Food from Thought: 2020-22 Digital Agriculture Research Fund


Food from Thought

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The University of Guelph’s Food from Thought Program, funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), invites eligible U of G faculty to submit proposals for two-year projects for the 2020-22 Digital Agriculture Research Fund. This research fund will support research projects up to two years in duration in the following three priority focus areas:

  1. Development of new and innovative digital, data-driven applications, analytics, and decision-support tools for the agri-food sector that make use of, or create, advanced technologies and approaches;
  2. Advancements in, and contributions to, the development of integrated research data platforms and/or databases that allow for, and better support, cross-discipline analyses and large-scale/comprehensive research questions; and,
  3. Research on advancements, best practices, risks, and barriers in the governance and management of agri-food and biodiversity data, including areas such as confidentiality, transparency, accessibility, and standards and regulations, among others.

Successful proposals will strongly align with and support Food from Thought’s central goals of:

  • Increasing the sustainability and productivity of global food systems by leveraging the considerable power of data science, leading-edge agri-food research, and biodiversity science; and
  • Positioning Canada as a global leader in the development of innovative solutions that improve both the sustainability and productivity of food systems at global, landscape, and micro levels.

Eligible projects should include the development and/or testing of experimental-stage pilots and/or prototypes, as applicable. Projects will be multidisciplinary, adhere to the highest of standards of research excellence, strive to have direct and lasting benefits to Canadians, and will fit into one or more of the following themes:

  1. Global-scale transformative research on agriculture’s impact on biodiversity and the environment
  2. Landscape-scale transformative research on sustainably intensifying agri-food production
  3. Micro-scale transformative research on enhancing food safety and livestock health.

Applicants are also encouraged to consider whether their project can make use of the SOSCIP supercomputing platform.

SOSCIP (formerly Southern Ontario Smart Computing for Innovation Platform) is a collaborative consortium that connects Ontario’s research-intensive post-secondary institutions, IBM Canada Ltd., Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and dozens of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the province.

SOSCIP supports researchers from a wide array of disciplines by providing access to advanced computing resources, big data analytics, and expertise not available anywhere else in Canada.


In order to apply for funding through the 2020-22 Digital Agriculture Research Fund, researchers must hold a faculty position at the University of Guelph and be eligible for Tri-Agency grants.

This Call for Proposals is open to all University of Guelph faculty. Priority may be given to projects that build on other Food from Thought-funded projects.

Eligible researchers may participate in, and receive funding for more than one project, and may act as Principal Investigator on one or more projects.

Maximum Project Value

Projects may span 12 to 24 months in length. Projects will be awarded a maximum total amount of $200,000, although projects that request more than the maximum award amount may be considered if the proposals demonstrate very strong partner engagement (through significant cash and in-kind contributions) and highly-impactful anticipated results.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

External Deadline

If your project idea still requires development, you may be interested in the upcoming complementary call for proposals for SEED grants being offered through Guelph Centre for Advancing Responsible and Ethical Artificial Intelligence (CARE-AI). CARE-AI's SEED grants are to support the formation of interdisciplinary research collaborations that have the potential to achieve national or international recognition for research. 

How to Apply

Complete applications for the Digital Agriculture Research Fund must include:

  1. Proposal Form (template provided)
  2. Project Budget Forms (template provided)
  3. Recent Common CV or Form 100 for the Principal Investigator and all Co-investigators, collated in alphabetical order using last names.
  4. Signed letters of support from any partners committing cash and in-kind support, collated in alphabetical order using organization name.
  5. Signed OR-5 Forms for each project.

All application documents, aside from the Project Budget form (in Excel), should be submitted as a single searchable PDF.

Complete applications must be submitted electronically to the Office of Research at no later than 11:59 pm on February 7th, 2020 using the templates provided below in the attachments section.


For Questions, please contact

Office of Research

Shelley Morrison, Project Manager
Office of the Vice-President (Research), Food from Thought Program Office
519-824-4120 x53154

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