CACS Joint Climate Solutions Program

The Center for Advanced Climate Solutions (CACS) was established in 2023 through the University’s Investment for Growth program with the broad goal of coalescing and expanding significant University expertise, research, education, and student interest in climate solutions. The Center is an excellent opportunity to accelerate practical and scalable climate solutions by building on existing research strengths and developing new cross-campus collaborations. CACS will support research and education partnerships to study and develop climate solutions.

The goal of this request for proposals is to spark new interdisciplinary collaborations across campus departments and institutes by providing seed funding for innovative and cross-cutting climate solutions. These initiatives will be focused on enabling advances in climate solutions, creating opportunities for students and postdoctoral researchers to combine fundamental research with real-world problems, and developing partnerships and pathways to implementation. Projects are expected to address climate solutions in at least one of four CACS priority areas:

  1. Preparing for and responding to climate hazards
  2. Climate resilience in urban and peri-urban environments
  3. Climate change and OneHealth (human health aspect)
  4. Decarbonizing the economy

Funding: A diversity of project types and exploratory research efforts are welcome. Multiple projects are expected to be funded. Preference will be given to projects that have research and collaborative plans that will enable self-sustaining funding and create a clear path to the funding of large-scale initiatives. Cohort 1 (2024) teams should submit a two-year budget with a maximum of $100,000. It is anticipated that this funding will support shared student(s), or a post-doc, and other related project expenditures to strengthen the team for external competitive grants such as mini-workshops (with internal and external participants). Funding should not be used for any faculty/researcher salary. The proposed scope of research efforts should be aligned with the program funding levels. Do not include indirect cost or tuition remission in these budgets.

Growth Expectations: In addition to making technical and integration progress, each project will be expected to submit external proposals to sustain the joint projects beyond year two. During these initial awards, the PRI Office of the Associate Director of Research, in collaboration with the PI’s home unit, will help awarded teams in identifying potential opportunities.

Proposal guidelines and templates:


Team composition: Teams need to have at least 1 PI/Co-PI from a University Department and 1 PI/Co-PI from a University Institute. Institutes include the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the Digital Transformation Institute, the Cancer Center at Illinois, he Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, the Humanities Research Institute, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the Prairie Research Institute.

Limit on number of proposals: Individuals can be PI on only one submission per competition but serve as Co-I on other proposals.

PI Requirements

  • Individuals can be PI on only one submission per competition, but serve as CoPI on other proposals.
  • The PI is responsible for consulting with the relevant offices and meeting all requirements.
  • To the best of the PI's knowledge, all the information provided in the application is correct.