Flower Grant for Ecological Research

flower grant


The Ecology Institute at Penn State announces the availability of funds to support ecology research focused across its five core themes:

  • Resilience and adaptation – understanding and informing responses to drivers of global change including changing climates, land-use, human needs, invasive species, etc.
  • Provision of ecosystem goods and services – addressing issues of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning central to food security, water quality and availability, nutrient cycling etc.
  • Ecology at the interface – examining connections and feedbacks across ecological systems such as urban-rural systems, coupled human and natural systems, agriculture and the environment, and natural-disturbed systems.
  • Rapid evolutionary change – the intersection of ecology and evolution including the causes and consequences of genetically-based change in the properties of groups of organisms in response to environmental disruptions including pollutants, toxins and antimicrobial agents.
  • Ecological foundations – advancing understanding of the diversity, systematics, and evolutionary history of organisms, as well fundamental population, community and ecosystem processes.

The Flower Grant program recognizes the success of existing teams and centers in convergent ecological research along these themes and aims to support their growth through modest supplemental funding. New ideas aligned with these themes will also be considered as they augment the diversity of ecological research across the University.

In addition to the core thematic areas addressed above, we are additionally interested in topics related to the ecological dimensions of COVID-19, e.g., ecology of infectious disease or wildlife-human interactions.

Preferred funding pathways during FY21/22 under the Flower Grant include:

  • Support for publication charges related to ongoing research, including Open Access fees
  • Development of interdisciplinary working groups to initiate or continue convergent research aligned with the core themes
  • Supplemental funding for existing centers to conduct activities related to core themes not currently supported by the Huck Institute of Life Sciences.

We anticipate approximately 10 grants ranging from $500-$4000.


All Penn State faculty members (tenured, tenure track, and fixed term) who hold an appointment of half-time or more at any Penn State campus are eligible to apply. Other researchers (students, postdocs, staff, agency employees) may be included as collaborators. The Principle Investigator is expected to be responsible for the application and the management of the grant. Investigators may only serve as PI on one proposal. Center directors may request funding for center-related activities as long as they are not currently being supported by the Huck Institute of Life Sciences.

Funds can be used to support expenses such as:

  • Publication charges
  • Open access publication fees
  • Instrumentation or sample laboratory processing fees associated with collaborative research
  • Hosting a working group meeting at Penn State (rental fees, food, travel costs)
  • Invitation of external speaker

Given the modest funding available, funds are not preferred for the following, and researchers are advised to seek other, existing seed grant funding opportunities:

  • Supplemental salary for faculty
  • Conference travel
  • Graduate student support
  • Center activities or speaker series that already receive support from the Huck Institutes

Submission Instructions

The 2021-22 Flower Grant will be awarded through a competition, which will take place as virtual pitch slams from noon to 1 p.m. on March 9 and 10. Presenters and general audience members must register for the pitch slam. Those pitching must also apply through InfoReady.

Click here to submit your proposal through InfoReady

Timeline and Review procedures

Winners will be announced at a live, virtual event at noon on March 17.

For additional questions, please contact Erica Smithwick (Director):