Seed Grants - Rolling

Request for Proposals (RFP)

Application Deadline: Rolling and prior to April 1, 2023 or until all funds are committed

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Overview

The Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative (AG2PI) was created to address the challenges of agriculture, from genome to phenome, by building a cross-kingdom and multi-disciplinary research community. The seed grant mechanism within AG2PI is intended to foster first steps towards the development of community solutions to research needs and opportunities, gaps in physical infrastructure and data management, as well as community building and inclusion.

In response to community needs that do not necessarily fit neatly into our regular seed grant mechanism, we offer this new funding opportunity to address timely outstanding community needs. We invite proposals that will further develop the AG2PI community in areas described below (see Program Scope) and that demonstrate how the award will support the goals of AG2PI (as described on the AG2PI website). Projects that broaden interactions as much as possible and seek to find synergies across communities and organizational types are highly encouraged (e.g., plants and animals; academics, government, and the private sector). Proposals may be submitted on a rolling basis.

  • Anticipated number of awards: limited
  • Start date: anytime
  • Length of award: limited to time frame of a single event
  • Maximum budget per award: $15,000

NOTE: Individual investigator research projects are outside the scope of this call.


Program Scope

This AG2PI rolling seed grant opportunity is focused on supporting single events. Events may fall into one or more of the following agricultural genomes to phenomes (AG2P)-related activities, but are not limited to these suggestions:

  1. Participant support for increasing representation of diverse voices at AG2P-related events (e.g., conferences, workshops, etc.).
  2. Creation and offering of cross-disciplinary training in AG2P data science/ biology/ engineering
  3. Town hall meetings to jump start working groups or to measure interest in forming a working group.
  4. Creation and dissemination of AG2P materials from ethical, legal, social, ecological, and economic perspectives.

Eligibility

  • Lead proposer(s) (Principal Investigator) must be primarily affiliated with an institution or organization that is eligible for a USDA award. We will be following the eligibility requirements listed in the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative- Foundational and Applied Science Program RFA (see Part III, A).
  • Lead PIs are limited to one proposal per funding cycle. This applies to each grant type (rolling, Round 3 and working group) individually; a lead PI may apply to each grant type, once, within a given cycle.
  • Early career and graduate student applicants are especially encouraged to apply. You are encouraged to discuss your project with a member of the AG2PI seed grant steering committee and your supervisor, especially if you have not previously applied for a grant.
  • Individuals from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply, especially those from minority serving institutions.
  • It is recommended that applicants check with their sponsored project offices before submitting their applications, particularly with respect to their budget proposals.

Awards

Awards will be made in the form of mini-grants for allowable project expenses, where allowable is determined by USDA guidelines. Payments will be made as reimbursements, after completion of the event. Please check with your office of sponsored projects to help determine what is an eligible expense. Indirect costs are NOT allowed.


Deliverables

Proposals should describe how the results of the proposed activity are anticipated to further the aims of AG2PI and how these outcomes will be shared. Examples might include: drafting proposals for funding, concept papers, best practices documents, computational tools/software, curricula, or learning outcomes for future training events.

  • A brief final written report of the event and outcomes must be submitted to the AG2PI seed grant chair within 90 days of the completion of the event. The scope of the report is dependent on the nature of the activities. AG2PI is required to report data about the number and characteristics of participants in engagement activities, and information about outcomes and impacts. Successful applicants will be asked to provide this data on completion of the proposed activity.
  • Awardees are required to agree to AG2PI's Data Management Plan (DMP) and make content, data, resources, tools, etc. that are collected and/or developed using AG2PI support available to the broader stakeholder community using standard USDA practices, open source, FAIR, or other models. Awardees should familiarize themselves with AG2PI's DMP and the USDA guidelines for data management plans (https://nifa.usda.gov/resource/data-management-plan-nifa-funded-research-projects) and have required materials submitted by the timeline provided in the DMP (i.e., within 6 months of seed grant project completion).
  • Awardees are encouraged to work with the AG2PI team to make the event and outcomes visible through the AG2PI communication channels.
  • In all presentations, papers, posters, and other public communications (including social media posts), awardees must acknowledge support from the AG2PI and the United States Department of Agriculture under USDA award numbers 2020-70412-32615 and 2021-70412-35233

How to Apply

Please read all submission guidelines and instructions below on how to format and electronically submit your proposal.


Submission Guidelines

There are two forms comprising the proposal:

An online application in Smartsheet and a Word template that needs to be filled out and saved as a PDF. Below are details for what information must be included in each form.

Seed Grants Application Form Word Template Form

Smartsheet application contents:

  • Contact Information: Include the name, title, affiliation, and contact email for all individuals on the project team. Identify who will lead the project, i.e., who will be responsible for budget and deliverables.
  • Title: Please provide a brief title for your proposed event (not to exceed 50 characters).
  • Project summary/abstract: Please provide a brief summary for the proposed event that includes a statement about how the award will support the goals of AG2PI (up to 500 characters)
  • PDF upload: complete the Word template (described below) and save as a PDF, then upload at the bottom of the application.

Word template (proposal) contents:

This must be saved as a PDF and uploaded to the Smartsheet application. Do not adjust the font (12pt, Times New Roman) or margin settings (1", all sides).

