Global Food Systems Seed Grant Program

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 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 Global Food Systems Seed Grant Program has adjusted its timing for call for proposals to match the fiscal year. The FY 2022 call has been completed and recipients have been announced.

As funds are available, this offering will be made again in the spring of 2022 for the 2023 fiscal year.

General guidelines for Global Food Systems Seed Grants are included below. When considering submission to this program, please consider three of the priority areas in the Evaluation Criteria:

  1. Demonstrated involvement of participants from multiple disciplines and multiple K-State colleges.
  2. Specific plans to attract new externally sponsored funding to solve GFS grand challenges.
  3. Involvement of industry in the project, particularly Kansas-based companies or companies where there is an opportunity for job creation/investment within the state.

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.
  • Innovative educational and outreach approaches to increasing public understanding of GFS — e.g., use of the arts as an engagement medium).

Some specific guidelines for developing proposals include:

  • 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. Because of the importance of this criterion to the State, we are requiring a mandatory training in finding industry partners for all applicants.
  • Proposals MUST address impacts on job creation and/or economic development because of the source of this funding from the state of Kansas.
  • Proposals addressing an equipment purchase must demonstrate that the equipment will primarily support research related to the GFS initiative. This demonstration 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 — justification required; 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 or support work conducted outside of the U.S. Furthermore, awards are not renewable nor will there be any no cost extensions of the one year period of performance allowed for these projects. The funding available in this call for proposals is about $900,000. 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 $50,000 range or more depending on quality of the submission.


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.

Evaluation criteria
  1. Strength of the idea proposed and the clarity of its presentation.
  2. Well-articulated goals and objectives.
  3. Well laid out and understandable approach section.
  4. Explanation of the significance and benefits of the project.
  5. Relevance of the project to the GFS initiative.
  6. Capability of the project team to complete what is proposed.
  7. 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.
  8. Demonstrated involvement of participants from multiple disciplines and multiple K-State colleges.
  9. Specific plans to attract new externally sponsored funding to solve GFS grand challenges.
  10. Involvement of industry in the project, particularly Kansas-based companies or companies where there is an opportunity for job creation/investment within the state.
  11. Identification of additional sources of funding — cash or in-kind — to support the proposed activity and/or its broader strategy.
  12. Training of students — provide estimate of number of students trained per year — to support the global food systems industry.
  13. Attraction/creation of jobs in Kansas.
  14. Attraction of national attention to GFS issues through a regional or national presentation, publication, or the like.
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 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 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 3-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 3-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 plan for handling the operation and management costs of the equipment after its purchase (2-page limit).
  • 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.

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.

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.


Proposals are due by 5 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 9, 2021 and should be submitted electronically, with subject, “GFS Proposal” to:

Maureen Olewnik, GFS Coordinator
Office of Research Development

Proposals will be reviewed in late April and early May. Feedback will be provided on proposals that are not funded.

Award and project reporting

Award announcements will be made and projects will start on July 1, 2021 and run through June 30 of the 2022 fiscal 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 the funding year.