Sustainable Agriculture Project accepting research proposals

Award of up to $6,000 to be given out to faculty members from any discipline

By Jess Hodge | 1/8/17 9:37pm


GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Austin VanDyke (right) and Skyla Snarski (left) work the fields on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Grand Valley's Sustainable Agriculture Project aims to promote local awareness concerning the environment and sustainability efforts.

by Kevin Sielaff / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Oftentimes, some of the greatest ideas are stuck in the minds of people who don't have an avenue to explore their thoughts and theories. Grand Valley State University’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS) is offering an opportunity for people to share their research thoughts and receive money to pursue those ideas.  

OURS, in conjunction with the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, is now accepting research proposals that are related to GVSU’s Sustainable Agriculture Project. Faculty members from any discipline can apply to receive an award of up to $6,000.

These research proposals should relate to the mission of the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) and will be viewed to determine if they meet the guidelines or not. According to their website, the Sustainable Agriculture Project was started in 2008 as a project to do four main things: seeding sustainable food practices, cultivating leadership and learning, nurturing place, growing community.

Emily Frye | Grand Valley Lanthorn

GVL / Emily Frye Julia Henderson gets to work at the GVSU Sustainability Farm on Friday Sept. 30, 2016.

The guidelines were established and determined by the Sustainable Agriculture program which has a faculty committee who guides many projects within the program.

Susan Mendoza, director of OURS, will deal directly with the proposals and hopes the two main goals of the proposals will be accomplished.

“The first (goal) was to have folks understand and utilize SAP as a place to do active, either what we would call peer research, so kind of what folks traditionally think of as what research may be, or applied research where you’re taking a concept and trying to implement within the site,” she said.

The second main goal is to get more undergraduates involved in the entire research process.

“One of the things that is very common at many colleges but is especially unique at Grand Valley is the level to which undergraduate students are involved in research from the original argument or development of the hypothesis all the way through presenting the work,” Mendoza said.

This is only the second cycle OURS is asking for proposals since it is still in project form. Because it is still a project, the office will see how it goes from year-to-year and determine how many times they will offer the grant money.

Kevin Sielaff | Grand Valley Lanthorn

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Allyse Bechelder works in a greenhouse planting seeds on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 Grand Valley's Sustainable Agriculture Project aims to promote local awareness concerning the environment and sustainability efforts.

Mendoza said the research depends on funding so, at minimum, proposals will be sought once a year. However, this year there was additional funding so OURS requested proposals in August of 2016 and then again for the winter 2017 semester.

Since this is only the second cycle, Mendoza said it is hard to determine about how many proposals will be sent in.

Last year’s grant receivers were Amy McFarland, assistant professor for environmental studies and Erik Nordman, associate professor in the biology department.

The deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 27. Each proposal should include a 200-word abstract, an updated curriculum vitae (CV), a statement of the research and a letter of support.

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