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Seed Grants

Call for Applications


Deadline: Rolling submission

We are pleased to announce a call for applications that contribute to research and/or public dialogue on the topic of consent-based processes for critical infrastructure, such as temporary storage of nuclear waste (spent nuclear fuel).

  • Who is eligible? U.S.-based groups and/or U.S.-based Tribal organizations are encouraged to apply.
  • What is this for? This opportunity aims to fund research or public conversations led by communities or researchers (individuals or groups).
  • How do I use the seed grant funding? To gather information/input from research and/or in public forums.

Information Session

Seed grant funding is one part of the Department of Energy grant that will be distributed through the Common Ground consortium.

group of people sitting, one is raising their hand

Join a virtual information session on Monday June 10, 2024 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. MT to learn more about seed grants and the application process, as well as to ask questions in an open forum. Register here.

Feel free to submit questions in advance to Cassie Koerner at or through the registration page.

The seed grant program seeks to advance understanding of how communities approach consent and apply it in decision-making and engagement with siting of critical infrastructure, like that for spent nuclear fuel. Consent is recognized as key for legitimate decision making and procedural fairness. In addition, the program aims to expand understanding of better practices on community engagement and decision-making.

This program is supported by the Common Ground consortium, a community network of universities and a national tribal organization, plus public and private sector collaborators. Common Ground focuses on mutual learning to provide feedback to the U.S. Department of Energy to improve consent-based processes.

Note: This seed grant program and the Common Ground consortium that oversees the program are not focused on identifying communities for potential siting of a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, but rather on developing recommendations for the U.S. Department of Energy, based on learning from public discussions or research. For the purposes of this seed grant program, ‘a community’ can mean a specific place or a group of people with shared interests.


Seed grants aim to fund local or topical studies, or public forums (such as structured conversations, focus groups) that shed light on how consent is agreed upon and shaped by community engagement processes for critical infrastructure, such as temporary storage of nuclear waste (spent nuclear fuel). A total of approximately $125,000 is currently available.


Nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, Tribes and/or Tribal organizations, schools, libraries, civic associations, service clubs, student groups, and similar organizations in the US are eligible. We encourage projects that are led or facilitated by under-represented or under-served groups. If you have questions about eligibility, email or call the using the contacts listed in the following sections.

Proposals are encouraged to examine consent-based decision-making in the previously stated context and in terms of fairness, trust, equity, and inclusion.

Review criteria will include:

  1. the feasibility of completing the project within the study period (all must be done by or before September 2025);
  2. diversity of partners, participants, as well as new perspectives incorporated;
  3. potential for impact in terms of meaningful engagement, mutual learning, diverse perspectives; and
  4. innovative, significant or expanded use of existing methods and practices.

How to obtain and submit an application package: This includes forms in English or Spanish, as hard copies or digital files.

Obtain and submit applications

How to obtain (multiple ways):

  1. Call 208-426-6542 or email Cassie Koerner at Forms will be emailed or sent to you in hard copy by postal mail; or
  2. Download here: Seed Grant Application (Microsoft Word), and Seed Grant Budget (Microsoft Excel). [Documentos en Español Componentes necesarios para la solicitud, y Presupuesto]; or

How to submit (multiple ways):

  1. Email application to Cassie Koerner at
  2. Send via postal mail to the Seed Grant Program, 1149 E. Victory Rd. Boise, ID 83706.
  3. Use the Seed Grant application webform where you input or copy/paste your answers and upload your completed budget file as a pdf.

Additional details

Contact: Cassie Koerner, or 208-426-6542.

At the conclusion of the grant period, grant awardees will be required to submit a report of findings and present to the Common Ground consortium.

This seed funding uses federal funds, so a UEI number and registration in will be required in order to receive funding. Applicants do not need these at the time of application submission, but they are necessary to receive an award.

To learn more about the Common Ground consortium, led by the CAES Energy Policy Institute, visit their website.

In addition visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, to learn more about the U.S. DOE consent-based siting process and activities.

Frequently asked questions

Infrastructure: Do seed grant funded projects have to focus on spent nuclear fuel infrastructure? Critical infrastructure areas of focus could include the grid, hydrogen storage and pipelines, and other critical infrastructure. If done well, learning can be done with/from multiple types of critical infrastructure.