food production systems sufficient to sustain and enhance our society, economy, and ecosystems are of paramount importance, especially in regions like Arizona and the Southwest. An integrated and aggressive approach that incorporates economic considerations is required to solve these problems, especially as this region is home to many communities that are particularly vulnerable to such changes. 

Program Goals

Please note that water research must be integrated with energy or food production to be included here. Otherwise, please see Future-Proofing Arizona Water.

Research in this program focuses on:  

  • development of new materials, technologies, and operations targeted to enhance efficient water reuse and purification in energy or food production;

  • development of smarter data and decision-making platforms for energy use with robust links to policy and decision-making processes;

  • improvement of food production systems, including soil quality;

  • integration of new science and technology with policy development, decision making, support, and education;

  • production of news designs for more resilient and efficient urban and rural environments;  

  • and creation of regional test beds and new public-private partnerships. 

Building Resilience from Environmental to Human Health


Arizona’s changing climate, population, demographics, and land use patterns, as well as sudden shocks to the system from pandemics, heat waves, wildfires, and other natural phenomena, bring a continuous stream of health challenges to our communities. As people are moving closer to the urban/wild interface, changing climate brings new or more intense natural hazards and new vectors for disease transmission into our region. Communities need reliable information about the nature and extent of threats, the economic costs of threats and possible counter actions, where the greatest vulnerabilities lie, and scenarios for building resiliency to their effects. Furthermore, resource use and extraction industries are critical to the Arizona economy, but have impacts on environmental and human health that need to be addressed.

Program Goals

Research in this program focuses on:

  • advancing our understanding of the impacts of heat, drought, and other climate-change-driven impacts and ways to address them, including demographic challenges as people continue to move to more comfortable climates;
  • identifying and addressing air and food contamination to develop early warning systems to preempt crises;

    • Water contamination may be included here as a secondary/tertiary focus. For research that focuses primarily on water, please see Future-Proofing Arizona Water. 

  • community collaboration to develop mitigation strategies, scenario evaluation tools, and community education programs; 

  • and new approaches to mining and reclamation to enable these industries to prosper while preserving our environment and the health of nearby communities.

Observation Systems for Resilience Monitoring and Modeling


We can better prepare for change if we are able to monitor it in real time. Data related to weather, water resources, soil and vegetation conditions, air quality, greenhouse gasses, wind and solar energy, and other conditions allows us to predict what we might expect in the future and plan accordingly. Scientists are now developing methods to provide data and forecasts at shorter-term and more local scales useful to farmers, utilities, and resource managers. A critical step is collaboration between data collectors, data modelers, and data users to ensure that the quality, format, and parameters of the data products are optimized to users’ needs.

Program Goals

Research in this program focuses on: 

  • creation of a regional-scale climate forecasting center;

  • development of more refined local and regional climate, weather, greenhouse gas emissions and other forecasting models;  

  • combining science, policy, economic, and technology solutions to help monitor and manage greenhouse gas emissions; 

  • production of energy forecasting products codeveloped with utilities;

  • and partnerships with communities to codevelop data and information products that allow them to make decisions based on greater understanding of probable conditions. 

Future-Proofing Arizona Water


We seek reliable supplies of clean water for our municipalities, industries, and ecosystems, including new technologies to treat contaminated water, new means to use water more efficiently, and better methods to distribute it equitably. The science and technology of clean and reliable water is extremely important, as is having people understand the options and trade-offs associated with alternative pathways forward and encouraging the exploration of creative new ways to manage water in the state. 

Program Goals 

Research in this program focuses on: 

  • ensuring a reliable and safe water supply for all Arizonans: water supply, availability, quality, distribution, equity; 

  • new partnerships between scientists, engineers, and policymakers;

  • connecting water sciences to policy to address and resolve water management challenges, including water use; 

  • commercialization of new water treatment technologies; 

  • and promotion of a greater diversity of voices influencing water resources management; and engage in innovative partnerships with the private sector. 

