Innovation Seed Fund

The Innovation Seed Fund was established to address a critical gap in accelerating the commercialization process. The program supports prototyping costs related to clean and sustainable agricultural and food systems innovation and technology, providing a critical funding resource to move innovations to the next stage of commercialization. 

The fund is intended to support and encourage projects with potential for benefiting economic development in the greater Sacramento/Central Valley region.

Awards ranged from $5,000 to $25,000. Selected applicants are required to regularly report budget and project activities to the Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center and use all funds by July 30, 2016. Projects run through September 30, 2016. 

Seed Funding Review Process

A Review Committee appointed by the Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center and the Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship assessed the seed funding proposals. The committee was chaired by three agriculture-related industry executives and two investors from the Sacramento regional business and investment community. Committee members have no conflicts of interest in their role (i.e., they are not, and have not, been engaged in collaborative research with any of the researchers or invested in any of the researchers’ projects).

The Review Committee advised the executive directors of the Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center and the Child Family Institute for Innovation, the principal investigator and the faculty director on the merits of the proposals and ranked them for funding. Final fund decisions were made by the internal committee, based on the Review Committee’s recommendations. 

The following projects are currently being funded through the seed fund program.

Spring 2013 Projects

The seed fund projects selected in Spring 2013 included:

  • Wireless network for irrigation control and environmental monitoring.
  • Ag waste streams bio-processor for heath enhancing component recovery.
  • Adding value to the UC Davis Dairy Goat Program.
  • Surface renewal measurements of daily crop water use.
  • Monitoring and wireless communication system for surface irrigation.
  • Decentralized  bio-fuel processing from agricultural feedstock and waste.
  • Mobile irrigation adaptation.

Spring 2014 Projects

The seed fund projects selected in Spring 2014 included:

  • Seedling tracer technology for agricultural robotic vision systems.
  • Desiccant drying technology for high-value seeds.
  • Sustainable stevia production and processing in California’s Central Valley.
  • Cultivation of a California based barley malting industry.
  • Rapid detection and prediction of failure in cheese production.
  • Biochar pelletization for safe and site specific soil remediation.
  • Bioprocessing method to recover value from dairy waste streams.
  • Novel value-added products from agricultural by-products.
  • Foodful.ly web application targeted at reducing food waste.
  • Refining dairy whey streams into high value added biofuel co-products.
  • Sustainable approach to delivering nutrients and bioactives in processed foods.

Questions? Contact Jenna Makus, interim SATIC program coordinator.