SNIP provides support for faculty-driven, interdisciplinary initiatives at the vanguard of agricultural and natural resources research.


The College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS) Office for Research and Graduate Education invites proposals for Strategic Networks and Initiatives Program (SNIP) grants to be awarded at three levels in 2023/2024. SNIP provides support for faculty-driven, interdisciplinary initiatives at the vanguard of agricultural and natural resources research. At all levels, funding will be awarded to collaborative interdisciplinary teams seeking to investigate focused research problems in pursuit of large-scale extramural grant opportunities

The goal of SNIP is to offer ambitious CAS faculty members the opportunity to explore novel research problems. The primary aims of the program are to help faculty to build a network of colleagues and form an area of strength in the college for transformative research. The three SNIP levels are tailored to assist teams at different points in the process of pursuing large-scale extramural grant opportunities.

SNIP provides funds for network-building activities and preliminary work that are typically during the discovery phase of a project and often not allowable on extramural grants, including (but not exclusively) exploring the potential of a research problem, engaging in team-building activities, and collecting preliminary data.

SNIP is intended to encourage faculty-driven ideas. However, we understand that sometimes it is hard to know what may or may not be competitive in the current funding landscape. With that in mind, we have compiled additional information as a part of this RFP to provide applicants overviews of college and federal agency priorities so that applicants may consider and frame their proposed initiative in the context of these identified challenges. Please visit the online repository for additional guidance on these identified priorities. Note that these topic areas are only provided to help generate ideas. Proposals across ALL topics will be considered equally.

Download 2023-24 SNIP RFP

The printable RFP includes proposal requirements for all levels of support, proposal review process, and reporting guidelines. See below for links to abbreviated versions of the proposal submission requirements for each level.


  1. For all levels, the PI must be a faculty member with an appointment in the College of Agricultural Sciences (tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure-track).
  2. For all levels, projects must seek to address a critical research need and opportunity beyond the scope of a single laboratory or investigator’s focused area of research. All proposed research projects must require the participation of interdisciplinary collaborators with complementary fields of expertise. All ideas for multidisciplinary topics are encouraged.
  3. For Level I grants, a plan for engaging multiple departments is required, but all team participants do not have to be identified in the proposal. The primary investigator (PI) must have a faculty research appointment in CAS.
  4. For Level II and Level III grants, teams must include at least three persons with faculty appointments and across different departments. Team members should be from at least two different departments in CAS. See specific proposal requirements below. Faculty from any college at Penn State may be included as participants; however, SNIP funds cannot be used to support any non-CAS personnel or students. The primary investigator (PI) must have a faculty appointment in CAS.
  5. For Level III grants, the PI must have a research appointment in CAS and be a lead on a Hatch project.

Two-Phase Application Process

Submit a short concept note for proposals (max 300 words) using the online submission portal in InfoReady. Concept notes may be submitted at any time after July 18, 2023, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until August 18, 2023. Concept notes submitted after this deadline will not be accepted as the pre-requisite for Levels II and III full proposals.

 Include the following in the note:

  • A brief summary of the research problem and why an interdisciplinary team is required to address it;
  • Expected outcomes and duration of the grant (within the limitations outlined in the summaries on the first page of this RFP).

Phase 2 Full Proposal Submission

Full proposals must be submitted through InfoReady before midnight on September 29, 2023, to the Office of Research and Graduate Education. The competition portal will be opened for full proposal submissions on August 21, 2023.

  • Guidelines for each level are provided within the RFP. Applicants are advised to adhere to the provided template for proposals as the evaluations are based on the questions provided for each level.
  • The Director of Research Development and Initiatives will set up a meeting with any team who submits a concept note to advise on the proposal development and alignment with the aims of the competition.

Submit Full Proposal 

(Reminder: SNIP Level I can submit a full proposal without a concept note; SNIP Levels II and III must have submitted a concept note prior to the August 18 deadline to be eligible for the full proposal)


Please email Dr. Gretta Tritch Roman (, Director of Research Development and Initiatives, for assistance with development of proposals and background information related to the program.

SNIP Grant Levels

View the specific proposal requirements for each grant level by clicking on the links below.

SNIP Level I

Launch Grants: Up to $10,000 for one year to support the initial development of an innovative research question and the formation of an interdisciplinary collaborative team required to address it.


Pursuit Grants: Up to $25,000 for two years to strengthen established interdisciplinary research initiatives to be competitive for large-scale extramural grant submissions.

In the 2023/2024 SNIP competition, Level I and II proposals focused on the topic of “applied evolution” will be considered as a­ part of a companion competition from additional allocated funds


Cohort Grants: Support for 3-5 new Ph.D. students for up to two years to provide established interdisciplinary research initiatives with the opportunity to build interactive graduate student-faculty teams who will pursue extramural funding.

Office for Research and Graduate Education


217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802

Office for Research and Graduate Education


217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802