Request for Applications: MSI-Led Partnerships for Global Food Safety Research (Concept Notes)

Deadline: June 24th, 2021 05:00 PM EDT

  Download Solicitation

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety

Request for Applications

Stage 2: Concept Note

This Request for Applications (RFA) is issued by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety (FSIL). Foodborne illness remains a stubborn challenge to improving the nutrition and food security of households and communities around the world. FSIL’s mission is to reduce the burden of foodborne illness through data-driven food safety policies and practices. A five-year collaborative program implemented by Purdue (lead institution) and Cornell Universities, FSIL supports a growing portfolio of research projects that address the root causes of foodborne diseases within the food systems of developing countries. FSIL projects are led by dynamic partnerships between U.S. universities and in-country experts, using approaches that enable locally sustained results and elevate gender and youth engagement. By strategically addressing knowledge gaps, FSIL research projects are strengthening food safety in developing countries; reducing hunger, poverty, and malnutrition; and creating new local and export market opportunities. FSIL is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under Cooperative Agreement Award No. 7200AA19LE00003. 

Eligible Lead Institutions: Only Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) as defined under part F of the Higher Education Act, 20 U.S. Code § 1067q are eligible to serve as lead institutions. MSIs include, but are not limited to, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Predominantly Black Institutions, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions.  

Eligible Focus Countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda

Priority Research Topics: To reduce the burden of foodborne disease in the target countries indicated above, FSIL has identified three areas of research that address critical knowledge gaps. The amount of publicly available data and depth of research to-date for each topic varies widely by country.  

  • Food safety economics to inform and prioritize investment strategies
  • Baseline surveillance/burden of microbial foodborne disease and correlation with malnutrition status 
  • Food chemical hazards (e.g., pesticide residues, heavy metals, mycotoxin contamination) 

Anticipated Awards: FSIL invites eligible MSIs to submit proposals for 2-year projects that support FSIL’s mission of reducing the burden of foodborne illness on individuals, households, and communities. Each proposal may request up to $400,000 and must address one of the three research topics listed above in one (or more) of the eligible focus countries. FSIL anticipates funding two proposals under this solicitation but reserves the right to fund more or fewer. Applications must be led by a U.S. MSI and include at least one in-country academic institution. All types of U.S. and non-U.S. entities are eligible as additional partners, provided that they are not excluded from U.S. Government acquisition and assistance awards.

UPDATE:  Responses to written questions now available (posted June 9, 2021)

RFA Process and Timeline 



Deadline for submission of written questions regarding the concept note stage to

June 3, 2021 at 5pm EDT

Posting of responses to written questions on Piestar RFx (link above)

June 11, 2021*

Deadline for submission of concept notes

June 24, 2021 at 5pm EDT

Invitations sent for full proposals

July 2021

Deadline for submission of full proposals (to be confirmed with invited applicants)

September 2021

Anticipated award notifications

October 2021

Anticipated start date of awards

January 1, 2022

*Responses posted early on June 9, 2021

NOTE:  The PI must be an MSI-based researcher who participated in the Ideation Session to be eligible to submit a Concept Note.


Other Resources:

Download the PDF solicitation for complete details and requirements.