Research Grant Program

Congratulations to the three $4,500 undergraduate research grant awardees! The ISTA Educational Foundation is thrilled to announced we have selected the following three 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 2024 ISTA Forum, which will be held April 22-24 in San Diego, California!

  • Experimental Measurement and Observation of Horizontal Acceleration During Controlled Events of a Tractor-semitrailer from Multiple Speeds

    Anthony Valastro Myranda Baker
    Anthony Valastro,
    Myranda Baker,
    Rochester Institute of Technology
    Kyle Dunno,
    Assistant Professor
  • Effects of Convective Heat Transfer and Palletization on the Thermal Performance of Insulated Shipping Containers

    Juan Suarez Lucas Avery
    Juan Suarez,
    Lucas Avery,
    University of Florida
    William Pelletier,
    Instructional Associate Professor
  • Characterizing the Effect of Atmospheric Pressure on Internal Pressure of Dunnage Airbags in Transportation

    Sophia DeCurtis
    Sophia DeCurtis,
    Clemson University
    Greg Batt,
    Associate Professor

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 April at the annual ISTA Forum and are proud to support young talent and new research in our field. 

Previously Awarded Research Grants

In 2023, the ISTA Educational Foundation awarded three $4,500 undergraduate research grants for the following proposals. The universities presented their findings at the 2023 ISTA Forum held on May 1-3 in Houston, Texas.
  • Evaluation of Crowdsourced Logistics Operations During Last Mile Delivery Segments
    • Rochester Institute of Technology: Olivia Pettinicchi and John Mozrall
  • Mapping of the Grocery Delivery to Home Process and Hazards in a Suburban Environment
    • Virginia Tech Packaging Systems and Design: Alonda Johnson, Zachary Weston, Jiyu Niu and Morgan Bright
  • The Principle of Optimized Cushion Design for Minimizing Product Damage Throughout the Distribution
    • University of Wisconsin-Stout: Jack Ames Rupert and Lynnae Torgerud

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.