This funding opportunity aims to build on existing strawberry research, including flavor research, to increase scientific understanding of premium flavors in strawberry and how flavorful strawberries can impact the controlled environment agriculture sector. Premium flavors, in this context, are novel flavors with potential commercial value that are largely absent in modern commercial varieties, not the enhancement of existing flavor varieties.
Eligible projects must identify genetic elements responsible for premium flavors, the chemical constituents responsible for those flavors, and environmental inputs that lead to the growing premium-flavored strawberries in controlled environment production systems.
Applicants from institutions of higher education, non-profit and for-profit organizations, government-affiliated researchers and domestic and international organizations are eligible for this opportunity. FFAR further highly encourages applications from Hispanic-serving institutions, 1890s Land Grant Institutions and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions.
According to Reich “Controlled environment agriculture could solve a myriad of food and agriculture challenges. This type of agriculture system can be housed in non-traditional spaces, including abandoned buildings, old warehouse and garages. As these spaces are often in or near urban areas, the foods grown there are closer to their intended consumers, reducing transportation costs and potential bringing new economic opportunities into communities.”
From a scientific standpoint, controlled environments offer unprecedented opportunities to improve nutritional content, flavor and crop quality. PIP leverages private-sector investments to develop crops specifically for controlled environment agriculture.
As the consortium is fully funded by FFAR and its participants, there is no matching funds requirement for this funding opportunity. However, if a for-profit institution is part of the proposal, the project must have contributions from that organization.
PIP is accepting pre-applications until November 10, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. EST. Approved pre-applications will receive an invitation on January 4, 2022, to submit a full application. Specific information about nominations, eligibility and the application process can be found on FFAR’s website.
Precision Indoor Plants Consortium
Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) is a public-private partnership created by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) to produce new flavorful, nutritious crops specially intended for indoor agriculture. By focusing on innovative science and technology, the consortium’s research efforts will increase our ability to produce crops that are high value, of consistent quality and desired by consumers. Ultimately, PIP can help food producers grow flavorful, nutritious food indoors.
FFAR’s initial $7.5 million investment is matched by the PIP participants for a total investment of $15 million to develop flavorful, nutritious crops for indoor agriculture. PIP’s participants include AeroFarms, BASF, Benson Hill, Fluence by OSRAM, GreenVenus and Priva.