About the Egg-Tech Prize
Several billion female layer chicks, those that become hens, are hatched each year to supply the world’s eggs. A similar number of male chicks are also produced but never make it to market. The male chicks cannot lay eggs and their poor growth and meat quality make them unsuitable for consumption. As there is no need for male chicks, they are culled once hatched. Male chick culling is a major animal welfare challenge and creates lost-opportunity costs for farmers.
As there is no way to determine the sex of an egg before it hatches, we launched this research initiative with Open Philanthropy to develop technology that determines a chick’s sex before it hatches.
If egg hatcheries had technology that determined the egg’s sex on the day it is laid, over 6 billion male eggs could be used for food, animal feed or vaccine production. Additionally, eggs are incubated for 21 days before they hatch. This technology could vastly reduce the cost and carbon footprint of incubating layer eggs, while freeing up space for incubation of female eggs – increasing the efficiency of production. Estimates suggest that preventing male chick culling would save the egg industry approximately $500 million from wasted eggs and labor.
- Am I eligible to apply?
FFAR welcomes applications from all domestic and international higher education institutions, non-profit and for-profit organizations and government-affiliated research agencies.
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to perform the proposed research as Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) may apply through their home institution or organization.
- How do I apply?
Full proposals must be submitted by the deadline date through FFAR’s online application Grant Management System. Applications submitted outside of this System will not be considered.
To start a new application, please click here.
If you are a new user, register for an account by clicking “Create Account” button located under the email address field on the left side of the home page. Once you log in, you may begin working on your application. Please be sure to save your work often by clicking on “Save and Finish Later.” To access a saved application, please do so through your Grant Management Account.
Only full proposals submitted by the deadline through FFAR’s Grant Management System will be accepted and considered eligible for evaluation. To be fair to all applicants, FFAR will not grant extensions to applicants who missed the deadlines posted in the Key Dates section.
Only applications submitted by the deadline through FFAR’s Grant Management System will be accepted and considered eligible for evaluation. To be fair to all our applicants, FFAR will not grant extensions to applicants who missed the deadlines posted in the Key Dates section.
- Do I need to provide matching funds?
Matching funds are optional for this funding opportunity. Successful applications will receive annual disbursements contingent upon meeting reporting requirements (see Post Award Management below). FFAR reserves the right to request additional information that may affect the final award amount.
A budget justification is required but a detailed, line-item budget will not be required for this funding opportunity. Applicants are encouraged to contact FFAR’s Grant Team to discuss any questions or concerns.
- What will this prize not support?
Proposals that involve gene-editing are not eligible for consideration under this funding opportunity.
- What is the review process?
Submitted applications undergo an internal review by FFAR staff to assess if the project is relevant to the RFA and demonstrates the potential to meet the evaluation criteria. Those applications deemed to have significant potential for advancing the program objectives will be evaluated by the Egg-Tech Prize Steering Committee. Based on their review, the Steering Committee may invite selected applicants to provide an overview of their technology and approach via an appropriate videoconferencing platform. Applicants must submit an application to be eligible for invitation to present to the Egg-Tech Prize Steering Committee.
All Egg-Tech Prize Steering Committee members and any external reviewers who may be invited to participate in the review process must agree and adhere to the terms outlined in FFAR’s Conflict of Interest Policy and Non-Disclosure Agreement. FFAR makes reasonable efforts to ensure that applications are not assigned to reviewers with a real or apparent conflict with the applicant, institution or project personnel. Reviewers with a conflict of interest are recused from evaluating or participating in the related discussions. Each stage of the review is conducted confidentially, and as such, FFAR and the Egg-Tech Prize Steering Committee are responsible for protecting the confidentiality of the contents of the applications.
- What is the evaluation criteria?
All applications will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness and compliance with the guidelines stated in this RFA. Full applications then will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
Day and potential to utilize male eggs (25 pts)
At minimum, the technology functions on or before day 8 of incubation. Higher scores for solutions with lower incubation times. Technologies that function pre-incubation are most preferred. Protocols involving short periods of incubation during egg storage (SPIDES) will be considered pre-incubation and given preference. Preference will be given to technologies that enable the use of male eggs in other applications.
Accuracy (20 pts)
At a minimum, the technology should function with 98% accuracy. Preference will be given to technologies that work with higher accuracies and with all chicken breeds/colors commonly used in commercial production.
Economic Feasibility (20 pts)
Score for this criterion will consider economic feasibility based on a cost-benefit analysis and business plan. Higher scores should be given for solutions that could be economically feasible, based on the analysis provided, should they be scaled.
Throughput and physical size (15 pts)
The technology must have potential for sexing at least 15,000 eggs per hour. If multiple units will be used in combination to achieve the desired throughput, only one unit needs to have been built to date, but all units needed to meet desired throughput must fit into existing hatchery structures, with reasonable and appropriate modifications. Higher scores should be given for solutions that, based upon the description of their physical size, number and throughput, can be integrated most efficiently into existing hatchery infrastructure.
Hatchability (15 pts)
At a minimum, the approach should not reduce hatching rate > 1.5% from baseline.
Speed of test results (5 pts)
The technology should take no longer than 30 min to provide test results if eggs are tested during incubation (allowable time for removal, testing and return to incubator)†. If eggs are tested prior to incubation (with or without SPIDES), results must be available within 48 hours of testing. Accurate tracking and identification of eggs must be demonstrated.
- Award Administration
Selection Notice: Following the full application review process, the principal investigator and the authorized organization representative listed on the project will be officially notified by email of the status of the application. If an application is selected for funding, the steering committee reserves the right to request additional or clarifying information for any reason deemed necessary. Potential grantees are free to accept or reject the Grant Agreement as offered.
Intent to Fund Notification: FFAR notifies applicants of their awards by email. The notice does not constitute an award or obligate funding from FFAR until there is a fully executed Grant Agreement. FFAR encourages applicants to review a sample Grant Agreement before applying to ensure they know the terms under which grants are offered.
Grant Terms and Conditions: FFAR expects applicants to have reviewed the Sample Grant Agreement before applying to ensure that the applicants are aware of the applicable terms under which the grant is offered. Successful applicants are strongly encouraged to sign the Grant Agreement as presented.
Requirement to Demonstrate Matching Funds: Matching funds are optional for this program. If the applicant provides matching funds, the applicant agrees to identify and certify matching funds annually before disbursement of award funds. The match share is intended to supplement, not supplant existing funding for the principal investigator (PI). The applicant will abide by FFAR’s Matching Funds Guidelines to meet FFAR’s matching requirements. To constitute a valid match, all matching funds on a FFAR grant must be expended during the grant period.
- Post-Award Management
Annual Reporting Requirements: The grantee must provide annual scientific and financial update progress reports. The annual reports should include activities performed under the prize, highlighting project accomplishments.
Final Report Requirements: Within 90 days of completing the project, the grantee shall provide a final project report. This report should address the project objectives outlined in the original grant application, describe any modifications to the project objectives and scope, describe the final project accomplishments, and include a final project accounting of all grant funds. Publication and data-sharing should be addressed as outlined in the RFA.
Scientific Integrity: FFAR strives to advance knowledge and the application of science to address challenges related to sustainable agriculture. FFAR’s ability to pursue its objective depends on the integrity of the funded science projects. All FFAR grants must be conducted with the highest standards of scientific integrity.
- Who do I contact for assistance?
For questions related to the online submission system, please contact FFAR’s Grant Management team at email@example.com.
For other questions related to the Egg-Tech Prize, please email tkurt@FoundationFAR.org. We only accept scientific or programmatic and grants inquiries by email.