Research Grant Program

Congratulations to the four $4,500 undergraduate research grant awardees! The ISTA Educational Foundation is thrilled to announced we have selected the following four undergraduate research proposals focused on minimizing product damage throughout distribution and optimizing resource usage through effective package design. The universities have been invited to present their research findings at the 2023 ISTA Forum, which will be held May 1-3, 2023 in Houston, Texas!

  • Rochester Institute of Technology: Evaluation of crowdsourced logistics operations during last mile delivery segments
  • Virginia Tech: Mapping of the Grocery Delivery to Home Process and Hazards in a Suburban Environment
  • University of Wisconsin-Stout: The Principle of Optimized Cushion Design for minimizing product damage throughout the distribution 

The ISTA Educational Foundation is proud to support the next generation of packaging leaders, said ISTAEF Vice President & Secretary Brian O‘Banion. We look forward to hearing from the awardees next May at the annual ISTA Forum and are proud to support young talent and new research in our field. 

Call for Undergraduate Research Proposals

Researchers are encouraged to submit proposals in transit packaging.  While original concepts are welcomed and encouraged, research in the following topics would be of interest as well:

  • Last mile hazards (examples: click-to-cart, drone, grocery delivery to home)
  • Unit load stability - long-duration horizontal acceleration
  • Clamp truck handling
  • Measurement of dynamic and non-vertical compression forces
  • Stacked vibration (specific example of the topic above)

The funding could be used to support the packaging school research curriculum or support independent research initiatives.  The selected researchers will provide a final report, and their supporting data, to the ISTAEF upon project completion, and present their findings at the ISTA Forum.  The funding could also be used to support the recipients' travel expenses to the Forum.  The goal is to tie grants to research in the transit packaging area. 

How to Submit Proposals

Submit a proposal

Researchers may submit their proposals using the above ISTAEF proposal portal.

Eligibility: Any U.S.-based undergraduate program with a concentration in packaging, with the capabilities of executing distribution packaging research may submit a proposal.  Specifically,

  1. It is the applicant’s responsibility to confirm their school’s ability to perform the distribution packaging research as proposed. In general, the applicant must have the capabilities to perform the proposed research. This includes having the appropriate curriculum, instructors, oversight, facilities and faculty and student capabilities to perform the distribution packaging research as proposed.
  2. By submitting a proposal, the school agrees that their research team is willing and able to present results at the ISTA Forum.
  3. Schools do not have to be ISTA members to be eligible for grants.

ISTAEF has developed a document describing the research grant process, which can be accessed by clicking here.