2019 SEAL Environmental Research Grants Announced

2019 SEAL Environmental Research Grants Announced

January 29, 2020 – The SEAL (Sustainability, Environmental Achievement and Leadership) Awards has awarded grants to two researchers as part of its ongoing Environmental Research Grants initiative.

The following grant recipients were selected via a highly competitive application process:

  • Leah Kunkel, a Ph.D. student at Arizona State University, who is studying the impact and motivations of cities taking a pledge of 100% renewable energy, while identifying the best practices and useful metrics for these cities. Kunkel also has an MS in Sustainability and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.
  • Dr. Owen R. Bidder, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, creating a project that “aims to leverage advances in deep-learning technology to automate the detection of animals in images and produce abundance estimates automatically. This will be done using two collections of survey images; harbor seals in the North Sea, and elk in Grand Teton National Park.” The SEAL Award for Dr. Bidder was able to cover the entire cost of this innovative project.


In addition to SEAL’s own organizational funding of the grants, 100% of the amounts raised from SEAL’s Business Sustainability Awards were contributed to the grant initiative.

SEAL’s 2019 grants are a continuation of its annual grant program. The 2018 SEAL Research Grants funded environmental researchers at 9 institutions, including Princeton, Duke, and Rutgers. The 2017 SEAL Research Grants funded researchers at 7 institutions, including Harvard, Marine Conservation Institute, MIT and UCLA. In these previous years, SEAL Awards has made smaller grants to a larger number of institutions but pivoted strategy this year to allocate a larger amount of funding to two recipients.

“Our focus this year was on fully funding two grant requests that we feel have the potential to drive tangible change in the field of environmental sustainability, in order to create maximum impact from our contribution.” -Matt Harney, Founder of the SEAL Awards


About The SEAL Awards:

The SEAL (Sustainability, Environmental Achievement & Leadership) Awards is an awards-driven environmental advocacy organization. 

Our core beliefs maintain that our environmental progress requires true leadership, leadership deserves recognition, and recognition is a form of accountability.

The SEAL Awards organizational pillars are: