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Call for Proposals | eDNA Commercialization Seed Grants

Maine’s iconic coastline is one element of a complex macrosystem linking inland lakes and rivers to the sea through watersheds, estuaries, and nearshore coastal waters to the open Gulf of Maine. The overarching hypothesis of Maine-eDNA is that we can transform our understanding of the ecological dynamics and sustainability of Maine’s coastal macrosystem through innovations in environmental DNA (eDNA) science that unlock new spatiotemporal and taxonomic scales of inference.

One of the objectives of the Maine-eDNA project is to encourage valuable contributions from researchers in emerging areas of eDNA technology. We seek one-year seed grant proposals to be reviewed and awarded on a competitive basis that include commercialization of eDNA technology in the scope of work with the potential to receive $40,000 including $20,000 from MTI. Institutions and individuals associated with Maine-based research organizations, companies and community organizations are eligible to apply. Early career researchers and entrepreneurs are particularly encouraged to apply, as are individuals from groups who are underrepresented in STEM (women, persons with disabilities, blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians). Only applications submitted in the format required will be accepted for consideration. The application is limited to 3 pages, single spaced, using Times New Roman 12pt font and 1” margins.

  1. Abstract: Prepare this section to clearly summarize for non-specialized readers the significance and objectives of the proposed eDNA-related research initiative. Indicate the potential impact on the Maine-eDNA project and the state of Maine. Abstracts must be no longer than 100 words.
  2. Background Information: Provide information regarding the research and scholarly activities that may occur, and the relevance of the proposed work to the Maine-eDNA project and the state of Maine.
  3. Specific Goals or Objectives of the Proposed Research or Scholarly Activity: The initiative’s focus and goals should be clearly stated, and link to the body of knowledge surrounding eDNA technology and its application to ecosystem monitoring. Evidence of a plan to ensure adaptive, knowledge to action activities as part of the grant should be clearly presented in the proposal. 
  4. Metrics of Success: Describe clearly the procedures of information/data collection, analysis, and interpretation, associated with measuring the success of the proposed work. Anticipated outcomes of the project (e.g., specific funding opportunities to target, new collaborations with researchers or businesses, partnerships formed, publications, etc.) should be indicated. A final report documenting the outcomes of supported research activities will be required. This report should detail outcomes during the funded period as well as 6-months post-funding.
  5. Bibliography (does not count toward 3-page limit). Include only those references cited in the text.

A budget table and budget justification are also required as appendices to the application (do not count toward the 3-page limit). Indirect overhead of the home institution may be included in the project’s budget, with a total budget request limited to $20,000.

Possible products resulting from the eDNA Emerging Areas Research project:  Collaborative proposal to funding agencies; a collaborative, peer-reviewed manuscript; a white paper or multimedia communications product targeted to a key external partner or stakeholder group, e.g., in local government or state resource management agencies; and/or a tech transfer/ commercialization end product. 

Evaluation Criteria:

Proposals shall be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria, using the indicated weighting factors.

  • Intellectual merit (35 points)
  • Relevance to Maine’s economy (30 points)
  • Likelihood of additional funding (20 points)
  • Extent of collaboration with Maine-eDNA project participants (15 points)

The PI will have the discretion to submit a subsequent application directly to MTI for matching funds consideration. MTI’s funding process is described online. To facilitate this process a delegate from MTI will be included in the Maine-eDNA seed grant reviewer panel to facilitate continuity between the initial application to the Maine-eDNA program and the subsequent application to MTI for matching funds.

Completed proposals should be submitted directly to Maine EPSCoR Director Shane Moeykens at shane.moeykens@maine.edu.

Important Dates:

Submission deadline: Sep 20, 2022

Decision notification: Oct 7, 2022

Project performance period: Oct 10, 2022 – May 31, 2023

If you have questions regarding this process please contact Maine EPSCoR Director Shane Moeykens via email at shane.moeykens@maine.edu or by phone at (207) 581-3399.