Town+Gown Funded Research Opportunities

To enable Columbia Researchers to respond to research funding opportunities from New York City Agencies, Columbia is one of 15 universities that has signed a Master Contract with Town+Gown, which allows for an expedited RFP process and a simplified agreement when a City Agency releases a research funding opportunity under NYC’s Town+Gown. This stream-lined process allows any NYC Agency to issue a mini-RFP to address a research question relevant to their policies and practices. Agencies that can deploy this mechanism, as well as recent past and current RFPs are listed below. 

Please address any questions regarding research opportunities or the Town+Gown consortium to Victoria Hamilton at victoria.hamilton@columbia.edu, and any questions regarding the RFP process and funding to Rudi Odeh-Ramadan at ro133@cumc.columbia.edu

Open Funding Opportunities

Proposals in response to this RFP are due on Wednesday, October 2, 2019.

General Research Project Description
DEP, Bureau of Water Supply (BWS), Natural Resources Division, requires the professional services of an academic institution to research the use of biological control agents to manage the invasive forest pest, hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) and to conduct field trials in hemlock stands in the West of Hudson (WOH) watershed in Sullivan, Delaware, Schoharie, and Greene Counties, New York. 

Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is an important species for watershed protection for New York City’s water supply. It is a dominant forest tree species, making up 16 percent of the basal area of forests in the WOH watershed with 27 percent or over 19,000 acres of hemlock hardwood forest type. The long-term sustainability of these hemlock forests and their natural ability to serve as green infrastructure is threatened by the presence of hemlock woolly adelgid. 

The predatory beetle, Laricobius nigrinus, and silver flies, Leucopis argenticollis and L. piniperda, have been released and proven to successfully feed on hemlock woolly adelgid in New York (Limbu, Keena, and Whitmore 2018). Research is required to better understand their ability to overwinter in the varied conditions of the Catskills as well as to rear adequate quantities of the insects in the lab or to determine if wild collections from their established range may be adequate. DEP will benefit from this better understanding of which species are better suited for overwintering in the Catskills and the best methods for obtaining sizable populations for release in order to maximize the impacts of releases in the watershed. With this information, DEP will be positioned to reduce hemlock mortality and promote more stable watershed forests. 

Research Project Objectives
To conduct at least one (1), and up to three (3), field release(s) of hemlock woolly adelgid biological control agents Laricobius nigrinus and/or silver flies Leucopis argenticollis and L. piniperda on City lands in the Neversink Reservoir Basin, Sullivan County, NY, Pepacton Reservoir Basin, Delaware County, NY and Schoharie Reservoir basin, Schoharie/Greene County, NY. It is anticipated that this may involve six (6) or more field days spent traveling to and between release sites. 

Find the full RFP here.

Proposals in response to this RFP are due on Friday, October 11, 2019.

General Research Project Description 
New York City (“NYC” or the “City”) has a long-term greenhouse gas (“GHG”) goal of net zero emissions by 2050 (“carbon neutrality”). Achieving carbon neutrality will require transformational change at all levels of the City’s energy, buildings, transportation, and waste systems. 

NYC buildings are responsible for roughly two-thirds of NYC’s GHG emissions. With this understanding, NYC passed Local Law 97 of 2018 (“LL97”) which sets GHG emissions limits, beginning in 2024, for buildings larger than 25,000 square feet that will cut GHG emissions at least 40% by 2030 and over 80% by 2050 in affected buildings. LL97 imposes penalties of $268 per metric ton of carbon dioxide-equivalent in excess of an individual building’s emissions limit in a given year. By 2030, LL97 is projected to reduce NYC’s GHG emissions by 6 million tons, create 26,700 jobs, and prevent up to 130 premature deaths each year from air quality improvements. 

NYC’s Technical Working Group Report (“TWG”) and subsequent analyses, including the NYC Roadmap to 80x50 (“Roadmap to 80x50”), identified pathways for deep decarbonization across NYC’s building stock and assessed the costs, energy, and emissions benefits of these pathways for a subset of the most common building typologies in the City. 

LL97 requires MOS to study the potential for carbon trading as an alternate compliance pathway to the carbon emissions limits set out by the law. Building on the findings of the TWG, the Roadmap to 80x50 analyses, and the analyses conducted to develop LL97, this Research Project will study the feasibility of a citywide trading scheme for greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in the context of LL97, assess the merits of several carbon trading scheme scenarios, and develop recommendations and an implementation plan. The Carbon Trading Study will include methods to ensure equitable investment in Environmental Justice Communities that preserve a minimum level of benefits for all covered buildings and do not result in localized increases in pollution. The Carbon Trading Study will also include an approach to a marketplace for carbon credit trading, pricing mechanisms, carbon credit verification, and mechanisms for the monitoring and regular improvement of the scheme.

This Research Project will engage the disciplines of economics, law, public policy, and data science. Specific tasks will require skillsets in data analysis, economic and financial modeling, legal analysis, policy analysis, and program design. 

Find the full RFP here.

Recent Funding Opportunities

Proposals in response to this RFP are due on Thursday, February 8, 2018.

The NYCDEP & the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) issued an RFP for a Citywide Stormwater Resiliency Study, in the amount of $1M - $1.8M.

  • Goals of the study are to develop a full, citywide Hydraulic & Hydrologic (H&H) system model to identify priority atrisk areas in the city.
    • Model will be used to test rainfall scenarios, extreme and moderate events, varied spatial distribution , intensity, frequency, and duration
    • Investigate impact of changing climate conditions on flood conditions and storm water management practices, based on climate projects form the NYC Panel on Climate Change
    • Look at flooding from coincident surge and precipitation – investigating geographically-specific stormwater conditions where flooding may be influence by sea level rise, tidal inundation, elevated groundwater
  • Results from the analyses will be used to inform the City’s current and future stormwater management practices and aid in prioritizing interventions.
  • Deliverables include: Using the H&H System, 20 Scenarios for Model Runs, Flood Depth Maps, Model Outputs, Hydrographs, Methodology for conducting Stormwater Intervention, Report submitted to DEP, ORR< and other agencies as per DEP & ORR for comments in the Final Report, H&H Model shared with DEP & ORR
  • Proposals in response to this RFP are due on Thursday, February 8, 2018.
  • All work must be completed by November 30, 2018

Please find the full text of the RFP here.

Previously Funded Research

Other Information

Department for the Aging (DFTA)
Department of Buildings (DOB)
Department of City Planning (DCP)
Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS)
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)
Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA)
Department of Design and Construction (DDC)
Department of Education (DOE)
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Department of Finance (DOF)
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)
Department of Homeless Services (DHS)
New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
Department of Investigation (DOI)
Mayor's Office of Recovery & Resiliency (ORR)
Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)
Mayor's Office of Sustainability (MOS)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)