P3 Student Design Competition

Learn About P3 Program

EPA’s P3 Program
P3 stands for People, Prosperity and the Planet. Through this EPA program, college students can benefit people, promote prosperity and protect the planet by designing environmental solutions that move us towards a sustainable future.

Learn more about P3 through students interacting in the experience (video). Exit

Areas of sustainability that are eligible for the P3 competition
EPA considers projects that address challenges from a wide range of categories including water, energy, agriculture, built environment, and materials and chemicals. These can be challenges found in the developed or developing world.

The P3 Award competition
The P3 Award competition is a two-phase team contest. For the first phase, interdisciplinary student teams compete for $15,000 grants.  Recipients use the money to research and develop their design projects during the academic year. The final projects include a Phase I project report and a Phase II proposal.

In the spring, all teams submit their reports and proposals. Scores from the reports, proposals and the design presentations are combined into a final overall score for each P3 team. Based on these scores, a panel of expert judges recommend to EPA which teams should receive the EPA P3 Award and the opportunity for Phase II funding.

The P3 Award
Given to the best student designs, this is an award and opportunity for grant funding up to $75,000 to further the project design, implement it in the field, and move it to the marketplace.

Institutions of higher education located in the United States are eligible to apply as the recipients of grants to support teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students. Collaboration and partnerships with colleges and universities outside the United States are permitted (and up to 40% of the grant can be contracted to an international partner), but only U.S. institutions are eligible to apply.

How to apply
The Request for Applications (RFA) opens in the Fall. Grants are awarded for the following Fall. Learn more on how to apply for a P3 grant.

Application review
A peer review panel evaluates all EPA P3 Phase I applications for problem definition; innovation and technical merit; connections to sustainability in terms of people, prosperity and the planet; measurable results, evaluation method, implementation strategy; and integration of the P3 Award competition as an educational tool. Final funding decisions are made by EPA.

The National Sustainable Design Expo
Held each spring, EPA’s P3 Award Competition at the National Sustainable Design Expo brings together students, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and businesses that are working to create a sustainable future.

The Expo is a unique opportunity to discover innovative, cutting-edge technologies developed by university students and their faculty advisors, learn what nonprofit organizations and government agencies are doing to advance sustainability, experience sustainable products that are currently available, and recruit talented hires with backgrounds in the broad range of disciplines found the sustainability arena.

The Expo is open to the public.

P3 Program Contact:
April Richards (richards.april@epa.gov)
U.S. EPA, Office of Research and Development
Washington, DC
Telephone: 202-564-6462