Compost Research University Scholarships

It's time to apply for a scholarship.
The deadline to apply is April 15th. 11:59pm (PT)

The Compost Research & Education Foundation offers annual scholarships to university 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.

Before applying for a scholarship, please read carefully the Scholarship Requirements. Applications will not be accepted if the two attachments are not completed correctly.


2023/2024 University Compost-Research Scholarship Winners

Sai Thejaswini Pamuru is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland College Park. Her project aims to test the synergistic effectiveness of compost-biochar mixtures in reducing nitrogen and phosphorus leaching, and in improving vegetation growth and quality. The study takes a holistic approach to understanding the effects of compost-biochar mixtures on the physical and chemical behaviors of soils, water quality, and vegetation establishment. This study is one of the early efforts in evaluating biochar- and compost-amended soils in a large mesocosm experiment with slope considerations, mimicking roadside embankments. Given the concerns associated with composts (water quality) and wood-derived biochar (vegetative health), this study hypothesizes that a mixture of the two can improve soil fertility, plant uptake of nutrients, and soil hydraulic properties, all while minimizing nutrient losses to infiltrated or surface waters. The findings of this study expect to delineate practicable recommendations by promoting the safe use of Organic Amendments in roadside projects while updating current specifications on soil nutrients. Moreover, a comparative field evaluation of the Organic Amendments-based products and traditional stormwater management control measures, e.g., topsoil, will be available to engineers, scientists, and landscapers.


Daisy D’Angelo received her MS in Plant Pathology at The Ohio State University in 2014, and is currently pursuing a PhD with OSU’s Food, Agriculture, and Biological Engineering with a focus on compost characterization and utilization. She is also a Horticultural Scientist in Growing Media at Scotts Miracle-Gro. Daisy’s research project aims to examine the role food waste compost (FWC) can serve in establishing and maintaining healthy soils, specifically as a tool for better managing both nutrient and water usage. This research will conduct and execute field trial evaluations to study these effects of amending soil with FWC in two drastically different soil types and climates- 1. FL sand and 2. OH clay-loam. Prior to use in the field study, the composts utilized will be fully characterized as high-quality compost via STA testing, to better gauge appropriate application rates, and so that results can be duplicated by practitioners looking to capitalize on these benefits. The goal is to further quantify how compost applications can improve nutrient and water management and gain overall confidence with compost end users. She hopes this research will help highlight a valuable resource in diverting food waste from landfills to composting, which could also support both nutrient and water reduction in agricultural systems.


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Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF)
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