- The Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF), one of the largest sources of U.S. solid waste funding, has announced plans to allocate approximately $1 million annually for graduate scholarships and research grants in the space.
- The scholarships will recognize graduate students "pursuing excellence in solid waste management research and education," including municipal solid waste, construction & demolition waste, industrial waste, waste-to-energy, and more. The scholarships are intended to enhance potential offerings to the industry.
- Recipients of the awards are based on academic performance, professional experience, and relevance of work to the advancement of solid waste management science, among other factors.
The investment of solid waste research grants can be crucial for the industry, as the viability of the industry relies on having an influx of young, talented people showing interest in its future and pushing innovative solutions.
"EREF has experienced substantial growth path over past five years and now the board elected to create an overarching goal to expand our number of scholarships further," said EREF President and CEO Bryan Staley to Waste360.
Outside of EREF, multiple initiatives are urging young professionals and students to look into the future of solid waste management. SWANA has worked to expand its Young Professionals group, which consists of members 35 years or younger who are interested in exploring a career in the solid waste industry. SWANA has even encouraged college students to get involved by hosting events such as the National Solid Waste Design Competition, held at WASTECON in August.
Additionally, the theme of the recent 2015 FIRST Lego League competition was "Trash Trek," which encouraged young competitors, ages 9-14, to develop solutions for common solid waste industry problems.
EREF's scholarship applications for the 2016-2017 academic year are now available. The application deadline is May 4 at 5:00 p.m. EST.