Grants Management Team
Supporting the Following Grants
- University of Minnesota uses AI for sex identification
- Orbem Ai develops technology to scan and classify eggs
- Microscale Devices LLC uses mapping technology
- KU Leuven’s gender-specific volatile detection grant
- USDA-ARS’ fiber optics and machine learning project
- SensIT Ventures, Inc.’s microchip chemical sensors
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 the Open Philanthropy Project to develop technology 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 approximate $500 million from wasted eggs and labor.
- Am I eligible to apply?
Any domestic or international public or private institution, consortium, non-profit organization, for-profit company, tribal government entity or any combination of the above is eligible to apply.
Participation in Phase II of the competition does not require that a research team apply for or receive an award in Phase I. Phase II will be open to all Research Team(s) regardless of previous participation or funding in Phase I of the Egg-Tech Prize.
- How do I apply?
Egg-Tech Prize applications must be completed and submitted through FFAR’s Online Grant Management System.
Only applications submitted through this portal will be considered eligible for evaluation. We will not accept applications submitted by any other medium. There is a two-hour grace period for all deadlines. Applications that are not submitted by the deadline or within the grace period will not be accepted. To be fair to all applicants, we cannot grant an extension to applicants who missed the deadlines or accept late applications.
- Do I need to provide matching funds?
No, matching funds have been secured from Open Philanthropy Project.
- What is the review process?
Submitted full applications will undergo review using a two-stage peer review process: (1) Internal review and (2) Egg-Tech Prize Steering Committee review
In the first stage, applications will be evaluated by FFAR staff using the application review criteria posted in RFA.
Egg-Tech Prize Steering Committee Review
Applications that meet the minimum criteria will be evaluated by the Egg-Tech Prize Steering Committee based on the review criteria and comparisons with other applications from the same cycle.
Full applications will be evaluated based on scored review criteria and unscored secondary review criteria. Reviewers will evaluate and score each application according to the primary criteria and subsequently assign a global score that reflects an overall assessment of the application. The overall assessment will be informed by the average score global score across reviewers but will also reflect the reviewers’ overall impression of the application and comparison to other applications. Evaluation of the scientific merit of each application is within the sole discretion of the reviewers and they may raise additional factors to consider that are not explicitly covered in the Phase II criteria below.
All reviewers are required to read and acknowledge acceptance of FFAR’s Conflict of Interest Policy and Non-Disclosure Agreement. Reviewers with a conflict of interests are recused from evaluating or participating in the discussions of applications with which they have a conflict.
- What is the Egg-Tech Prize Phase II Criteria?
The Egg-Tech Prize Phase II criteria forms the basis for the merit-based review, outlined above.
Day and potential to utilize male eggs (up to 25 points).
Minimum: Functions on or before day 8 of incubation. Preference for solutions with reduced incubation time with pre-incubation most preferred. Protocols involving short periods of incubation during egg storage (SPIODES) will be considered preincubation and given preference. Preference will be given to technologies that enable the use of male eggs in other applications.
Accuracy (up to 20 points).
Minimum: 98 percent accuracy. Preference will be given to technologies that work with all chicken breeds/colors commonly used in commercial production.
Economic Feasibility (up to 20 points).
Score for this criterion will consider economic feasibility based on a cost-benefit analysis and business plan that should include:
- Capital costs incurred by technology developer, per hatchery
- Capital investment for equipment/structure modification by hatchery
- Predicted annual maintenance costs
- Predicted annual consumables costs
- Predicted personnel training and labor requirements (hours)
- Expected utilities requirements of technology
- Potential revenue models
- Lease, subscription, sales, other.
- Other revenue streams for developer
Predicted revenues gained for hatchery in diverting eggs, energy savings, labor, cost-savings from not feeding male chicks (depending on country), etc.
Throughput and physical size (up to 15 points)
Potential for sexing at least 15,000 eggs per hour (more preferred). If multiple units will be used in combination to achieve the desired throughput, only one demonstration unit will be required but all units needed to meet the desired throughput must fit into existing hatchery structures, with reasonable and appropriate modifications.
Hatchability (up to 15 points)
Minimum: Does not reduce hatching rate by more than 1.5 percent from baseline.
Speed of test results (up to 5 points)
Results returned in less than 30 min 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.
†Longer times until test result will require placing eggs back into the incubator, in which case they must be removed again for sorting.
Key Dates & Important Information
The Egg-Tech Prize is divided into two distinct phases.
Phase I: Seed Funding
Phase I provided initial funding to six winners to develop the necessary technology to compete for the Prize.
Contestants do not need to participate in Phase I of the competition to apply for or receive an award in Phase II.
Phase II: Prize Competition
In Phase II, contestants will develop and validate a working prototype that meets the Phase II criteria.
- Number of Anticipated Awards: 1
- Award Amount: Up to $3.7 million
- Proposal Deadline: We anticipate accepting Phase II submissions in early 2021.