2020 Research Innovation Fund (RIF) Request for Proposals

Revised – March 30th, 2020

Cornell University, with outstanding faculty, staff, and students in agriculture and life sciences, social science and business, computing and information science, engineering, and veterinary medicine are exceptionally well-positioned to advance the concepts and tools of digital agriculture. To foster the collaborations needed for such endeavors, and to catalyze the development of digital agriculture tools for New York and regions beyond, CIDA seeks proposals for projects that will advance digital agriculture. When awarded, these seed grants are intended to enable the PIs to compete for other sources of funding.

Requirements for funding are:

  • Projects supported by CIDA’s Research Innovation Fund must involve at least 2 faculty sponsors/mentors from different colleges and projects must be consistent with CIDA’s mission. Single-PI proposals are not allowed.
  • PIs from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of Computing and Information Science, the Dyson School, and the College of Veterinary Medicine are eligible to participate.
  • Projects should represent new research streams and/or new collaborations.
  • Investigators must indicate how the project and associated activities will support postdoctoral training, graduate and/or undergraduate education.
  • Recipients of CIDA funding agree to put the CIDA byline on all publications and presentations related to the funded research.
  • Recipients of CIDA funding agree to submit annual /final reports.
  • Graduate students, postdocs and faculty who receive CIDA funding agree to present their findings in the CIDA-sponsored seminar series, retreats, and/or workshops, and to contribute to other CIDA events and activities where possible.

There are three (3) categories of funding available:

1. Summer stipend for a graduate student ($9750 per) – Graduate Student application, Primary Faculty mentor application, Secondary Faculty mentor application

2. Summer stipend for an undergraduate student ($6750 per) – Undergraduate Student application, Primary Faculty mentor application, Secondary Faculty mentor application

Stipulations for Student Summer stipends – Cornell graduate and undergraduate students currently enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Computing and Information Science, or the Dyson School are eligible to participate. Students interested in applying for the summer stipend must have an established relationship with at least two Cornell faculty members in different colleges [among College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Computing and Information Science, the Dyson School, or the College of Veterinary Medicine] who agree to serve as mentors of their research.

3. Faculty-led research (~$50,000 – $75,000/yr and up to 2 years per award) – Download Questions


  • Lead PIs will upload one (1) PDF Proposal with the following requirements,
    1. Preliminary Information (Questions 1 – 13) must be included in the proposal.  Please include a copy of your COI and Current and Pending Support (C&P).
    2. Application content (Questions 14 – 20) can be no longer than ten (10) pages. Figures and tables are allowed as long as they fit within the 10-page limit.
    3. Additional Resources, Budget, and References (Questions 21 – 23) can be no longer than two (2) pages.
    4. Must use either 11 or 12 Times New Roman font and 1” margins.
    5. In addition to the proposal, each PI and co-PI may submit a CV with a three (3) page maximum.
    6. Package the preliminary information, COI, C&P, application, additional resources, budget and references, and CVs into one PDF and submit your proposal through the portal.
    7. All information MUST be included or your proposal will not be reviewed.

Upload to Portal

  • Portal Link – CIDA RIF 2020
    1. Create a new account
    2. Sign in to the portal
    3. Under Submissions, click “New submission” and fill in the appropriate fields

Faculty PI Eligibility

  • Proposals will be accepted from any budgeted PI or co-PI affiliated with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, College of Engineering, Computing and Information Science, and College of Veterinary Medicine with the following titles: Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Research Professor, Associate Research Professor, Assistant Research Professor, Assistant Clinical Professor,* Research Scientist, and Sr. Research Associate.
  • Applicants may serve as PI on one application only. Applicants serving as PI on one application may serve as co-PI on one additional application. Alternatively, applicants may serve as co-PI on a maximum of two proposals.
  • If a Lead PI was previously awarded a Hatch-funded CIDA in 2017 and/or a CIDA grant in 2019, s/he is NOT eligible to serve as Lead PI in the RIF 2020 competition. However, s/he may serve as Co-PI.

*Assistant Clinical Professors are required to submit a letter of permission from their respective college dean or department chair with their application.


Applications for both Graduate and Undergraduate summer stipend proposals are due Friday, February 21st, 2020 @ 3:00pm – Awards announced the second week of April; Funding received by mid May 2020.  Final Report due by Wednesday, September 16th at 3:00pm.

Applications for faculty-led research are due Monday, June 1st, 2020 @ midnight – Awards announced early August; Funding received by September.

Currently funded RIF/Hatch recipients: annual progress or final reports are due by June 1st at 3:00pm.


All proposals must be submitted online through the portal.  Emailed proposals, figures and/or other content will not be accepted.


Review Criteria for Student Summer Stipend Proposals

Review Criteria for Faculty-Led Research Proposals


All RIF awardees are required to:

  • Make an oral presentation summarizing your progress or findings at the annual CIDA Workshop or other CIDA-sponsored events.
  • Encourage your students or postdocs to present a poster(s) about their work at CIDA events.
  • Acknowledge CIDA in all reports, posters, slides, and media posts (e.g. websites, videos, social media) pertaining to the project, including an explicit acknowledgement of CIDA funding in journal publications, with wording such as “This work benefited from the support of the Cornell Initiative for Digital Agriculture (CIDA).”
  • In general, become an active participant in CIDA, which is critical for a faculty driven initiative.


There is a special section in the application for references (limit 1500 characters, including spaces) and figures.

You have the option to upload a 3-pg CV.

Proposal budgets may include support for graduate students (i.e, full tuition), postdocs, or research staff.

RIF proposals are charged NO INDIRECT COSTS (IDC), and cost-sharing is not required.


Please contact Gabriela Cestero, CIDA Administrative Assistant, at gc423@cornell.edu with any comments or questions.