CALS Internal Funding Opportunities

The following funding opportunities are available to CALS faculty, staff, and/or students.  These opportunities are handled as internal competitions and are coordinated by the Research Division.  Each opportunity outlines the eligibility requirements and the process to submit an application.

+UW-Consortium for Extension and Research in Agriculture and Natural Resources (CERANR) - this opportunity is currently closed

FY2020-21 Proposals due Friday, January 10th, 2020.

CERANR FY2020-21 Full Call for Proposals (as pdf)

CERANR FY2020-21 Fillable Template Forms (as Word)


The UW-Consortium for Extension and Research in Agriculture and Natural Resources (CERANR) will make available approximately $125,000 for faculty and staff-led cooperative research for one or two-year projects for eligible faculty and staff located at UW-Madison, -Platteville, -River Falls, and -Stevens Point for fiscal year 2020-21.


The CERANR program serves two purposes. First, the CERANR Deans wish to encourage cooperation and collaboration across institutions and disciplines to help develop synergistic and effective solutions to critical issues. Secondly, the funding is provided to help research cooperators to address critical, emerging and ongoing state research needs for issues that have an impact on our agricultural and natural resource systems.

Eligibility Requirements

Applications must include at least one UW-Madison faculty member from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) or School of Veterinary Medicine and a faculty member from at least one of the non-Madison CERANR-represented colleges or schools as collaborators. All proposals must have an extension component.

Principal Investigators must be budgeted with PI status in the agriculture or natural resource units represented in CERANR. CERANR units include: UW-Madison, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; UW-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine; UW-Madison, Division of Extension; UW-Platteville, College of Business Industry Life Science and Agriculture; UW-River Falls, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences; and UW-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources.

Those faculty or staff who are not budgeted through a CERANR unit may be included as a Co-PI when the proposal includes a CERANR-affiliated PI.

Staff members with Principal Investigator (PI) status may apply for CERANR grant with the approval of their respective supervisor and Dean.

Project Criteria

Projects can be “pilot” in nature to help new or established researchers to collect data and/or demonstrate modest impacts that could lead to larger funded efforts with external funding. Or, they can be small-scale, well-defined projects where an impact is relatively certain but where a larger funded effort is not necessarily the ultimate goal.

Preference will be given to those projects which clearly leverage resources in the form of funding, relationships, facilities, etc. now or in the future.

Additionally, the Consortium will continue to place emphasis upon specific research priorities as in past years. However, the Consortium also encourages submission of other proposals that address agricultural and natural resource issues of concern to Wisconsin.

Consortium Research Priorities for FY2020-21

Advancing Knowledge that Promotes Economic Development in Support of Local and State Efforts for a Growing and Healthy Bio-based Economy

Sustainable Agricultural, Forestry and Aquatic Systems (including Communities)

Plant, Animal, Human, and Ecosystem Health, Biosecurity, Food Safety and Quality

Application Process

1) Download the CERANR FY2020-21 Full Call for Proposals
2) Submit proposals including the project description and required application documents and signatures.

Please submit proposals as a PDF or Word document to at the UW-Madison, CALS Research Division by FRIDAY January 10, 2020.  Be sure to include a PDF of the Signature Page.

Proposals should move from the PI(s) up through Department Chairs.  A Chair signature on the Signature Page is not required.  Chair-approved proposal(s) should flow to your institutional Research & Sponsored Programs Office for review (if appropriate) and to the Deans or designees for signature.

Proposals with UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls or UW-Stevens Point as the participating institution should be submitted to Drs. Rami Reddy (Director, School of Agriculture), Dale Gallenberg (Dean, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences) or Brian Sloss (Associate Dean, College of Natural Resources) for Dean (or designee) signature, respectively. Participating institutions should submit Dean-signed proposals to the UW-Madison lead PI(s) for signature. Proposals that include lead PI(s) from the UW-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine should be submitted to Dr. Dale Bjorling (Associate Dean for Research) for signature.  Proposals including the UW-Madison, Division of Extension should be submitted to Patrick Robinson (Associate Dean for Agriculture and Natural Resources) for signature.

The official list of Deans’ designees will be determined by each CERANR institution.

Proposals without all appropriate signatures will not be accepted for review with the exception of the UW-Madison CALS Dean’s Office signature. The CALS Associate Dean for Research’s signature will be obtained on all proposals by the CALS Research Division after January 10th.

Please direct all inquiries to Michell Sass, (608) 265-9534 or

+Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowships (WDGF) - this opportunity is currently closed

FY2020-21 Nominations due Friday, January 24th, 2020 to CALS Research Division at   


The WDGF program was established in 1997 through collaboration between the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (VCRGE), UW Foundation, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), UW schools and colleges, and alumni donors. Award packages include a monthly stipend, tuition and fees, and health insurance eligibility.