  1. Project description (no more than two pages) containing the following components:
    1. Objectives/aims with plans for achieving each objective/aim (0.5 pages)
    2. Describe how the event will further the aims of the AG2PI and the basis for evaluating the success of the event (0.5 pages)
    3. Expected outcomes and deliverables (0.5 pages)
    4. Qualifications of the project team (1-2 sentences)
    5. Proposal timeline (1-2 sentences)
    6. Description of how the event will engage the AG2P scientific communities and underrepresented groups (1-2 sentences)
  2. Data management plan agreement
  3. Budget and budget justification (please follow USDA guidelines for allowable expenses). The budget justification detail should follow the same order as the budget.
  4. OPTIONAL: Letters of collaboration (these are required for consultants or collaborators who have agreed to render services). If you are including collaborators or consultants in your proposal, the individual(s) with whom you are collaborating must provide you with a letter that documents the collaboration. This letter must be included in your single document upload with your application. The letter must be written on letterhead of the institution with which the collaborator is affiliated and signed by the collaborator.

    The letter should clearly state:

    1. The full name of the collaborator and his/her institution.
    2. A description of the collaborator's expected role in the research.
    3. A brief statement which describes the experience and expertise of collaborator in his/her field.
    4. A statement acknowledging that facilities and equipment are available to the collaborator.
    5. Acknowledgement of any prior or on-going collaboration with any members of the scientific team on the plan.

    Application form and instructions on how to format and electronically submit your application can be found here.


Review Criteria and Process

The rolling AG2PI Seed Funds are administered by the AG2PI Executive Board. The Board will manage a peer-review process for proposals, recommend select proposals for AG2PI support, and provide feedback to proposers. The processes of the Committee will abide by the AG2PI Conflict of Interest Management Plan.

AG2PI supports and encourages diversity in all members, volunteers and audiences, including full participation in programs, policy formulation, and decision-making. View our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statement here.


Timeline / Administration

Activity Date
Applications open November 15, 2021
Deadline to submit proposals Rolling and prior to April 1, 2023 or until all funds are committed
Target date for notification Within 30 days of applying
Project start date As written in application
Final reports due Within 90 days of completion of the activity
Outcomes assessment Following completion of each award

Previously Funded Proposals

Projects that have been funded through one of the regular award cycles can be found here; however, these projects are different in scope than what will be funded in this current award cycle. Awards made in this rolling award cycle are expected to be more limited in time and reach, unless the proposal is for a working group.

Previously Funded AG2PI Proposals


Contact Information

Potential applicants may contact AG2PI to learn more about the Seed Funding program and its community engagement efforts (Email: Nicole Scott at nmscott@iastate.edu). You may also send inquiries from your sponsored programs office to Nicole.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Why should I apply?

    Answer: There are many benefits to this seed grant award, beyond funding your project. First, it will promote community-building as well as promote your work to the community. Second, funded awards will help direct future USDA and other federal funding initiatives and investments. Third, grant awards will be listed on the AG2PI website and Twitter account in order to advertise the exceptional work being done in the AG2P community; thus, giving them visibility and presence in the greater professional community.

  2. How will these grants benefit the AG2P and greater community?

    Answer: The results of funded projects will be shared with the AG2P community via the AG2PI website as well as through white papers to the scientific community and federal agencies, including Congress. In this way, funded awards will help direct future USDA and other federal funding initiatives and investments. Furthermore, grant awards will be listed on the AG2PI website and Twitter account in order to advertise the exceptional work being done in the AG2P community; thus, giving them visibility and presence in the greater professional community.

  3. I'm a graduate student; can I apply?

    Answer: Yes, graduate students can apply. We recommend involving your research advisor and sponsored projects office in completing the application.

  4. Do I need to involve my office of sponsored projects?

    Answer: Not necessarily. Awards will be made as a subaward of the AG2PI grant, so it is a good idea to involve your sponsored projects office to help decide indirect costs (IDC) and how these will affect your budget request. If your proposal is selected for funding, the AG2PI team will work with you and your institution on the formal subaward agreement.

  5. I am currently working outside of the US. Am I eligible to apply for this seed grant?

    Answer: Yes, but not as a Principal Investigator. Seed grants may only be submitted by eligible U.S. institutions. Applications may include collaborations with international partners. Such applications may include subcontracts to international partners or other institutions and must clearly demonstrate benefits to the United States. Please visit this webpage for additional information: https://nifa.usda.gov/resource/afri-international-partnerships

  6. Do I need to include a letter of support or a letter of collaboration? What is the difference?

    Answer: If you are including collaborators or consultants in your proposal, the individual(s) with whom you are collaborating must provide you with a letter that documents the collaboration. This letter must be included in your single document upload with your application.

    A letter of support aims to increase enthusiasm for the project or to highlight the qualifications of the PI or co-PI. Letters of support typically come from key stakeholders such as a department chair or mentor. This letter should not be included in your proposal.

    A letter of collaboration documents a collaboration between a principle investigator (PI) and other entities whose contributions are significant to a proposal. This letter is a required component of your proposal. The purpose of this letter is to show the peer review panel that the collaborator can provide the needed expertise.

    Letters should not substitute for explaining a collaboration in your project plan. They are to confirm intended and described collaborators.

  7. Which IDC rate should I use in my budget?

    Answer: See Budget and budget justification section under submission guidelines for more details.

  8. What is an Indirect Cost (IDC)?

    Answer: An indirect cost is the percentage of the award paid directly to the university for administrative and other overhead costs.

  9. If I applied for one of the other AG2PI grant types, can I also apply for this grant?

    Answer: Lead PIs are limited to one proposal per funding cycle, per grant type (i.e., rolling, round 3 or working group). For example, if you applied for a Round 3 or working group grant, then you may also apply for a rolling grant. Each RFP has a different, specific focus so individuals may serve as lead PI to more than one proposal, but only one within each of the three types of grants per funding cycle.

  10. Will I receive feedback on my proposal if it isn't awarded any funds?

    Answer: Yes, all non-funded proposals will receive a short summary of reviewer's comments.

  11. Are there examples of successful proposals?

    Answer: Yes, please see section Previously Funded Proposals where some of the project narratives are linked to the project title.