Global Food Systems Seed Grant Program

Update — April 5, 2023

Due to the most recent Global Food Systems seed grants featuring a two-year offering, a decision has been made to put the GFS Seed Grant program on hiatus for the upcoming fiscal year.  There are currently seven research projects in process under GFS funding and we look forward to their completion in 2024. 

We are also excited to see the Game-changing Research Initiation Program, or GRIP, gaining traction and look forward to re-engaging in the GFS seed grant activity next year.

If you have any questions about the GFS Seed Grant Program, please reach out to or

About the program

*New proposals are not currently being accepted.

K-State’s universitywide Global Food Systems, or GFS, Initiative 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 the food system 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 the food system. 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 initiative is closely aligned with K-State’s new Economic Prosperity plan. To maximize the impact on areas that drive economic prosperity and GFS in the state of Kansas, the GFS Seed Grant Program was modified for fiscal year 2023 to provide a two-year period of funding up to $100,000 per year or $200,000 total award. The second year of funding will be contingent upon continued state funding and sufficient progress progress in the first year. Two requirements for all projects are:

  1. The potential for the project to impact job growth and job creation, as well as retaining and attracting talent in the state of Kansas.
  2. Specific plans to attract new externally sponsored funding to solve GFS grand challenges.

Updated general guidelines for Global Food Systems Seed Grants are included below.

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 — including both food safety and bio/agro security.
    • Increasing food nutritional value.
    • Policy, social concerns, and economic factors driving food systems.
    • Combating obesity and nutritional illiteracy.
    • Interdisciplinary areas of research should include appropriate combinations of scientific, business, humanities, arts, and technical approach.

Some specific guidelines for developing proposals include:

  • Collaboration with industry is encouraged, particularly with Kansas-based companies or companies where there is an opportunity for job creation/investment within the state. Because of the importance of this criterion to the State, we are requiring a mandatory training in finding industry partners for all applicants. The training session for this round of proposals has occurred.
  • Proposals MUST address impacts on job creation and/or economic development because of the source of this funding from the state of Kansas.
  • 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.
  • Proposals addressing an equipment purchase must demonstrate that the equipment will primarily support research related to the GFS initiative. They should include a listing of users and the types of research those users will conduct with the equipment.

Funds made available through this seed grant program may support activities such as pilot projects, workshops, planning activities or program development, equipment purchase, or collaboration with external consultants as appropriate to achieve the stated goals and objectives. Inclusion of an external consultant or any other potentially questionable items must be approved by Office of Research Development.

Funds may not be used to sustain ongoing projects or support work conducted outside of the U.S. Awards are renewable for one year contingent on availability of funds and review of first year’s results. There will be no cost extensions of the yearly period of performance allowed for these projects.


Only K-State faculty members — either tenured, tenure-track, or research-track — are eligible to apply for seed grant funding under this opportunity. Subcontracting with another university/group is not allowed; external consultants may be allowed but must have been approved by ORD in advance of submission.

A faculty member cannot be included in more than two submissions. Multiple submissions allow for a faculty member to be a PI/co-PI on only one submission and a collaborator/senior investigator on one other submission. Additionally, there is a limit of a total of 3 PI’s/co-PI’s per proposal.

Evaluation criteria
  1. Inclusion of clear and believable economic effects — especially those in Kansas. Note, because of its importance to the funder, this section is weighted the highest of any other review criteria.
  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. Attraction/creation of jobs in Kansas.
  4. Strength of the idea proposed and the clarity of its presentation.
  5. Well-articulated goals and objectives.
  6. Well laid out and understandable approach section.
  7. Explanation of the significance and benefits of the project.
  8. Relevance of the project to the GFS and economic prosperity initiatives.
  9. Capability of the project team to complete what is proposed.
  10. Demonstrated involvement of participants from multiple disciplines and colleges.
  11. Specific plans to attract new externally sponsored funding to solve GFS grand challenges.
  12. Identification of additional sources of funding — cash or in-kind — to support the proposed activity and/or its broader strategy.
  13. Training of students — provide estimate of number of students trained per year — to support the global food systems industry.
  14. Attraction of national attention to GFS issues through a regional or national presentation, publication, or equivalent.
Application instructions

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

Proposals must include:

  • A cover sheet (.docx) that includes the project title and the names/department/college of the PI and co-PIs (limited to a total of three PIs/co-PIs).
  • A 3/4-page abstract that summarizes the project proposed, relates the project’s relevance to the GFS initiative, and lists its envisioned outcomes if funded.
  • A project description (7-page 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 addresses as many as possible of the evaluation criteria. The role of students in the project should be clearly articulated. Also, include a section on the likely economic impacts of the project as per the bulleted guidelines above. All images, figures, and tables needed in the project description should fit within the 7-page project description. Appendices are not allowed. Proposals that are primarily equipment requests must address why the equipment is needed, where will it be housed, what is the GFS-related research and training that the equipment will enable, and if comparable equipment is available on campus, why the requested equipment is also needed.
  • A listing of references cited (does not count against 7-page limit).
  • For major equipment requests, a list of likely users of the equipment and the type of GFS research each will conduct as well as a plan for handling the operation and management costs of the equipment after its purchase, a 2-page limit in addition to the 7-page RFP.
  • A timeline with major milestones and deliverables.
  • A participant list showing name, department, college, and project role.
  • A biosketch — 3-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.

A one-hour training session on working with industry partners is mandatory for this submission. There will be two time slots made available for this training. These sessions must be attended by at least one PI. Graduate students cannot attend in place of a PI.

The above components should be combined and submitted as a single PDF file. These are not to be entered into Cayuse SP by the submitting unit. If these are not combined, they will be returned without review.


Proposals are typically due in April. A deadline will be announced when the next request for proposals is issued.


Proposals are reviewed in the following weeks after the submission deadline. Feedback will be provided on proposals that are not funded.

Award and project reporting

Award announcements are typically made in May after proposals are submitted in April. Projects will start on July 1 of that year and run through June 30 of the next year. 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 within a year of completion of the project.
  • A short report to the Office of Research Development
  • Participation in a poster session at the end of a funding year.