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Office of the Vice President for Research
102 Anderson Hall
Manhattan KS, 66506


Global Food Systems Seed Grant Program

Kansas State University has a multidisciplinary initiative in Global Food Systems, or GFS, that builds on our strengths and land-grant mission to help address the challenge of sustainably feeding a world population that will double global food demand by 2050. Given the importance of food production to the Kansas economy, the innovation and knowledge resulting from this initiative are expected to assist with job creation and economic development within the state and to help Kansas remain a leader in food production. To this end, the State of Kansas has provided K-State with funding for GFS-related research, workforce development, and economic development and innovation activities. The GFS Seed Grant Program addressed by this Request for Proposals, or RFP, is supported by this state funding.

The GFS Seed Grant Program invites applications for innovative research in all aspects of global food systems including, but not limited to:

  • Increasing food production (crops or livestock, e.g. crop yield improvement, pest management, or animal health)
  • Better management of water and other resources/systems related to food production and distribution
  • Better management of the food produced
  • Keeping food systems safe (includes both food safety and bio/agro security)
  • Increasing food nutritional value and combating obesity
  • Combating nutritional illiteracy

Innovative educational and outreach (e.g., use of the arts as an engagement medium) proposals related to these topics are also sought, as are studies related to the policy, social concerns and economic factors which help drive food systems. Preference will be given to projects that are interdisciplinary, engaging multiple disciplines and multiple colleges. Students (graduate and/or undergraduate) should be integrated into projects to help develop the future food systems workforce. Collaboration with industry is encouraged, particularly with Kansas-based companies or companies where there is an opportunity for job creation/investment within the state.

Funds made available through this innovation grant may support activities such as pilot projects, workshops, planning activities or program development, equipment purchase, or external consultants with appropriate justification (discuss with the Office of Research Development prior to inclusion) as appropriate to achieve the stated goals and objectives. Funds may not be used to sustain ongoing projects and awards are not renewable. The funding available in this call for proposals is $500,000; another $250,000 will be available in a Spring 2020 call. Requests may be made up to a total of $100,000 in direct costs for a 1-year period of performance; however, most awards will be in the $20,000-$50,000 range.


Only K-State faculty and staff members are eligible to apply for seed grant funding under this opportunity. Subcontracting with another university/group is not allowed; external consultants may be allowed. A researcher may apply as the principal investigator on one proposal per funding cycle; s/he may also serve as a Co-PI on a proposal submitted in the same application cycle.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. The strength of the idea proposed and the clarity of its presentation.
  2. The relevance of the project to the GFS initiative.
  3. The capability of the project team to complete what is proposed.
  4. Demonstrated collaboration involving multiple, diverse disciplines and multiple K-State colleges.
  5. The ability of the project to meet two or more of the following job creation/economic development criteria:
    1. Attraction of new externally sponsored funding to solve GFS grand challenges and/or attract national attention to GFS issues through a regional or national showing;
    2. Involvement of industry in the project, particularly Kansas-based companies or companies where there is an opportunity for job creation/investment within the state;
    3. Involvement of the private sector in funding the activity and/or the broader strategy the proposal supports;
    4. Training of students to support the global food systems industry;
    5. Attraction/creation of jobs in Kansas; or
    6. Enhancement of K-State's reputation in GFS.

Application Instructions

Please use 11-pt, Times New Roman or Calibri font with 1"page margins.

Proposals must include:

  • A cover sheet that includes the project title and the names/department/college of the PI and co-PIs (limited to two co-PIs)
  • A 3/4 –page abstract that summarizes the project proposed, relates the project's relevance to the GFS initiative and lists envisioned outcomes of the proposal if it is funded
  • A project description (3-pages maximum) that includes a project statement with goals, objectives and anticipated outcomes; a background/ justification section; a description of the research/project that will be conducted and a discussion of how the project will be used to attract outside funding (identify specific opportunities) and/or bring national/regional attention to GFS challenges and K-State's ability to address them. The role of students in the project should be clearly articulated.
  • A timeline with major milestones and deliverables.
  • A participant list showing name, department, college, and project role.
  • A biosketch (2-pages, NSF Format) for PIs and co-PIs.
  • A budget using the NSF Standard Budget form with an accompanying justification. Do not include Indirect Costs. Matching funds from industrial/private collaborators are encouraged and should be addressed in the budget justification.

The above components should be combined and submitted as a single pdf file.


Proposals are due by 5 p.m. CDT on Friday, Sept. 6 and should be submitted electronically, with subject "GFS Proposal" to:

Maureen Olewnik, GFS Coordinator
Office of Research Development


Proposals will be reviewed in September. Feedback will be provided on proposals that are not funded.

Award and Project Reporting

Award announcements will be made and projects will start on Oct. 1, 2019. A progress report at six months will be required so that we can report preliminary outcomes to the State.

The final required deliverables are submission of a competitive extramural proposal or pre-proposal to an external funding agency and a short report to the Office of Research Development.