Singapore Food Story - 1st Alternative Protein Seed Challenge

About the Grant
Call Opens: 18 December 2019
Submission Deadline: 18 February 2020

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
(Please refer to this website for more information and upcoming grant calls under Theme 1.)

Theme 2: Future Foods: Alternative Proteins
(Please refer to the details below for the Alternative Protein Seed Challenge)

Theme 3: Food Safety Science and Innovation

This grant call concerns Future Foods: Alternative Proteins. The global landscape for dietary protein production faces mounting constraints on land use and environmental sustainability, and seeks alternative, more sustainable methods to produce protein-rich foods and beverages. Not only do economic opportunities abound, such technologies will help Singapore diversify options for protein consumption, some of which can be locally produced to address food security.

As a Seed Challenge, this grant call aims to foster knowledge creation and catalyse early-stage innovation by targeting projects with Technology Readiness Levels from 1 to 3. Research should aim to address some of the fundamental technical challenges faced by the alternative protein industry. Projects that demonstrate novelty and promising proof-of-concept, with high commercial potential will be encouraged to further develop their capabilities through subsequent participation in other grant calls.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider potential safety and health risks, organoleptic properties, nutritional profiles, health benefits, cost of final product/solutions, scalability, sustainability, market potential and other socioeconomic aspects in the proposals in order to ensure commercial viability in future. Relevance to Asian consumers and Asian resources is preferred.

Relevant topics include, but are not limited to, five focus areas listed below, with examples of desired outcomes. Research could involve one or more segments of the alternative protein value chain from materials/feedstock sourcing, discovery of ingredients/materials, processing, formulation and product development.

1. Microbial (Single-Cell) Protein
2. Cultured Meat
3. Plant-Based Alternatives to Animal Products
4. Insect Protein
5. Side Stream Valorisation

Please refer to the info sheet and other documents available at the application link below for more details.

  • Researchers who are employees of eligible R&D organisations may apply to this Seed Challenge. Funded R&D projects must be conducted in Singapore.

  • Eligible R&D organisations include institutes of higher learning (IHLs), public sector agencies, not-for-profit organisations and research laboratories in Singapore. Private companies with R&D units in Singapore are also eligible but must meet at least 30% shareholding by Singapore entities.

  • Proposed research should not be already funded by other local or international grants or funding schemes.
Proposal Requirements and Funding
  • Proposed projects should not exceed 18 months in duration. Each successful project will be granted up to SGD 500,000 in total.

  • 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.

  • Companies and company-affiliated research entities qualify for up to 70% funding support of approved qualifying direct costs of a project.

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

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

  • Applicants shall comply with national regulations as well as Terms and Conditions and National Research Fund Guide.

  • Intellectual Property (IP) management: All researchers and research organisations shall follow and apply the National IP Protocol principles and framework.
Application Procedure
  • More details including frequently asked questions are available, and all applications must be submitted, at the application link below.

  • 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 11.59 pm on 18 February 2020 (Singapore time) as follows:

A complete application (Project Proposal and the supporting documents) via iGrants.

All applications must be endorsed by the Director of Research or equivalent at the Host Institution for the Lead Principal Investigator.

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 if questions are not addressed in the FAQ section of the grant call.
Awarded Proposals
The list of projects that have been awarded under the 1st Alternative Protein Seed Challenge can be found in the link below:

1st Alternative Protein Seed Challenge Awardees