Funding Opportunities

Watershed Innovations (WINS) Grants Program

The Water Resources Center (WRC), in cooperation with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and the Water Resources Research Institutes program at the U.S. Geological Survey, is pleased to invite proposals to the Watershed Innovations Program (WINS).  WINS replaces and significantly expands the scope of the WRC’s former Annual Grants Competition. 

The purpose of WINS is to catalyze lasting collaborative initiatives that can be enhanced by WRC capabilities. Budgeted funding for research teams will be combined with in-kind services from the WRC. In-kind support can take several forms, including a Graduate Research Assistantship for a WRS student, training and consultation for project management and data management, access to WRC communications vehicles, and services to develop future external sources of funding. 

The program seeks to develop a portfolio of projects in which researchers innovate to address water resource concerns of importance in Minnesota, collaborate to advance work at the intersection of multiple disciplines, educate graduate students and other early-career researchers on team science skills, and sustain research efforts through extramural sources. The 2020 RFP aims to advance research on innovations, practices, and management tools that meaningfully reduce the impact of agriculture on water resources, including the socio-economic forces driving their adoption and the impacts on different populations.

Proposals may be for projects of one to three years in duration and may request up to $125,000 in budgeted support. A Letter of Intent is required, due by October 23, 2020.

Contact Adam Wilke (, Water Resources Center Research and Extension Coordinator, with questions. 

Request for Proposals

FileProposal Template

FileBudget Template | FileBudget Justification

USGS/NIWR Aquatic Invasive Species Competitive Grants Program

USGS in cooperation with NIWR requests proposals for matching grants to support research on the real and growing impact of numerous aquatic invasive species on water quality and quantity in the Upper Mississippi Basin.  The program will consider projects that address one or more of the following areas of inquiry: 

  • Improve our understanding of the impacts of aquatic invasive species on lakes and rivers in the Upper Mississippi River basin, including changes to water quantity, quality and ecosystem dynamics.

  • Identify lake and river characteristics that infer resistance and resilience to establishment and impacts of aquatic invasive species in the Upper Mississippi River basin. Research is needed to better understand these interactions and guide management decisions that will improve water resources at the regional scale.

  • Social and/or economic assessment of the spread, detection, impacts, solutions, and management of aquatic invasive species in the Upper Mississippi River basin.

Proposals involving substantial collaboration between the USGS and university scientists are encouraged.  Proposals may be for projects of one to three years in duration and may request up to $250,000 in federal funds.  Successful applicants must match each dollar of the federal grant with one dollar from non-federal sources. 

Minnesota applicants who wish to involve a Water Resources Science (WRS) graduate student in their project may request a WRS Graduate Research Assistantship Supplement from the Water Resources Center. 

Request for Proposals (pdf)

Budget templates (zip)

WRS Graduate Research Assistantship Supplements (pdf) 

Guidance for Minnesota Applicants

Eligibility: Any investigator at an accredited institution of higher learning in Minnesota is eligible to apply, but must submit to the Water Resources Center (WRC) at the University of Minnesota. 

Letter of Intent: Minnesota applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the WRC. LOIs should be sent via email to Jeff Peterson ( with the following information:

  • Name, affiliation,  and contact information of the Principal Investigator (PI) and the pre-awards professional assisting the PI
  • Names and affiliations of co-Principal Investigators  (may be changed in the final proposal)
  • Approximate budget (total federal funds requested; maybe changed in the final proposal)
  • Brief description of the proposed project (1-2 sentences) and/or tentative title
  • The number of student years (if any, up to 2) requested as a WRS Graduate Research Assistantship Supplement.
  • If requesting a supplement, a brief description of the expected role(s) of WRS the student(s) and the WRS faculty member(s) to supervise the students(s).

For fullest consideration, LOIs with supplement requests should be submitted by 5pm on May 15, 2020. Requests received by that date will be reviewed and awarded in a first wave, with later requests considered on a rolling basis if funds are available. LOIs will continue to be accepted until May 29, 2020

Proposal Submission: The WRC will provide further submission guidance to PIs after receiving an LOI. Final proposal documents will be due to the WRC by June 2, 2020. WRC staff will prioritize processing and final submission to USGS for teams who have submitted an LOI.

USGS/NIWR National Competitive Grants Program

USGS and NIWR invite applications for the annual National Competitive Grants (104g) program. The program will consider projects on a broad range of topics on improving and enhancing the nation's water supply. Priority areas include water treatment and infrastructure; understanding changes in water quality and quantity; improved methods for estimating water supply; water governance; and water conservation assessment.

Request for Proposals (pdf)

Deadline: No longer accepting applications for 2020. 

2020 Stormwater Research Request for Proposals

The Water Resources Center (WRC) at the University of Minnesota, in cooperation with the Minnesota Stormwater Research Council (MSRC), is pleased to invite proposals to advance urban  stormwater science, technology, and management in Minnesota. 

Request for Proposals (pdf)

Deadline: No longer accepting applications for 2020