SINGAPORE FOOD STORY THEME 3 GRANT CALL

Singapore imports more than 90% of its food today and is vulnerable to global trends that impact food supply and safety, such as climate change, urbanisation, growing complexity of food systems, and new business models and food products.

To turn food challenges into advantages, the Singapore Food Agency and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research have jointly developed the Singapore Food Story (SFS) R&D Programme, to build a strong base of R&D capabilities in local research institutions in partnership with industry, and undertake cross-domain research in emerging areas of the agri-tech and food space. It focuses on three R&D themes:

  • Theme 1: Sustainable Urban Food Production
  • Theme 2: Future Foods: Alternative Proteins
  • Theme 3: Food Safety Science and Innovation

 

OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE

This grant call concerns Food Safety Science and Innovation. As Singapore gears up to embrace the fast growing pace of food technology and innovation in a bid to ensure food security and resilience, novel food safety gaps have been uncovered whilst consumer acceptance to such products and their knowledge and capacity to understand these technologies are at risk of falling behind. To ensure that such products and technologies are well adopted, adapted and translated into use to address Singapore’s growing needs, consumers and scientists alike are invited to challenge, critic and comment on food safety and risk communication issues to allow for better product and technology development in efforts to move Singapore closer to the “30 by 30” goal.

This is a competitive grant call aiming to foster knowledge creation on food safety and consumer sciences. The grant call hopes to raise early conversations on recent global and local developments in the novel food technology and innovation space. Research should aim to address some of the fundamental and upcoming food safety issues faced by the alternative protein industry and relatedly, how these could be better communicated to the consumers for enhanced consumer education and utilization of communication strategies.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to link their proposals to the Singapore Food Story Theme 1 topic on Sustainable Urban Food Production and Theme 2 topic on Future Foods: Alternative Proteins. Please refer to Annex A for the list of projects and PIs for awarded projects under SFS themes 1 and 2. 

Applicants are encouraged to engage existing awardees to the Singapore Food Story R&D Programme Themes 1 & 2 to work alongside and develop on the food safety & consumer science aspects as a further complement to the awarded projects. Separately, applicants may also consider working with key companies and industry players in the novel food and alternative protein space.

There are two separate categories in this grant call listed below, with examples of the focus areas in each category. 

Category 1: Food Safety Science & Innovation

Applicants may consider the following focus areas in these categories:

  1. Holistic food safety assessment methods, testing platforms for urban agri- and tropical aquaculture technologies and novel foods (e.g. alternative proteins);
  2. Toxicity and Allergenicity prediction & management for novel foods (e.g. alternative proteins);
  3. Risk benefit models and applications to food safety assessment; and
  4. Comprehensive reviews on scientific basis and justifications for current food safety risk assessments of novel foods.

Category 2: Consumer Science & Risk Communication

Applicants may consider the following focus areas in these categories:

  1. Achieve social licensing and public trust;
  2. Novel food risk communication (assessment, mitigation, perception and management) and consumer message mapping to prevent misconceptions, backlash and negative sentiments against foodtech, processed foods, novel foods (e.g. alternative proteins);
  3. Consumer science – behaviour, perception, acceptance, dietary habits, and prediction of consumer sentiments towards novel foods (e.g. alternative proteins). Stratifying consumer risk profiles and demographic influence (social economic status) on consumer behaviour;
  4. Addressing consumer knowledge gaps in novel food science and consumer sentiments toward naming/marketing/terminologies of novel foods; and
  5. Derivation of socially friendly communication messages that build consumer trust in novel food science.
Please refer to the info sheet and other documents available at the application link below for more details.

 

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Researchers who are employees of eligible R&D organisations may apply to this Competitive Grant Call. Funded R&D projects must be conducted in Singapore. 

Eligible R&D organisations include Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs), public sector agencies, not-for-profit organisations and research laboratories in Singapore. 

Proposed research should not be already funded by other local or international grants or funding schemes.


PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS AND FUNDING

Proposed projects are to range from up to 3 years in duration. Each successful project may be granted up to SGD$2,000,000 (inclusive of 20% indirect costs), subject to the proposals corresponding budget request and project scope.

IHLs, public sector agencies, and not-for-profit organisations and research laboratories in Singapore can qualify for up to 100% funding support of approved qualifying direct and indirect costs of a project. Support for indirect costs is allowed only to IHLs, public agencies and not-for-profit entities, of up to 20% of the total qualifying direct costs. Otherwise, support for indirect costs is not allowable unless specifically justified and approved by the SFS Joint Programme Office based on the scope and projected outcomes of the research.

The funds from this grant call will be disbursed on a reimbursement basis. There will be no advancement of funds for the awarded projects.

Companies and company-affiliated research entities may not qualify for funding but are encouraged to participate as collaborators with a local lead Principal Investigator. 

Final funding support and amount will be at sole and exclusive discretion of the JPO based on the scope and projected outcomes of the research.

Applicants shall comply with national regulations, A*STAR’s Grant Terms and Conditions and the National Research Fund Guide.

All R&D work must be conducted in Singapore, and all assets acquitted with the funding must be located in Singapore and maintained within the control of the Institutions.

Intellectual Property (IP) management: All researchers and research organizations shall follow and apply the National IP Protocol principles and framework.


APPLICATION

More details including frequently asked questions are available at the following link: Applications shall be submitted via email to a-star_SFSRND@hq.a-star.edu.sg.

The Research Administrative Office from IHLs or the equivalent outfit in companies are responsible for ensuring that information submitted by their respective researchers are compiled according to the requirements set out in this grant call. 

All proposals must be submitted by 6pm on 4 October 2021 (SGT). All completed applications must be endorsed by the Director of Research or equivalent at the Host Institution for the Lead Principal Investigator. A complete application will consist of the project proposal and supporting documents submitted to the email above.

Late submissions, incomplete submissions, submissions via other avenues (e.g. walk-in), and submissions without proper endorsement will not be accepted.

Applicants may direct queries by email to a-star_SFSRND@hq.a-star.edu.sg if questions are not addressed in the FAQ section of the grant call.

AWARD, PROJECT REVIEW AND MONITORIING

The SFS JPO will oversee the progress of funded projects and provide guidance over research directions, progress and intended deliverables.

Projects will be reviewed at mid-term and annual intervals. Research teams will be required to submit summary reports on their progress toward promised deliverables and information on funding drawdown, at a frequency specified by the SFS JPO.