ACES International Seed Grant recipients report new funding, collaborations, and student experiences

birdwatching at night

International seed grant recipients from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) use this longstanding funding program to procure additional funding sources, foster new international collaborations, and introduce their students to global work.

ACES faculty and staff are invited to apply for an International Seed Grant, administered by the Office of International Programs and funded by a generous donor, once per semester. The intent is that this smaller grant of $5K will “plant a seed” for internationally focused projects that have potential to develop and flourish into larger, sustainable, collaborative efforts in research, education, and outreach.

Recent impact surveys – administered annually to grant recipients - show that the program is continuing to function as intended. Faculty who received grants during fall 2021, spring 2022, and fall 2022 say the grants provided them with opportunities to collect data, create collaborations, provide research and employment opportunities for their students, and procure new funding sources.

Specifically, the surveys reported new research funding and pro bono research assistance that can be linked to recent seed grants, including these new projects:

  • “African elephant conservation genetics III” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service African Elephant Conservation Fund) - a $86,0000 supplement was awarded to Al Roca, recipient of a spring 2022 grant.
  • Approximately $500,000 in sequencing pro bono was provided by Illumina iConserve, San Diego CA, through a contact in Denmark, also to Roca.
  • “Indigenous communities and species conservation – examining the role of nature-based practices in promoting ecosystem services: The case of leopards in northwest India” (American University of Sharjah) – approximately $76,764 was awarded to co-PI Shadi Atallah who received a seed grant during spring 2022.
  • “The ecology and behavior of neotropical migrants on their wintering grounds: Informing conservation and building capacity in Oaxaca, Mexico” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) - $25,545 was awarded to Mike Ward, a recipient of a fall 2021 grant.

The seed grant recipients reported outreach including dozens of publications and presentations nationally and internationally and opportunities for hands-on experience with international work for their students.

Matt Stasiewicz, who received a grant during fall 2022 to scale a sorting method to reduce mycotoxins in Kenyan maize, has enhanced his students’ research experiences by having his undergraduates analyze maize samples from Kenya to determine if the local sorting methods were effective. The grant also allowed him to expand his role as a U.S. advisor to a Ph.D. student based in Kenya who provided formative work for this ongoing project.  

Mike Ward’s student who traveled with him to Oaxaca, Mexico, used the work experience to gain employment as a biologist with California Audubon. “The connections he made have allowed him to continue working in Mexico on projects associated with migratory birds in California,” says Ward.

The awardees reported several new collaborators including:

  • Institute of Natural Fibers and Medicinal Plants-Poznan (Poland)
  • University of Valladolid (Spain)
  • Copenhagen Zoo (Denmark)
  • University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Globe Institute (Denmark)
  • Portland State University
  • Probe and Search Surveying (India)
  • Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional Unidad Oaxaca (CIIDIR), Instituto Politécnico Nacional).
  • University of Bonn (Germany)

ACES International Seed Grants are funded through the Arlys Conrad Endowment Fund. See past recipients and learn more.