Strategic Seed Grants for Facilities & Equipment for CALS/AES Faculty with Existing Hatch and Multistate Projects


  • Application deadline: Oct 13, 2023 (upload by 11:59 PM that day)
  • Budget per award: $5,000-$150,000 (if your need is outside this range, please enquire with
  • List of awards from 2022
  • List of awards from 2023

Background: What is a Hatch-funded Project?

The ISU Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) has addressed immediate and long-term needs of Iowans for more than 115 years. Established at Iowa State under the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) in 1888 (one year after the Hatch Act was enacted), the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station fulfilled a Congressional charge for land-grant universities to conduct agricultural research in response to the needs its citizens. AES/Hatch project research activities are broad and include research on all aspects of agriculture, including soil and water conservation and use; plant and animal production, protection, and health; processing, distribution, safety, marketing, and utilization of food and agricultural products; forestry, including range management and range products; multiple uses of forest rangelands, and urban forestry; aquaculture; home economics and family life; human nutrition; rural and community development; sustainable agriculture; molecular biology; and biotechnology. Research may be conducted on problems of local, state, regional, or national concern. Where projects span institutions, the projects are supported by Multistate Research Funds. The AES is a vital research program involving hundreds of people, hundreds of partners, and connections to extension reaching Iowans in every county.  

Hatch and Multistate funds are allocated to the AES by USDA/NIFA, and are used by CALS in a variety of ways, but primarily to fund salaries of faculty researchers in the college. Appropriate use of these public dollars must be documented through the initiation of Hatch Projects and annual reports. Hatch projects are initiated by faculty in several ways, peer-reviewed by faculty, approved by the AES Associate Director, and submitted to USDA for approval for up to five years. Only faculty with active Hatch or Multistate projects that are up-to-date with respect to reporting can apply for this seed grant opportunity.

Seed Grant Program

The AES invites proposals to advance research and research capacity through investing in equipment and/or supporting infrastructures for existing Hatch/Multistate Projects. Proposals should describe how the equipment or infrastructure investments are anticipated to further the aims of the existing AES project and describe whether equipment or infrastructure improvements would expand the scope of the project and, if so, in what way. Any potential for the use of proposed equipment or infrastructure to enable the work that could serve as the basis for new outside funds should also be described, with links to specific calls noted in the project description.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the potential to expand the scope of existing projects, alignment to strategic initiatives, potential to facilitate team-based initiatives, and potential use for developing or enabling future requests for funding. Proposals that enable multiple Hatch Projects are especially encouraged (a list of Hatch projects currently active can be accessed here). Leveraging the funds requested with additional funds from project partners, associated units, and others is both allowed and encouraged. For larger-scale equipment, partnership with facilities on campus (e.g., Office of Biotechnology) is encouraged.


Before applying, consult with your department chair on your intent to submit a proposal. 

Proposal format must be set to 1 inch margin on all sides using a 12 point, Times New Roman font, and include the following components:

  • Cover page:
    • Title: Provide a brief title for your proposed use of funds (not to exceed 50 characters, including spaces).
    • Personnel: List names and titles of all personnel associated with the request for funding. Identify who will lead the project, who will be responsible for administering the award budget and reporting, and who will be the primary users of the equipment/infrastructure to be funded.
    • Project Summary/Abstract: Provide a brief summary for the proposed project (up to 500 words, including spaces)
  • Project Description (no more than two pages) containing the following components:
    • Describe how equipment or infrastructure will be used to further the aims of the existing Hatch/Multistate Project
    • Describe expected outcomes and use of the equipment/infrastructure
    • Project implementation timeline
  • Budget and Budget Justification 
    • State the amount you are requesting. Provide breakdown of costs if applicable and provide a justification for the equipment/infrastructure needed. Outline whether and how you will leverage matching funds. If so, include a letter of support from the source of the matching funds you plan to leverage.
    • Service contracts cannot be considered for funding through this opportunity. If any equipment you are purchasing requires a service contract, outline how you will manage those costs.
    • Funding for personnel or expendable supplies is not allowed.
  • Bibliography/References Cited
  • Copy of email from your chair demonstrating their support for proposed use of funds. If your Hatch/Multistate project is managed by a center, an email from the center director should instead be included.
  • USDA Conflict of Interest (COI) List for each PI/CoPI, limited to faculty, staff, and students currently at Iowa State University. This will limit COI issues during the review process. usda_conflict_of_interest.doc

Submit your application as a single PDF File via the AES Seed Grant Smartsheet Submission Form. Please use the following naming convention for your submitted file: PILastName_PIFirstName_AES_2023.

Smartsheet Form Required Fields

  • Contact Information: Include the name, department affiliation, and contact email for PI
  • Title of this proposal
  • Keywords: Please provide up to five keywords for your proposal. This will assist with identifying qualified reviewers for your application
  • AES Project: Title and Number.
  • PDF upload per naming convention above

Review Criteria and Process

The Associate Dean for Research and Discovery (ADRD) will lead the Seed Grant Review Committee. The Committee will consist of ISU personnel who are not members of any projects in competition for seed grant awards. The Committee will manage the review process for the seed grants and make recommendations for awards to the ADRD.

Note well: Use of funds for some equipment may require a USDA prior approval step, so following the review any recommendations for funding may involve follow-up for specific information required for the formal approval process.

Report and Outcomes

Awardees are expected to send a notification of equipment/infrastructure installation within 30 days of successful completion to aes_research@iastate.eduAwardees will also include a brief report on the outcomes and impact of their award as a part of annual Hatch/Multistate reporting via the NIFA results module.


Call for Proposals released:        Sept 7, 2023

Deadline to Submit Proposals:   Oct 13, 2023

Notifications of Award:               Nov 3, 2023

Deadline for Ordering:                May 1, 2024

Installment Notice:                     Within 30 days of completion