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.

Launch Grants will provide support for the initial development of an innovative research question and the formation of an interdisciplinary collaborative team required to address it. Funds will be awarded to support team-building activities aiming to establish research trajectory, refining research goals and objectives, promoting networks across departments in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the University, defining leadership, structuring the collaboration, and identifying potential extramural funding sources. The activities could include group meetings, seminar series, small workshops, grant writing workshops, and others. The majority of SNIP grants awarded in FY 2020/2021 will be Launch Grants.

Download the 2020-21 SNIP RFP

Eligibility

  • 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.
  • 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 appointment in CAS.
  • For the current cycle, Level I SNIP grants can also be expanded to initiate collaborations with investigators from other colleges at Penn State. Cross-college collaborations require written support and prior approval for the cost share (if funds are necessary for supporting non-CAS personnel) from the associate dean for research of the collaborating unit. Applicants are encouraged to initiate these discussions well in advance of the full proposal submission deadline.
    • Preliminary prior approval for this match has been granted by the College of Information Sciences and Technology (Prasenjit Mitra, Associate Dean for Research) for Level I match.

Specific proposal requirements for Launch Grants 

Concept notes for Level I Launch Grants are strongly encouraged

PROPOSALS MUST BE SUBMITTED AS A SINGLE PDF AND FOLLOW THE FORMAT BELOW

A. Title, Thematic Area, Primary Investigator

a. Designate only one PI who will serve as the primary contact for the project (PI must be a faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences).

B. Summary (200 words maximum)

a. Summarize the research problem and the proposed activities aiming to build the team and/or the collaborative network.

C. Proposal Narrative

a. Refining the Problem

  1. State the research problem and the significance of the work for the future of agricultural and natural resources research.
  2. Describe the proposed activities that will help to formulate the research problem more clearly as an initiative and position it as an area of strength in the college.

b. Plan for Building the Team

  1. Why does this problem require the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team to address it?
  2. What are the proposed team-building activities that will promote networking across departments in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and (if applicable) across colleges at Penn State?
  3. Which disciplines do you anticipate being integral to the initiative and how do you propose to engage current and new participants?
  4. Describe the proposed structure of the initiative's leadership and collaboration.

c. Sustainability Plan

  1. Provide benchmarks that will be used to identify the progress in launching the initiative during the funding period.
  2. Provide a plan for continued collaboration including, and when appropriate, how the proposed activities would lead to a Level II proposal.

D. Budget and Justification

a. Include a detailed budget justification, providing a brief description and explanation of need for costs associated with Launch Grant activities. Use the following budget sections as a guide:

  1. Personnel (fringe benefits ARE REQUIRED in personnel costs)
  2. Travel (for invited guests)
  3. Meeting expenses and meals
  4. Honoraria (Honorarium payments are limited by the University to $1,000 or less. If payment to a visiting faculty member or other individual for speaking will exceed $1,000, payment can still be made, but must be identified as a Personal/Professional Service, and the University Scholar Agreement must be completed.)
  5. Purchased Services (e.g. AV for conferences, analysis of samples)
  6. Collaborating college commitment if applicable (e.g. all non-CAS personnel, research expenditures in non-CAS labs)

b. All other project costs typically allowed by federal extramural sponsors are allowed in this program.

c. SNIP funds cannot be used for:

  1. Faculty salaries (including supplemental) or standing appointment salaries
  2. Travel to professional meetings
  3. Support of personnel NOT in the College of Agricultural Sciences

d. Budgets can be constructed for a maximum of 1 year.

e. Please note that submissions to this internal competition do not require the budget to be created through the College's Grants and Contracts Office.

f. Funds from this program must be expended within one year of the award date.

E. Letter of Commitment for Cross-College Teams (if applicable)

a. Proposals with cross-college collaborations must provide a letter of commitment from the unit's Associate Dean of Research, confirming their unit's support.

b. Preliminary prior approval for match has been granted for collaborations with faculty in the College of Information Sciences and Technology.

How to Submit a Proposal

SUBMIT A CONCEPT NOTE

Submit a short concept note for proposals (max 300 words) using the online submission portal linked above by September 4, 2020

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).

SUBMIT A FULL PROPOSAL

Full proposals must be submitted as a unified PDF by 5:00 pm on September 30, 2020, to the Office of Research and Graduate Education using the online submission portal linked above.

Proposal Review Process

  • Proposals will be evaluated by program administrators within the CAS Office for Research and Graduate Education. Proposals that engage faculty in other colleges will be evaluated by program administrators in coordination with appropriate administrators from the collaborating college(s).
  • Evaluation criteria:
    • Demonstrates the potential for developing an advanced agricultural and natural resources research question.
    • Presents a convincing argument for the requirement of an interdisciplinary team to address the research problem.
    • Outlines specific activities to achieve the following:
      • formulate the research problem more clearly as an initiative (working group meetings, workshops, etc.);
      • promote networking across departments in the College of Agricultural Sciences (may include multi-disciplinary seminars, symposia, etc.) beyond one or two related disciplines.
    • Identifies specific disciplines needed for the collaboration and provides plans for targeting and engaging faculty in the activities.
    • Outlines specific benchmarks to gauge progress in launching the initiative during the one-year funding period.
    • Includes plans for continuing the collaboration beyond the Level I funding and, if appropriate, how the proposed activities would lead to a Level II proposal or potential extramural funding sources.

Reporting Requirements

  • Interim report will be due in May 31, 2021.
  • A final report on SNIP-funded Level I projects will be due November 30, 2021.
  • Submit report as a PDF to the Office of Research and Graduate Education (agresearch@psu.edu). Report templates will be provided.

Office for Research and Graduate Education

Address

217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802

Office for Research and Graduate Education

Address

217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802