Housed under the VCRGE, the Graduate School Office of Academic Services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison develops and provides oversight for the academic policies and procedures associated with fellowships including tuition remission, third-party deferrals, enrollment requirements, international students maintaining legal status, maximum level appointments, and payroll benefits.

CALS has multiple Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowships to award on a college-wide basis for FY2020-21. We are pleased to issue calls for nominations for the following awards:

Louis and Elsa Thomsen Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowships

Open to dissertators only in a CALS graduate program or any graduate degree program in which CALS faculty participate and in which the nominee is pursuing a graduate degree.

Three Thomsen WDGFs will be awarded in 2020-21.

Each program is limited to one nomination.

Wisconsin Potato Industry Board (WPIB) – Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship

Open to dissertators, non-dissertators and Master degree students in a CALS graduate program or any graduate degree program in which CALS faculty participate and in which the nominee is pursuing a graduate degree.

One WPIB WDGF will be awarded in 2020-21.

Each degree program is limited to two nominees (one in the area of ground water resources research and one nominee in the area of potato research).

Jack & Marion Goetz Graduate Fellowship

Open to dissertators and non-dissertators in a CALS graduate program or any graduate degree program in which CALS faculty participate and in which the nominee is pursuing a graduate degree.

One Goetz Fellowship will be awarded in 2020-21.

Each program is limited to one nomination in the area of genetics and general environmental research at the agricultural experiment stations.

Nomination Process

  • Nominations must be submitted by the degree program Director or the degree program administrative staff.
  • The nominee’s major advisor must have a tenured or tenure-leading appointment in CALS or hold a partial appointment of 0.1 FTE or greater in CALS to be eligible.
  • Nomination materials should be compiled and submitted in the following order and include:
    1. The application cover page with degree program director’s signature (see attachment)
    2. A nomination letter from the major advisor
    3. A one-page research project description written by the candidate at a level understandable to a generalist audience outside their field of specialty. The one-page research project description should clearly define the nature and scope of the project as a summary of accomplishments to date, a description of expected outcomes, a timeline for completion, and the broader relevance of the project beyond the disciplinary impact.
    4. The student’s curriculum vitae
    1. The student’s graduate transcript(s)
  • ONE electronic copy of the compiled nomination materials should be sent to CALS Research Division at by Friday, January 24, 2020.

For general questions about the nomination process, please contact Michell Sass (265-9534 or


+Kickapoo Valley Reforestation Fund - Applications are due December 11, 2020

2021 applications are due December 11, 2020


The Kickapoo Valley Reforestation Fund was established through a generous bequest to the University of Wisconsin Foundation by Ralph Nuzum, a long-time businessman and resident of the Kickapoo Valley.

Mr. Nuzum’s intentions were set forth in a 1973 document which stated, in part, that:

“…the donor wishes that the income from the Fund be used to support a model comprehensive land use forestation, conservation, and rehabilitation project involving and interdisciplinary team cooperating with broadly representative citizens, groups, and local leaders in the Kickapoo Valley.”

Principles for Funding

The Kickapoo Valley Reforestation Fund welcomes proposals for projects that enhance the ecological, economic and social well-being of the Kickapoo Valley and its residents.

The Fund intends to support “good ideas” that fit within the spirit of Mr. Nuzum’s bequest. Proposals are a first step in identifying “good ideas,” especially those which originate with the citizens of the Valley. Following review by the Fund Committee, those proposals receiving favorable evaluations will be implemented with the guidance of Committee.

Project Guidelines

Proposals must identify a significant assessment, action or analysis which, upon completion, could reasonably be expected to enhance the overall quality of life in the Kickapoo Valley. Proposals also should identify some practical measure or indicator of success that could be understood and appreciated by non-scientists.

The following principles will also guide the Committee in selecting projects for support:

  • Projects should propose actions or devise solutions which address pragmatic problems deriving from past or current use of forest lands and which improve our understanding, appreciation and management of forest resources in the Kickapoo Valley.
  • Projects should focus on forest resources in the broad sense, including biophysical features, economic activities, and human interactions with the distinctive ecology of the Kickapoo Valley.
  • Projects should have a strong scientific basis and build upon results of past research and action programs conducted in the Valley and in similar rural communities and landscapes of the upper Midwest.
  • Projects must be collaborative in nature and include a member of the UW-Madison faculty or staff (with PI Status), as well as a Kickapoo Valley-related collaborator.
  • Salary support for faculty with 12-month appointments and Kickapoo cooperating agency permanent professional staff salaries cannot be included in project budget. For faculty with 9-month appointments, summer salary cannot be budgeted for more than one summer month/year.  Projects budgets that include a CALS RA/PA and faculty summer salary are not allowable.
  • The Fund does not provide general operating funds for Valley-based organizations. Funds may not be used to support litigation or lobbying, land purchases or construction or capital improvements.
  • Use of the Nuzum fund to leverage other funding sources is strongly encouraged.

