Emerging Technologies Program Award

Emerging Technologies Program

Application Period is now Closed

*** New Deadline: February 15, 2017 ***

*This is an amendment of the RFP with due date February 1, 2017*

Announcement: The EPA funding freeze imposed on grants and contracts does not affect this program.


The Water Innovation Network for Sustainable Small Systems (WINSSS) is one of two US EPA-funded drinking water research centers in the US devoted to small water systems. We are issuing this request for proposals for the purpose of advancing some of the most promising technologies that are appropriate for small drinking water systems.

Funding Available, Eligibility, and Timing

There will be up to 4 awards at $50,000 each, totaling up to $200,000 for the entire program. Proposals may include commercial partners. The project period may begin between March 1, 2017 and July 1, 2017, and duration is up to 1 year. All US-based Universities and Colleges are eligible, but current WINSSS center faculty are ineligible.

Research Objectives and Scope

WINSSS is looking for proposals that address one or more key gaps in the group of technologies available to small drinking water systems. Proposals funded under this program may involve bench-scale, pilot-scale, or full/demonstration-scale treatment testing, sensing and monitoring technologies, or other studies that have potential to be transformational in overcoming barriers to the adoption of innovative technologies. WINSSS is especially interested in ideas that have not previously received major funding or development.

Structure of Proposal

The successful proposal will include the following:

A cover page listing the title of proposal; principal investigator names and affiliations, short description of proposal; total funding of project and requested funding of project; and contact information (i.e., name of applicant(s), name of organization, mailing address, phone number, and email address).

The proposal will include a narrative section no longer than 8 pages (11 or 12 pt. font, 1” margins) that will:

  • Explain why the proposed technology is especially appropriate for small drinking water systems.
  • Explain how the proposed technology is new or an improvement over similar technologies
  • Describe the methods used to advance the technology
  • Lay out a carefully-crafted research plan
  • Describe expected results
  • Include a project timetable
  • Include a project follow-up steps needed to get full-scale adoption in the industry with prospects for future funding if needed.

The submittal will also include:

  • Budget (using SF-424 format) and a one-page budget description (must be in accordance with federal guidelines and requirements)
  • Quotes for any equipment costing more than $5,000 
  • Sub-recipient form (provided at the bottom of this page)
  • Two-page CV (including selected relevant publications and grants) for each PI listed
  • If there is to be any matching (cash or in-kind), letter(s) documenting this matching 

Please incorporate all the above items into a single digital file (.pdf).

Proposal Submittal

Proposals should be emailed to Dr. Celina Dozier at cdozier@umass.edu. Please address any questions about proposal submittal to Dr. Dozier as well. The deadline for submittal is February 15, 2017 at 11:59 pm eastern standard time.

Proposal Selection and Review

Proposals will be ranked based on the following criteria:

  1. Innovation
  2. Feasibility
  3. Potential for impact on small drinking water systems
  4. Budget


Background on WINSSS

WINSSS is comprised of a national team of researchers whose aim is to transform drinking water treatment for small water systems. As part of this Center, research specifically geared to the problems of small water systems is being performed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Arizona State University, and the University of South Florida. Specifically, WINSSS aims to facilitate a clear pathway for innovation implementation by creating the following outputs:

  • Novel approaches to treating grouped contaminants such as organic carbon, trace organics, disinfection byproducts, and nitrogenous compounds
  • Pilot demonstration of promising technologies to address the contaminants above, as well as metals (e.g., arsenic, iron, manganese and chromium) and other inorganics such as fluoride and sulfide
  • Standardized testing and technology acceptance requirements for multiple states
  • Tools to simplify system operations such as an asset management app and a distributed sensing and monitoring notification system
  • An extensive outreach system including workshops, newsletters, webinars, and educational modules
  • A technology analysis database for determining each technology’s suitability for implementation in small systems, considering workforce requirements, energy utilization, sustainability, robustness, human health impacts, and regulatory acceptance.


Background on Small Drinking Water Systems 

Small water systems are classified as systems that provide drinking water to 10,000 or fewer people and they make up a large percentage (97%) of operational water systems in the US (USEPA 2015). Approximately 91% of the water systems serving fewer than 10,000 people use groundwater as the source water. Small systems operators may be assigned to perform multiple tasks for a municipality and are sometimes less skilled than operators at larger systems. Small water systems face many difficulties which include the lack of expertise to choose, operate, and maintain their systems; lack of financial resources; aging infrastructure; limited options for residual disposal; and limited managerial support to comply with regulatory requirements. Small systems often struggle to simultaneously address multiple contaminants. Small water systems face a negative economy of scale where they pay more for production than larger systems (Shih et al. 2006). Although smaller water systems are no more likely than larger systems (except for systems serving more than 100,000 people) to violate health-based requirements, smaller systems are more likely to violate monitoring, reporting, and notification requirements (Rubin, 2013). The most common health-based MCL violations for small systems are the total coliform rule (TCR), Stage 1 of the Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule, arsenic, nitrate, Ground Water Rule, and radionuclides (Oxenford and Barrett 2016).


My company has a technology that would be beneficial to small drinking water systems. Can we submit a proposal?

Private companies are not eligible to submit proposals. However, collaborations with U.S. colleges and universities are acceptable and must be led by them.

On the subrecipient form, there is a space for a UMass PI. What name should go here?

WINSSS Director Dr. David Reckhow. (This is for UMass purposes only and he will not be involved in the execution of your project.)

Can international universities and colleges submit a proposal?

This RFP is only open to U.S. universities and colleges.

Does the 8-page limit include references?

No. References can be an additional section.

Can I collaborate with a WINSSS investigator to submit a proposal?

WINSSS investigators are ineligible for this program.


Oxenford, J.L.; & Barrett, J.M., 2016. Understanding Small Water System Violations and Deficiencies. Journal American Water Works Association, 108:3:31.

Rubin, S.J., 2013. Evaluating Violations of Drinking Water Regulations. Journal American Water Works Association, 105:3:E137.

Shih, J.S.; Harrington, W.; Pizer, W.A.; & Gillingham, K, 2006. Economies of Scale in Community Water Systems. Journal American Water Works Association, 98:9:100.

USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), 2015. Learn about Small Drinking Water Systems. https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/learn-about-small-drinking-water-systems (accessed Aug. 17, 2016)