Sep 10, 2018

Grant to support climate change innovation now in its second year

Attention innovators! Did you know that funding is available to students thinking about creative solutions to help mitigate the effects of climate change?  As part of the Climate Change Innovation Seed Funding program, students can apply to receive up to $3000 in funding to help move an idea forward.  From a community movement to a communications strategy to a for-profit solution, this support is meant to catalyze ideas that can help slow down, and maybe even reverse, the effects of climate change.

Now in its second year, this program has attracted interest from a diverse set of students across Yale’s campus.  “Last year we had 23 interdisciplinary teams of students apply from the graduate schools as well as from Yale College,” says Sophie Janaskie, Environmental Innovation Fellow at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY). “We were delighted to get so much excitement in its first year, and hope that even more teams apply this time.  We are inspired by the creativity of our community and know that there are ideas bubbling up that will have real impact, and we want to support that as much as we can.”

One of the recipients from last year, Symbrosia (formerly known as Concha Aquaponic Solutions) went on to win the 2018 Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize during Startup Yale.  Symbrosia is developing a saltwater aquaponic system to drastically reduce the environmental impacts of both the seafood and beef industries.  The system grows both Pacific white shrimp and red macroalgae, two species that in their own ways can help achieve more sustainable food production. "Receiving the seed grant gave us confidence in the viability of the solution we were proposing, ultimately propelling us forward in a meaningful way," says Alexia Akbay, cofounder of Symbrosia.  When asked why students interested in finding innovative ways to fight against climate change should apply for this grant, Alexia goes on to say "This grant opens the door to a multitude of resources and mentors who are ready to support your vision."

Receiving the seed grant gave us confidence in the viability of the solution we were proposing, ultimately propelling us forward in a meaningful way.

-Alexia Akbay, cofounder of Symbrosia

Another recipient, Firoz Academy, is an education platform that offers math, English, leadership, computer literacy and programming courses in Afghanistan to empower girls with greater autonomy over family planning and reproductive health. They also teach skills that prepare students to work in green-sector opportunities and take active, informed roles in public/civic life, creating more climate- resilient and responsible communities.  While the link between educating young girls in Afghanistan and climate change might not be obvious, the impact is real and inspires innovation in areas that might not seem to relate to climate change at first pass.

The application for the Climate Change Innovation Grants opens on September 11, 2018 and will close on October 1, 2018.  Learn more on the CBEY website.