Adaptable Desert Communities, Cultures, and Ecosystems


For humans to continue to live in arid lands, we must understand how we can be resilient to impacts associated with climate change and other stresses affecting the linked human and natural systems of the desert. Many changes that will eventually affect the rest of the world are starting here in the arid Sonoran Desert; our experiences can inform communities across the globe. Integrated research, education, and outreach grounded in community needs is necessary to guide actions, policies, and decisions that preserve and enhance these linked cultural and ecological systems.

Program Goals

Research in this program focuses on: 

  • understanding the Sonoran Desert as a case study for resilience solutions that can be applied to challenges in other arid regions around the world;

  • integration of science, education, and outreach grounded in community needs (i.e., at the community’s request or direct benefit); 

  • supporting cultural resilience for communities facing loss of traditional lifeways due to climate change challenges (e.g., cultural practices, language, ecological knowledge);  

  • research that combines science and/or art to support resilience solutions for arid lands; 

  • creation of transdisciplinary University/stakeholder working groups to generate solutions to enhance community resilience; 

  • and connecting researchers to policymakers to ensure that policy preserves both cultural practice/diversity and ecological systems. 

Fostering Leaders in Resilience


Arizona is home to a diverse population with varying strengths, interests, and vulnerabilities. Preparing for a resilient future requires our next generation of leaders and decision makers to reflect that diversity and be able to communicate across sectors and disciplines. STEM training is necessary, but with fluency that goes beyond just STEM. New cross-disciplinary fields are emerging that mix science with technology or policy, for example, and we need to draw students into them. Students, in turn, seek opportunities to make a difference in their communities even before they graduate.

Program Goals

Research in this program focuses on: 

  • increasing diversity in existing scholarship and internship programs; 

  • design and implementation of experiential learning curricula; 

  • expanding internship programs to include more opportunities, especially for underserved populations and less-advantaged students; 

  • leadership training and mentoring for junior faculty via TRIF-funded programs;  

  • growing programs to reach K-12 students in STEM and attract them to the University;  

  • and creation of new environment-focused courses that allow high school students to gain UArizona credit. 

Grants Supported by TRIF-WEES

Production Grants

Production grants focus on work that spans multiple fields and mediums across the University. These grants may be used to produce original works, performances, or installations. The expenses covered in this grant include: time in a recording studio, film and videography expenses, and travel among many others. Applications for the next award period are not currently being accepted.

Challenge Grants

The Challenge Grant program is a new type of award that seeks to reduce institutional implicit bias in the grant award process by awarding grants to qualifying applications randomly. This program focuses on supporting high-risk, high reward work that collaboratively address grand challenges at the local, state and national level. Applications for the next award period are not currently being accepted.

Student Team Awards

Awards support Graduate Research Assistants (salary, ERE, tuition remission, travel), undergraduate research assistants, and core facility usage to extend an existing research grant or start a new industry collaboration. Applications for the next award period are not currently being accepted.

Accelerate for Success

Federal agencies are increasingly funding larger scale, cross-cutting efforts that address specific transdisciplinary challenges. These grants are designed to catalyze medium to large, strategic transdisciplinary research programs—by creating teams, broadening partnerships, and supporting the proposed plan to result in proposal submission and successful funding. Applications for the next award period are not currently being accepted.

Equipment Enhancement Fund

Equipment Enhancement Fund grants are available to augment scientific capacity through the acquisition of equipment for use by multiple investigators. Equipment is expected to be located in, and administrated by, an approved core facility and operated by existing professional core facility personnel. In extremely well-justified cases, equipment may be purchased for a shared facility. Investigators should request approximately $50,000 in equipment, although in well-justified cases support of up to $100,000 is available.

For all equipment proposed for placement within an approved UA core facility, an additional $30,000 in UA core facility use credits may be requested to stimulate use; core facility use credits may only be used to cover approved user fees in the UA core facility.

Investigators should make a compelling case for how the acquisition of this equipment will enhance the capabilities of the core or shared-use facility, how this acquisition enhances research capacity across departmental and college boundaries, and how this acquisition increases competitiveness for new extramural funding, for both individual PIs, or groups of PIs. (FY20 RDI information)

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