Request for Proposals 2023

The goal of the special research initiative is to provide seed funding for new and innovative research projects, with the goal of leveraging the results into peer-reviewed external funding and subsequent refereed publications.

What's new for 2023?

  • PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: Proposals may be submitted for a project duration of 1 OR 2 years.
    • One year project guidance:
      • PIs submitting 1-year projects are eligible to submit a proposal the next year.
      • Funding for graduate assistants submitted on 1-year projects will not be considered for extension.
    • Two-year project guidance:
      • If your intention is to fund a graduate student for 2 years with SRI dollars, you must choose a 2-year project.
      • There will be no renewal option or extension of 2-year projects.
  • START DATE: Begin date on projects can be January 1, 2023 or July 1, 2023.
  • NEW TRACK 3: PRIORITY RESEARCH AREA: For 2023 SRI Submissions, the priority research area will be Sweet Potato Production – details below.

Proposal submission has closed.


General Guidance

  • Submission Deadline: September 15, 2022 at 11:59 PM CST
  • Eligibility: Proposals will only be considered if the PI has a MAFES appointment and if PI and all co-PIs have an active and approved Hatch multi-state or Hatch project at the time of proposal submission and through the duration of the project.
  • Amount:
    • Funding will be up to $50,000 per 12-month period.
    • Careful allocation among 6-month periods is still required and important. Unspent funds at the end of a fiscal year may NOT be rolled over to the next fiscal year, except in extenuating circumstances outside the PI’s control.
    • A 2-year proposal can be for $100,000* as long as it is split into no more than $50,000 per 12-month period. *See priority research area exception.
  • Proposal Tracks
    1. New Investigators (less than 5 years at MSU)
    2. Innovative, Critical Need, or New Direction Funding
    3. Priority Research Area – 2023: Sweet Potato Production
    • Research to support sweet potato production (plants, soil, bugs, harvesting, storage, marketing, etc.).
    • PIs submitting to this track can request up to $60,000 per year ($120,000 total if a 2-year project is selected). Proposals in this track will be reviewed and considered separately from the other tracks.
  • Leveraging Plan: All proposals are expected to include a leveraging plan for bigger, competitively-funded projects.
  • Self-Audit: A self-audit is required at the end of the award period. A final report must be submitted within 1 month of the project end date and failure to do so may impact future funding decisions. Send reports to Jamie Larson, Interim Assistant Director of MAFES at

Proposal Guidelines

Project narrative is limited to 5 pages (excluding the SRI routing form, figures/tables, literature cited, budget, and budget justification), should be single spaced, 12-point font, and must follow the format in this RFP.

  • Proposals must be submitted online at by 11:59 pm, September 15, 2022.
  • The proposal submission portal will request that you enter the following information in a web form:
    • PI contact information
    • Departmental affiliation
    • Rank
    • Proposal title
    • Abstract/Executive summary
    • Total Proposal Budget
    • Selection of 1- or 2-year project
    • Selection of project begin date of January 2023 or July 2023.
  • After these items are entered in the web form, you will be taken to a second page to upload a copy of the full proposal in PDF format. Include the proposal submission routing form signed by the PI, co-PIs, and appropriate Department Heads as the first page of the proposal. No other internal approval sheet is required. The proposal submission should be in pdf format. The order of the proposal submission should include:
    1. Proposal Submission Routing Form signed by the PI, co-PIs, and appropriate Department Heads
    2. Full proposal
    3. Budget excel file converted to a pdf.
  • After successful upload of proposal pdf, you will receive a confirmation screen.

Other Tips:

  • Do not include resumes or CV.
  • Budgets must be complete and include complete budget justification for all required fields.
  • If funds are to be distributed to more than one PI, complete a separate budget page for each PI, in addition to the total budget. Only the total budget will be entered into the web form, but the pdf of the full project proposal should include the total project budget and PI-specific budgets.
  • Each budget must indicate the proper multi-state or Hatch project number. If the multi-state or Hatch project is set to expire during the SRI project, an alternative Hatch project must be available to transfer funds.

BUDGET: Line Item notes:

  • ALL CATEGORIES: NO indirect costs (costs that are part of the MSU Indirect Cost Rate) may be included (administrative assistants, utilities, gas for vehicles, etc.)
  • SALARY: Salaries are limited to undergraduate students, graduate research assistants, post-doctoral associates, or temporary employees. Partial funding for soft-funded research associates, and soft-funded faculty will be considered in proportion to their time and effort allocation to the SRI project and require a project-related justification.
  • FRINGE BENEFITS: MAFES Administration will cover fringe benefits (including student insurance) and tuition costs and these should not be included in your budget.
    • Hatch-Multistate travel should be requested separately through the MAFES Hatch-Multistate Travel program, and not included in SRI proposals.
      • Reminder: Travel to meetings other than multistate meetings is specifically prohibited by NIFA on Hatch-Multistate funds.
    • Travel for data collection, observation or action directly supporting the SRI research is allowed on both Hatch and Hatch-Multistate projects.
    • NO foreign travel
    • NO training
    • NO maintenance contracts
  • EQUIPMENT: Not allowed
  • COST-SHARE: SRI funds, because they are federal, cannot be used as match/cost-share.

Review Criteria

Proposals will be screened for compliance with stated eligibility criteria, budget criteria, and adherence to track priorities. Non-compliant proposals will be returned without review.

All other proposals will be sent for internal merit review, including the following conditions:

  • Are the goals clearly stated and achievable within the timeline and budget?
  • Are the approaches clearly described?
  • Is the experimental design robust and likely to produce reliable knowledge?
  • Is there a clear path to peer-review, competitive funding and peer-reviewed publications?
  • What is the potential impact of the proposed project?
  • Does the form and format of the application match the level of presentation expected at the federal level?