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

Pursuit Grants provide support for strategic research initiatives that are competitive for large-scale extramural grants. Eligible interdisciplinary teams should be able to demonstrate ongoing research, clear research goals, and established partnerships. The funding could be used to collect preliminary data to strengthen the proposal(s) or for other activities aimed at submitting a proposal for significant extramural grants by the end of the SNIP grant term.


  • For all levels, the PI must be a faculty member with a research appointment in the College of Agricultural Sciences (tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure-track) and be a lead on a Hatch project.
  • 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 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.

Specific proposal requirements for Pursuit Grants

Concept notes for Level II proposals are required.


Submission Page

A. Title and Primary Investigator

a. Designate only one PI who will serve as the primary contact for the project. (see Eligibility requirements)

  1. Note: You may enter list of co-PIs and other participants in the InfoReady form (described below in section E).

B. Summary

(200 words maximum)

a. Summarize the established research initiative or collaborative project and the proposed plan to develop and submit a proposal for large-scale extramural funding.

C. Proposal Narrative

(3 pages maximum)

a. Description of the initiative and future directions:

  1. Provide a brief description of the initiative/team.
  2. State and explain the significance of the research with particular attention to how the research is transformative and addresses a critical research need with potential to be competitive for large-scale extramural funding.
  3. Describe past activities that shaped the interdisciplinary collaboration.\
  4. Describe the current and future research goals of the initiative/team.
  5. Describe the plan and the target program for external funding (include the following: agency, request for proposals, submission deadline).
  6. Describe the proposed activities that will support the submission of (a) proposal(s).
  7. Provide benchmarks that will be used to measure the progress of the project during the funding period.

b. College readiness

  1. What key strengths in the college will contribute to success?
  2. What gaps in the college create a need for the initiative?
  3. How will the proposed activities address the gaps and capitalize on the strengths?

c. Benefits to the College and University:

  1. What impact will the project have on the stature and visibility of the college and university?
  2. What will be the lasting effects of the network or initiative?

d. Sustainability plan:

  1. Provide a plan for the future of the initiative or the collaborative research with benchmarks beyond the funding period.

D. Budget and Justification

a. Include a budget outline (as a table) and detailed justification, providing a brief description and explanation of need for costs associated with Pursuit 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 (For all speakers, the University Presenter Agreement must be completed, regardless of monetary compensation. Please work with your department financial personnel to abide by the college’s Finance and Business Office guidance.)
  5. Purchased Services (e.g., AV for conferences, analysis of samples, etc.)

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 2 years.

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 two years of the award date.

D. Project team (individuals can participate in multiple proposals):

a. List all collaborators with their departmental affiliations and describe the role and responsibilities of each project team member, including their expertise and relevance to the research problem.

  1. The team must include at least three CAS members: the PI and two or more co-PIs, preferably all from different CAS departments. At a minimum, team members should represent at least two different departments in CAS. Extraordinary exceptions will be considered with a strong justification that three or more distinct disciplines from CAS are represented within the team.
  2. Faculty from any college at Penn State may be included as participants (be sure to note the budget restrictions and commitment requirements outlined in section D).

Proposal Review Process

  • Proposals will be evaluated by subject matter experts who will make funding recommendations to the CAS Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education.
  • Proposals from research teams established through SNIP grants are encouraged, but previous or current SNIP funding is not required.
  • Preference will be given to inter-departmental teams.
  • Evaluation criteria:
    • Presents an innovative approach to a clear and well-defined research problem.
    • Addresses a critical research need with potential to be competitive for large-scale extramural funding (funding required to robustly support multi-investigator projects).
    • Proposes research that is transformative with the need for interdisciplinary collaboration in order to pursue large-scale extramural funding rather than incremental (i.e., building only on one or two team members' research).
    • Demonstrates an already-formed robust interdisciplinary collaboration through past activities.
    • Identifies team members with the expertise required to address the proposed research problem.
    • Proposes activities that will realistically support the submission of a proposal for large-scale extramural grants.
      • Provides details for specific funding programs (including the agency, request for proposals deadlines, etc.).
    • Demonstrates the potential to have an impact on the stature and visibility of the College of Agricultural Sciences overall and faculty research in particular (i.e., building on existing strengths in the College of Agricultural Sciences or advancing new initiatives).
    • Includes adequate benchmarks for gauging progress in achieving the research goals.
    • Presents a convincing strategy for leveraging the initial support of this grant to stimulate a lasting impact through continued collaborations and longer-term funding (beyond the Level II funding period).

 Reporting Requirements

  • Interim reports on SNIP-funded Level II projects will be due at six-month intervals depending upon the duration of the proposed project.
  • A final report on SNIP-funded Level II projects will be due one month after the end of the performance period (depending on the term funded).
  • Submit reports through the InfoReady system. Report reminders and guidance will be provided.

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