Burning Questions Research Planning Grants Program

Encouraging academic researchers to pursue burning questions.

Research planning grants key information

  • This program supports the planning of research work and the advancement of recently launched projects related to a set of "Burning Questions" we have collected from leaders of NGOs trying to understand and find solutions to industrial food animal production’s negative impacts, particularly concerning developing countries. For example:
    • Hire graduate students to assist with preliminary literature surveys
    • For teaching buyouts to focus on planning
    • Undertake pilot studies (e.g. studies that help produce a ‘proof of concept’) that will lead to full studies
    • Pay a coordinator to assemble a multi-disciplinary team for a large research project (e.g. identify and contact possible members for the team)
  • The purpose of these grants is to encourage acedmics to consider developing projects to study “burning questions” that look interesting to them, to do some exploratory work relevant to these questions. The grants are also aimed at helping researchers who have recently launched projects that are highly relevant to these questions so that these projects can be strengthened and speeded up. Applicants must be prepared to take steps to move their plans forward after the end of the award period if the exploratory work funded by the planning grants shows promise.
  • Applicants (or the PI/lead member of a team with 2-4 persons) must be employed by universities/ academic research institutions that can receive these grants. And they must hold PhD (or equivalent) degree.
  • The institution that receives a grant need not be located in the U.S., but it should be equivalent to a U.S. not-for-profit tax-exempt organization, and be able to accept grants in U.S. dollars.
  • Each grant’s minimum is US $5,000, maximum is $15,000. University overhead charge is capped at 10% of the grant.
  • Grant period is six months.
  • Call For Application opens once a year, usually around early April.

Why offer these grants?

  • While there are certainly academic researchers focused on issues highly relevant to the “burning questions”, they are few in number. We believe that if funds are made available for exploratory work on these issues, there are probably more researchers who will find these issues of interest.
  • Furthermore, academic researchers often face the challenge of insufficient time to plan, to seek collaborators, to come up with a proof of concept required by major grantors. Many excellent ideas are not developed and leads not followed up simply because researchers do not have the time to focus on them or do not have the time and funds to carry out some preliminary work.

Grant recipients

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