Proposal Format

The proposal narrative is limited to six (6) single spaced pages using the guidelines included in the Fund Call for Proposals.  Proposals should contain the following sections:

  • Justification and Outcome
  • Proposed Work
  • Budget Narrative
  • Personnel

Additionally, a budget identifying project needs by category must be completed on the 2021 Proposal Cover Page.  A brief résumé/vitae of key personnel, especially the UW CALS faculty or staff member serving as PI and the local program manager, should also be included.

Submit proposals electronically to: by December 11, 2020. Applications should not be submitted via WISPER.

Please direct all inquiries to Michell Sass, (608) 265-9534 or

+Agricultural Research Station (ARS) Summer Internship - Applications are due November 6, 2020

Summer 2021 applications are due November 6, 2020

Download the 2021 ARS Summer Internship Request for Applications (as PDF)

Download the 2021 ARS Summer Internship Application Fillable Template (as Word)

The objective of the Agricultural Research Stations’ Summer Internship program is to foster relationships between UW-Madison departments and station personnel. At the same time, the opportunity provides UW-Madison undergraduate students a chance to become involved in applied research projects as they consider their career plans.

These internships should be used as a recruitment tool and have a direct benefit to a student. Awarded internships provide students with an opportunity to see how research programs and farms are managed, observe from a faculty member’s and a superintendent’s point of view the responsibilities associated with overseeing a research program and a farm and experience the diversity of activities that occur in both settings.

Five internships will be awarded for summer of  2021, each with $5000 for student labor (approximately 15 weeks – June 1 through August 31, limited to UW-Madison undergraduate students) and $500 for supplies to be spent at the station on the student’s project.  Last year, projects were awarded at Arlington, Lancaster, Marshfield, Rhinelander, and Spooner Agricultural Research Stations. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these internship opportunities could not be utilized and will be extended to the summer 2021. In addition to the extended internship awards, this call seeks to award five new internships.

Funding is intended to support an undergraduate student full-time for the summer with about half of the time spent on an individual research project in conjunction with a CALS faculty member and about half-time spent on a variety of station activities under the direction of the superintendent. Some stations may be able to provide housing options. Credits for internship experience may be possible by separate arrangements with the student’s on campus advisor. As part of the student work with the superintendents, a poster presentation should be assembled and become part of the station’s permanent displays.

To be considered for funding, the faculty member must have an active Hatch, Hatch Multistate, or McIntire-Stennis project during the summer of 2021. The internship must be related to the faculty member’s current Hatch, Hatch-Multistate or McIntire-Stennis project. The project description section should include an overview of the student’s research project, an explanation of how the student’s project contributes to the faculty member’s Hatch, Hatch-Multistate or McIntire-Stennis project and how the student and the station benefit from the proposed activities. The project description section of the application should not exceed two pages.

Applications for the summer 2021 should be submitted electronically with all required signatures to the mailbox. Applications should not be submitted via WISPER. If a student is already identified, please include their name. Applications will be accepted until November 6, 2020 with announcements made in mid to late December.

Please direct all inquiries to Michell Sass, CALS Research Division, or 608-265-9534.

For more information on the Agricultural Research Stations, please visit the ARS homepage.

+Annual Call for Proposals to Develop Cultivars or Other Plant Germplasm - this opportunity is currently closed

FY2021 applications are due by 4:30pm Friday, August 7, 2020.

Download the Call for Proposals including Fillable Application (as Word)


A Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) was entered into by The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System on behalf of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (“CALS”) of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (“University”), the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (“WARF”), and the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association (“WCIA”).  WCIA is a non-profit organization started by faculty and housed in Moore Hall on the UW-Madison campus.  Historically, WCIA has been involved in seed certification and in helping faculty develop, release and evaluate cultivars.

Approximately $100,000 per year will be available to support the development of cultivars and other plant germplasm, and for which rights are or will be assigned to WARF. A committee with representation from WARF, WCIA, CALS, and CALS Departments of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Pathology will evaluate the proposals for germplasm to be developed, the research plan including development tasks, and the budget requested. Development tasks may be carried out by WCIA as appropriate.

Cultivars and other plant germplasm developed with the use of these funds must be unencumbered by intellectual property rights for agreements with entities other than WARF and WCIA.  Exceptions may be made after negotiations by WARF.  The review committee will consider the prospects for the proposal to yield a commercial product in the near future, alternate sources of funding for the development work, potential marketability for the product and expected revenue return, previous successes and progress from prior funding from this source and the scope of the project relative to the scientists’ overall germplasm program. Priority will be given to proposals seeking support for specific cultivars or other plant germplasm that are close to commercialization (as opposed to general support of a breeding program).

September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021
A Final Report will be due February 28, 2022 and is required to receive future funding from this program.

For additional information, download the full Call for Proposals including Fillable Application or contact:

Michell Sass