Exploratory Grants for Atmospheric Methane Research

Spark Climate Solutions, a science-driven nonprofit, requests research proposals to advance scientific understanding of existing methane sinks and potential atmospheric methane removal approaches.

Funding program overview
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Key Details

  • Award Amount Up to $300,000 USD
  • Period of Performance Up to 2 years 

Key Dates

  • Next Submission Deadline March 1, 2024
  • Next Award Decision Mid-April 2024

This funding opportunity currently has two confirmed rounds. The submission deadlines are March 1, 2024 and June 2, 2024 for round one and round two, respectively. More rounds may be added in the future.

Please contact Spark before submitting a proposal if you have any questions about eligibility, or if you have research ideas outside the scope of this solicitation.

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Motivation

In this request for proposals (RFP), Spark seeks to support transformative research to advance understanding of existing methane sinks and conduct early assessments of potential atmospheric methane removal approaches.

Methane is a short-lived, powerful greenhouse gas characterized by diverse anthropogenic sources, strong radiative forcing, increasing atmospheric concentration, and a risk of growing emissions from natural sources. Despite methane causing one third of anthropogenic global warming, methane mitigation efforts currently receive less than 4% of international climate philanthropy. 

We must do everything we can to reduce anthropogenic methane emissions and atmospheric methane levels. Fully addressing rising atmospheric methane will require three key activities:

  1. Deploying available anthropogenic emissions reductions strategies alongside new incentives, regulations, education, and financing.
  2. Innovating new strategies to reduce anthropogenic emissions.
  3. Researching evolving atmospheric and biological sinks and potential strategies to mitigate increasing natural methane emissions including (but not limited to) atmospheric methane removal.

Outside of this RFP, efforts by Spark and other leaders in the field are focused on methane emissions reductions. However, research towards understanding potential atmospheric methane removal approaches is particularly nascent and will take years. None of these approaches are currently ready for deployment. Additional support now will be transformative to scientific understanding of future methane sinks and potential atmospheric methane removal approaches, and timelines on which approaches could become available. Read more.

Scope

Proposals must be relevant to one or more of the funding tracks below and be applicable at atmospheric methane concentration (2 ppm). Proposals must demonstrate awareness of current literature and the state of the field, and should result in research findings intended for peer-reviewed publication, prioritizing open access.

Track 1: Methane Sink Assessment

How can we improve understanding of processes controlling methane sinks, and the impact on atmospheric methane concentrations now and in the future, in a way that supports exploration of potential approaches to increase oxidation of atmospheric concentration methane?

Read More

Track 2: Enabling Research Tools

How can we build better sensors and tools to accelerate research towards advancing understanding of oxidation of atmospheric concentration methane?

Read More

Track 3: Exploring Potential Atmospheric Methane Removal Approaches

Are there potentially viable atmospheric methane removal approaches, for example employing methanotrophy enhancement, atmospheric oxidation enhancement, or catalytic reactors and surfaces, that could be safe, cost-effective, scalable, and net climate-beneficial?

Read More

Out of Scope Research

Proposals are out of scope if they focus primarily on methane concentrations above 2 ppm, including emissions avoidance, measurement, or modeling; iron-based chlorine radical generation; operational deployment; or social science. See FAQ for more details.

Funding Opportunity Details

Assessment Criteria
Eligibility
Allowable Expenses
How to Apply
Proposal Evaluation Process
Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are proposals pertaining to iron salt aerosols (ISA) excluded from the exploratory grant program?
Can I submit a proposal for a technology exclusively designed for oxidation of methane at >2 ppm?
Can I submit a proposal investigating oxidation of methane generated in wetlands, rice paddies, or water before it reaches the atmosphere?
Can I submit a proposal for atmospheric methane removal deployment?
Can I submit a proposal primarily pertaining to governance, social license, or social science?
Can for-profit or nonprofit organizations submit proposals?
What is a problem statement and why will this part of my proposal be made public?
What are the reporting requirements?
Can I email my proposal?
What is the Atmospheric Methane Research Fund Oversight Committee?
What happens to intellectual property or datasets generated from the research effort?
Will Spark have future RFPs in this general area?
My question isn’t answered here.

Who’s behind Exploratory Grants for Atmospheric Methane Research?

The grant program was designed and is being managed by Spark Climate Solutions, in partnership with our advisors. The initial round of Exploratory Grants is supported by the Grantham Foundation. Spark’s work across atmospheric methane and other areas is supported by all of our philanthropic partners.

We’re inspired by previous ‘fast grants’ funding programs, and our friends at Homeworld Collective’s approach to open research problem statements.

Additional funding will extend the number of grants and rounds available through this program and other RFPs planned as part of Spark’s Atmospheric Methane Research program. Contact us if you’re interested in getting involved.

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Open Roles In This Area

We're looking for talented, strategic, climate-motivated, and scientifically-driven colleagues to join our team at Spark, across a number of areas, including the following roles related to the Methane Removal program:

Program Lead, Atmospheric Methane

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