RISE Rural coastal community
$1.5 Million resilience challenge

Competition Overview

Application Deadline: Application Period is closed

The impact of climate change is being experienced at an accelerated rate. In the U.S., almost 40% of the population lives in coastal areas vulnerable to sea level rise, leaving these communities at higher risk of flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms.

With thousands of miles of shoreline, rural coastal Virginia is uniquely vulnerable to coastal storms and flooding associated with tides and extreme precipitation, which are exacerbated by climate change and sea level rise. Exposure to broad rivers and the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean intensify coastal erosion, risking private property and public infrastructure. Saltwater intrusion is also a threat to well water quality and to coastal farms and forests. The region’s heavy reliance on septic systems for wastewater disposal presents both economic and public health challenges.

To address these issues, the RISE Rural Coastal Community Resilience Challenge offers up to $1,700,000 in grants and over $1,000,000 in support services to businesses solving the many problems that face rural coastal communities as a result of climate change. Selected teams will work closely with government, business, academic and tech leaders in coastal Virginia on pilots to validate their innovative solutions across the rural Middle Peninsula region and scale them to other communities.

Rural coastal Virginia presents a rare opportunity: Numerous publicly owned properties and buildings for real-world product testing and development; an unbeatable living laboratory for the best climate resilience and adaptation solutions; and the chance to make a positive impact quickly.


Informational Webinars


Sample of available research field stations:

Adams Creek Recreation Area
Captain Sinclair's Recreational Area
Dutchman's Point
Guinea Marsh Islands
Perrin River/Bryant Donation
Shenk Property
Sloop Landing
Winter Harbor North & South

The Challenge seeks businesses with innovative, scalable solutions that address any of the following topics:

Water Quality Management

Septic System Design
Buildings’ Water System Redesign

Protection of Buildings and Property

Use and Application of Dredge Material
Property Accessibility
Integrated Coastal Property Design
Existing Building Rehabilitation

Flood Management

Living Shoreline Vegetation Production
Rural Drainage Improvement

For detailed challenge topic descriptions, visit the RISE Rural Coastal Community Resilience Challenge website.

Winning businesses will get access to:

  • Up to $200,000 USD in non-dilutive grant funding
  • Real-world pilot sites in the rural Middle Peninsula region of Virginia
  • Feedback from government pilot hosts
  • Assistance and support with permitting issues and questions
  • University R&D assistance and interns
  • Co-working office space in the Middle Peninsula of Virginia
  • Fabrication facility in Hampton Roads of Virginia
  • Customized business accelerator curriculum
  • Government, technical, and business mentors
  • PR opportunities and media visibility
  • Regulatory assistance with government funding
  • Introductions to potential investors and customers
  • The only ecosystem of coastal resilience entrepreneurs in the U.S.

Project timelines are anticipated to be up to 15 months. Download the RISE Rural Coastal Community Resilience Challenge Applicant Guidelines to learn more about solution and applicant eligibility, work the Challenge award can support, and the two-part application process.


To be eligible for funding and other resources applicants must:

  • Be a for-profit company
  • Be registered on sam.gov and have a DUNS number
  • Be eligible to receive funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia and adhere to applicable rules and regulations
  • Meet goals of the Challenge (see Challenge Topics)
  • Deploy the proposed solution in the Middle Peninsula region of Virginia
  • Complete the proposed project by June 30, 2023

Geographic Eligibility

Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed solution may be implemented in and directly benefit the rural Middle Peninsula region in Southeastern Virginia. The Middle Peninsula region includes the counties of Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Mathews, and Middlesex, and the incorporated towns of Urbanna, Tappahannock and West Point, and is bordered on the east by the Chesapeake Bay, to the north by the Rappahannock River, and to the south of the York River.

The Challenge Partners

Resilience Innovations
Middle Peninsula Planning
District Commission
Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority
Sea Grant

This Challenge is funded in part by GO Virginia, a state-funded initiative administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) that strengthens and diversifies Virginia’s economy and fosters the creation of higher wage jobs in strategic industries.

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