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Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) Prototype and Technology Grant

Grants to North Dakota For-Profits, IHEs, Groups, and
Individuals to Develop New Agricultural Processing Technology

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North Dakota Department of Commerce

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Grants to North Dakota companies, IHEs, groups, and individuals to develop expanded and new uses for agricultural products growth within the state. The purpose of this program is to support technological developments that add value to the state’s agriculture industry.

The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) is pleased to issue an invitation to apply for a Prototype & Technology Grant. APUC recognizes that advances in agricultural production, quality, traceability, precision, safety, security, expanded trade and sales to meet evolving markets, and new products are dependent on advances in technologies. APUC is pleased to support the development of technologies that enhance the products of agricultural production and processing.

Definition of Prototype Eligible for Consideration:

A huge array of equipment can be useful in conducting the primary and secondary businesses associated with rural living and agricultural economies. Other funding sources may be available for prototype development in these related areas. Because of their legislative charge, APUC restricts prototype development to inventions improving the operations of:

-Food processing equipment
-Agricultural equipment

Examples of Eligible Projects
-Product design
-Assembling the prototype
-Prototype testing
-Prototype evaluation or redesign or determination of the need to develop a different
-Market assessment to refine prototype

Definition of Technology Eligible for Consideration:

To encourage innovation, APUC will maintain a broad view of technology. It could include hardware, software, devices, or processes. It is up to the proposer to justify that a device, process, or program constitutes a meritorious technology suitable for consideration as an agricultural or food processing advancement. Because APUC wishes to encourage development of new technologies, it will consider conceptual and unproven technologies as it would prototypes. Proven technologies in new applications are eligible for additional consideration, especially if the adapted technology is moving to commercialization.

APUC will consider proposals for advances in biotechnology as long as those advances improve agricultural product utilization as foods, feeds, fuels, and fibers. APUC does not consider for funding those technical and genetic advances that improve commodity production (varieties, fertilizers, seed systems, storage, etc.) unless there is a clear linkage between the advancement and the utilization of the improved commodity.

Additional awards can be provided if the technology must be substantially modified through its development/acceptance process, the project is moving expeditiously to commercialization within a 5-year period and market indications show strong potential for commercial success. Proven technologies adapted to agricultural uses that are being moved into commercial production are eligible for non-restricted funding, and APUC will consider reasonable and justified expenses.

Evaluation Criteria for Prototypes and Technologies Considered as Prototypes:

The concept is a new technology or a new application of existing technology and appears to work.
-The applicant and/or others have conducted significant market research. (Revised 8/2016)
-The applicant has demonstrated the ability to manage the business or fully commercializing the idea.
-There is favorable community or commodity support for the project.
-There are favorable recommendations of local economic development specialists, university-based technical specialists, or other qualified service providers.
-There are favorable collateral contacts to determine the applicant’s qualifications and background.
-The applicant demonstrates a personal commitment and a commercialization development plan.
-There is an adequate and realistic budget projection for complete prototype or technology development.

Applications are weighed on a 100-point scale:
-30 points for demonstration of a high level of probability of jobs and wealth creation.
-30 points for scientific and technical merit of any research, as well as the qualifications of the project's principals. An application with substantial market and commercial potential will be favored over one with little perceived economic impact. Further, research applications should be innovative as well as commercially plausible.
-15 points for demonstration of a high level of probability of rapid commercialization.
-10 points for demonstration of a shared commitment for funding from other sources (e.g. from the application and/or other public and private sources).
-5 points for geographical considerations.
-10 additional points may be awarded based upon an individual Commission member's judgment for the potential success of a proposal.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177913

Estimated Size of Grant:

Generally, proposals are not limited to a specific dollar amount. However, APUC’s grant monies are finite, and as a mechanism to optimize opportunities, some categories of grants may have limitations on allowable costs that may be included in the project budget. Grant requests may include an additional fiscal agent administrative fee up to 5 percent of the amount requested, not to exceed $5,000 for their services.

Term of Contract:

Generally, grants are funded for a single year or for the duration of a designated-term project. With justification, multi-year projects are considered and, if awarded, subject to annual review and funding renewal. Under unusual circumstances, generally beyond the control of the grantee, the funding period can be extended. The duration of the extension can be negotiated with APUC staff if adequate justification is provided.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible candidates for this grant are companies registered with the North Dakota Secretary of State (SOS), higher education agencies, groups, and individuals that add value to North Dakota agriculture.

Applicants must secure a qualified fiscal agent for the purpose of administering the project budget and grant funds for the duration of the project.

APUC will not fund salaries or ongoing operational expenses for existing operations.

Pre-Application Information:

Generally, grant applicants must commit a minimum match dollar investment of 25 percent of the total amount requested from APUC, exclusive of the fiscal agent administrative fee. In-kind support must not exceed 50 percent of the total match funding.

APUC funds may be used to match Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, Energy Related Invention Program (ERIP) grants, and other federal, state, or local funding sources.

Applicants are encouraged to visit with APUC staff and with economic advisors prior to their submission.

Peer reviews from individuals knowledgeable about the particular technology involved in the project may be obtained. Peer review takes approximately one month.

Proposals are subject to the following review process:
1. Upon receipt, the proposals are pre-screened for eligibility based on the applicant’s stated intent, compliance with the guidelines, the proposed budget, and uses of funds.
2. Independent peer reviews familiar with the technology shall be asked to evaluate the technical merits of the project.
3. The applicant may be required to make a presentation to a review committee. The technology must be explained in laymen’s terms with technical details provided if asked.

-December 1
-March 1
-June 1
-September 1

Thirty minutes are allowed for each presentation, including a question and answer period. A maximum of 15 qualified presentations will be heard each quarter. The Commission typically holds its meetings within one month following the deadline.

Application Process:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

John F. Schneider, Director

Sherry Leno, Program Specialist

North Dakota Department of Commerce
1600 E. Century Ave., Suite 2
Bismarck, ND 58503

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: North Dakota