Compost Research College Scholarships

You can now apply for a 2022/2023 scholarship. Deadline to apply is April 15th. Please read the application requirements before applying.

The Compost Research & Education Foundation offers annual scholarships to college students to assist with their compost research projects. The scholarship is available for undergraduate through PhD students studying at a college or university in the United States. The scholarship is for $4,000, and also includes an invitation to present research findings at a US Composting Council Annual Conference during a CREF research session. Travel expenses are included.

The goal of this scholarship is to bring assistance to students interested in compost research and to spark interest in future careers in the composting industry.

The research project for this scholarship must be ongoing during the term of the grant and be research in the fields of composting and compost use. More specifically, the ideal candidate will have interest in improving the compost process and the application and the utilization of finished compost to increase drought tolerance, soil nutrient content, reducing erosion and water pollution, and increasing carbon storage in soils to combat climate change.

To learn more about the scholarship you can review the Scholarship Requirements.


2021/2022 College Compost-Research Scholarship Winners

Brooke Schmidt is a senior undergraduate student majoring in biosystems engineering with a minor in math at the University of Arizona. She is interested in engineering methods for more sustainable living and learning about the vital role that soil plays in the longevity and future of our planet. She plans to continue her research and education by pursuing a graduate degree in environmental science or engineering.

Brooke’s research project aims to explore how compost can be improved through mineral additives to provide longer-lasting benefits for arid cropland farmers. She seeks to determine if compost with the mineral additions of vermiculite, zeolite, or greensand can improve the capacity of soils to store carbon, increase crop yield, and address soil health deficiencies related to farming practices. She hopes that her research will result in a new solution that will increase the sustainability of arid environment agriculture.


Md Mahfuz Islam joined North Carolina State University as a Ph.D. student in the Spring semester of 2021. He earned his BS in Soil, Water and Environment and MS in Environmental Science from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. His current research focuses on managing compacted construction sites and roadside soils to improve stormwater infiltration and reduce watershed pollution, primarily through the incorporation of composts. Soil erosion and stormwater runoff in urban and suburban areas are the biggest contributors to nonpoint source water pollution. Urbanization, particularly the construction of roads, buildings, and other structures can make both the surface and subsurface soils impervious, resulting in greater surface runoff and bulk density and reduced hydraulic conductivity, soil structure, and porosity. Environment-friendly compost amendments incorporation might be a possible solution to alleviate soil compaction and facilitate stormwater infiltrations through the soil profile. Mahfuz is working on a NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) supported project trying to find appropriate compost rates, compost types, and application depth for specific textured degraded urban soils regarding increasing infiltration rate. This research will provide peer-reviewed recommendations for the management of degraded and compacted urban soils.

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