A group of individuals stand on a farm next to some equipment

As part of the mission and vision of the FSRC, we will be offering competitive internal funding awards each year. Requests for proposals will continually focus on inter- and transdisciplinary research on food systems in Vermont and the Northeast region. We encourage researchers from all UVM Colleges, Departments, Centers, and Institutes to apply and are especially interested in collaborative projects with a clear emphasis on impacting Vermont and the Northeast.

The 2022 requests for proposals fit three distinct research needs in the state and region. Information on each RFP are below. Please note these awards are for UVM internal application only. For more information, read out Dear Colleague Letter. Please checkout our FAQ page if you have questions or concerns.

Open now: Measuring Food System Sustainability

The Food Systems Research Center (FSRC) is announcing a request for proposals to measure, assess, and test a framework for food system sustainability in the Northeast U.S.  The FSRC anticipates funding up to five proposals, for up to three years each, with a maximum budget of $600,000 per team, inclusive of the costs of a two year post-doctorate fellow.  Community partners are required to ensure the work will contribute to the needs of Northeast stakeholders and is grounded in the lived experiences of those in the food system. Proposals are welcome from any team that was successfully funded under the Planning Grant for Measuring Food System Sustainability (due October 20, 2022).  The FSRC anticipates funding 5 proposals, with a maximum budget for each proposal of $600,000 each over three years (a total of up to $3,000,000 is expected to be allocated for all funded projects over the next three years).  These project expenses include the cost of a post-doctoral fellow for two years for each team, which will be hired by the PI and their teams with the FSRC providing minimal administrative support as needed.  Hiring announcement for post-doctorates is expected for the Summer of 2023, with anticipated start dates for post-doctorates in the Fall 2023/Winter 2024. Please read the full proposal. If you have questions you can submit them here and we will regularly update the document with answers.

APPLY HERE

Closed: Planning grants for measuring food system sustainability

This application is closed.

Sustainabiliy Metrics Planning Grants are now open! The FSRC strives to develop assessment tools to understand and track regional food system sustainability, to benchmark the existing sustainability of food systems and to assess future food systems over time. In anticipation of funding longer-term proposals to collect sustainability data, work with community partners, and begin to benchmark the sustainability of different food systems in the Northeast US, the FSRC will fund planning grants to enable team and project proposal development in collaboration with community partners.

Proposals are welcome from across all UVM Departments, College, Centers, and Institutes. We invite proposals across all disciplines from bench to applied sciences, humanities, arts, and medicine, and require those that emphasize inter- and transdisciplinary research utilizing a systems approach to assess food system sustainability.  Planning proposals are primarily for the purpose of enabling teams to develop and solidify, and to write longer-term grant proposals to assess food system sustainability over the next several years.  The FSRC anticipates funding 7-10 proposals, with a maximum budget for each proposal of $50,000 each; total funding of $250,000- $300,000 is expected to be allocated to all funded projects.

Project proposals should utilize the existing FSRC sustainability framework as a starting place for their work, with projects likely to build and test the framework and its components in their proposals. Teams are expected to address at least three of the five dimensions of the sustainability framework, with priority given to teams that address all five dimensions in their proposal.  Project proposals must also include at least one community partner (non-profit, Tribal, industry, farmer/farm, government agency, etc.) as evidenced by a letter of support, and/or funding allocated to the partner for their time investment and expertise.  Additional information about the larger sustainability metrics grants is provided at the end of this RFP to enable team planning.

View the full RFP and apply on InfoReady.

View the Sustainability Indicator Framework.

Checkout out FAQ and answers on the call. If you still have questions please reach out to Chris Skinner.

Our larger Sustainability Metrics RFP call will be out soon! Please check back here for more info.


 

Closed: Genetic, environment and management effects on the nutrition of culturally, historically and economically important foods of the Northeast

The genetic traits of a crop or animal, the environment in which the crop or animal exists, and the ways in which crop and animal systems are managed are critical for many components of animal and crop productivity.  Furthermore, the genetics, environment, and management (GEM) of a system can interact in unique ways to affect crop and animal outcomes.  Growing evidence also suggests that GEM interactions may affect the nutrients found in a crop or animal, and have a direct link to human nutrition.  For example, there is evidence that milk resulting from grass-based dairy production, compared to grain-based production systems, have higher levels of essential fatty acids.

Linking GEM interactions from lab to farm to plate is fundamentally a food systems challenge requiring inter- and transdisciplinary research.  The USDA ARS currently manages a large database—Food Data Central—that provides data and information about the nutritional profiles of foods.  In 2020, the Agency announced a new distinct data type within Food Data Central, Experimental Foods, which contains nutritional information about “foods produced, acquired or studied under unique conditions, such as alternative management systems, experimental genotypes, or research/analytical protocols”.  This data will allow further understanding of how a range of factors, including GEM interactions, may affect nutritional profiles of foods, as well as the sustainability of food systems.

The Northeast includes a variety of examples of unique GEM interactions, which may affect the nutrients found in crops and animals.  Small and medium farms and food producers often utilize unique alternative management or production systems, rely on culturally or historically important traits, seeds or breeds,  incorporate manure-based fertilizers in production, and invoke terroir into their product profiles.  As such, Vermont and New England’s small and medium farm and food producers may enable further understanding of how these characteristics affect the nutrients found in food.

The FSRC anticipates funding multiple proposals, totaling up to $250,000, to explore GEM interactions in small and medium farm and food processor products.  Proposals that consider GEM interactions in crops, animals or foods that are native to the region, provide cultural or historical importance to Indigenous, New American, or underserved communities, or are of critical economic importance to the region’s food systems are especially encouraged.  Proposals may request funding for new experimental research and data collection or add nutritional composition analysis to existing research efforts to assess GEM interactions in current studies.  It is anticipated third party vendors would conduct the nutritional composition analysis of foods resulting from these experiments, and use of funds in this way is appropriate.

This application has closed.

Closed: Equipment to support food systems research

Food systems research involves many disciplines and methodological approaches from basic to applied research.  Equipment is critical for conducting food systems research of all types and necessary to achieve high-quality research outcomes.  Collaborative research teams often share equipment, making efficient use of equipment for the greatest number of people and projects. The FSRC anticipates funding proposals for shared equipment relevant to food systems research at UVM. These applications are open to UVM faculty and/or staff.  Applicants will be encouraged to consider how the equipment addresses the mission and vision of the FSRC, how it will be shared across one or more teams, departments or colleges and a plan for doing so, and any additional maintenance or servicing costs in the future. The FSRC anticipates funding equipment requests of approximately $325,000.

This application has closed.