Center for Digital Agriculture

Announcement of Seed Funding Opportunities

The Illinois Center for Digital Agriculture is pleased to announce a request for seed funding proposals. Seed funding awards up to $50k for one year will be made for new collaborations in at least one of the four theme areas in the Center for Digital Agriculture. The proposal submission deadline is Friday, April 5, 2019 by 11:59pm CDT. Decisions are expected to be announced on May 1, 2019.

The Center for Digital Agriculture will leverage the strong tradition of team building for large long-term interdisciplinary research and education projects at Illinois. Projects should represent new interdisciplinary collaborations, including a minimum of two PIs from different domain areas. Examples of domain areas include agriculture, environmental sciences, engineering, statistics and computer science. Proposals must include practical plans to initiate long-term collaborations and externally funded activities under the Center for Digital Agriculture, preferably identifying one or more specific future funding opportunities. Awards will be made subject to the availability of funds and review panel recommendations.

Theme Areas:

  • Automation
  • Data
  • Animals and Crops
  • People in Agriculture

Review Criteria:

Competitive proposals will include at a minimum 2 Illinois PIs in a well-defined interdisciplinary activity relating to at least one of the four theme areas in the Center for Digital Agriculture.


  • Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field?
  • Is the project interdisciplinary and relevant to the Center for Digital Agriculture and University of Illinois campus goals?
  • Is there strong scientific promise for the project?
  • If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, or clinical practice be improved?


  • Are the PIs and collaborators well suited to the project?
  • Does the project include PIs from different domain areas? If these PIs have been working together already, is this a new collaborative direction for them rather than a continuation of an existing project with existing funding?
  • Does the project include plans for continued collaboration with the Center for Digital Agriculture?
  • Does the project have potential to shift current research paradigms in the area of Digital Agriculture?
  • Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense?

Approach and Future Potential

  • Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analysis well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the scientific aims of the project?
  • Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?
  • How strong are the plans to generate ongoing external funding for the collaboration from Federal Agencies, Foundations, and/or Industry via the Center?


  • Does the project demonstrate a compelling need for Center for Digital Agriculture funding and involvement?

View the full CFP and apply on EasyChair.

Learn more about the seed funding opportunity and meet potential project collaborators at the Center for Digital Agriculture Faculty and Staff Workshop on March 13 & 14, 2019 at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Click here to register for all or part of this event.

If you’re unable to attend but want to stay up to date with the latest developments and seed funding opportunities, please join our Digital Ag email membership list.