Request for Research Proposals

Agriculture and Food Technologies Research Cluster

FedEx Institute of Technology

The Agriculture and Food Technologies Research Cluster of the University of Memphis is calling for proposals from faculty at the University of Memphis for interdisciplinary research pertaining to all aspects of agriculture and food technology research. The FedEx Institute of Technology will provide seed funding averaging approximately $10,000 per project. Proposals should be a maximum of 5 pages in length* (Word or PDF format, single spaced) and include the following sections:

  • justification
  • methodology
  • relevance to agriculture/food technology
  • project timeline
  • project outcomes: potential for patent applications, future grant proposals, collaborations, relationships with stakeholders or other scholarly outcomes, and broader impacts
  • budget*
  • references cited*
    (*references and budget are not counted in the page restriction)

Applicants are encouraged to clearly specify opportunities and mechanisms for collaboration and interactions with other researchers and stakeholders (including industry, producers, community and government agencies). Priority will be given to proposals that can:

  • directly benefit community, corporate and government partners;
  • clearly demonstrate potential for growing and supporting Agri-Food Tech research at the University of Memphis;
  • engage new disciplines/perspectives in the Cluster’s interdisciplinary research portfolio
  • lead to external research funding from federal agencies, foundations, and other research partners

Additional project requirements:

  • Project duration: Up to 1 year, with the possibility of a short no-cost extension (with approval from the Cluster Directors), if required to meet project goals.
  • Budget: A maximum of 2 weeks of PI/Co-PI summer salary support is allowed; 9-month faculty are not allowed to apply for academic year salary.
  • Faculty whose proposals are selected for funding will be designated as Agri-Food Tech Research Fellows of the FedEx Institute of Technology. They will be required to present results of their research at the Cluster’s meetings at the FedEx Institute of Technology.

Examples of research areas of interest are listed below. However, this list is not inclusive, and faculty are encouraged to propose interdisciplinary research in other areas not listed as long as relevance to Agriculture and Food Technologies Research can be demonstrated. Project suitability for these grants is ultimately at the discretion of the Research Cluster Directors.

  • Biology – Research plants/crops, animals, microbes and their interactions, as well as forestry, agriculture, bioproducts, biodiversity and sustainability.
  • Food Safety – Research in microbiology related to food pathogens within the entire food supply chain.
  • Chemistry – Fundamental and applied research on food contaminants, food processing, food manufacturing and packaging, agricultural inputs and analytical analyses.
  • Engineering Sciences – Fundamental and applied research to develop efficient high-tech tools for agricultural and food production.
  • Water Resources – Fundamental and applied research on water management.
  • Blockchain / Supply Chain / Logistics / Cyber Security – Research to improve efficiencies, understand and address vulnerabilities in the national and global food supply chains.
  • Business / Economics / Finance – Studies on economic impact and trading.
  • Law – Studies on the impact of new regulatory frameworks and legislative aspects of the global food supply chain and water rights for agricultural operations
  •  Nutrition – Fundamental and applied research to understand the complexities of nutrition and health.

Proposals must be received by April 5, 2019. Please submit proposals as email attachments addressed to: FedEx Institute of Technology at: fedex@memphis.edu. Those submitting proposals will be notified regardless of outcome in mid-April, 2019. For further information, including the relevance of proposed research to this RFP, please contact the cluster co-leaders: Dr. Duane McKenna at: dmckenna@memphis.edu and Dr. Pratik Banerjee at: pbnerjee@memphis.edu.