Submissions open for Research Planning Grants Program

Deadline Date: April 24, 2024

 Donor Name: Tiny Beam Fund

 Grant Size: $10,000 to $100,000

The Tiny Beam Fund is currently accepting applications for “Burning Questions Initiative” (BQI) Research Planning Grants to support the planning of research work and the advancement of recently launched projects related to a set of “Burning Questions” collected from leaders of NGOs trying to understand and find solutions to industrial food animal production’s negative impacts, particularly concerning developing countries.


  • The purpose of these grants is to support academics who would like to develop projects or who have recently launched projects that are highly relevant to these “burning questions”. The aim is to strengthen and speed up these projects, and to encourage researchers to explore new ideas. 
  • Recipients can use the grants to test concepts and approaches, figure out plans, lay strong foundations. Grants should not be used for projects that are already well on their way to completion. 
  • Applicants must be prepared to take steps to move their plans forward after the end of the award period if the exploratory work funded by the grants shows promise. (If the work supported by a grant reveals that it does not make sense to keep developing the original plan/project, then it is fine to abandon it.)

Burning Questions

  • Production & Supply (PROD)
    • PROD1: What is the impact of industrial animal agriculture (including animal feed) on achieving a just and sustainable food system, and on each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? 
    • PROD2: What do They  know about the current status and growth of industrial animal agriculture in LMICs, including the prevalence of industrial practices (versus other systems), the number of animals involved (by species), global supply chains, and government regulations? 
    • PROD3: How can non-industrial farm animal producers in LMICs make animal welfare and environmental improvements while also being profitable enough to resist the trend toward industrialization? What examples are there where this has occurred and what factors have enabled their success? 
    • PROD4: How will the increasing production and availability of alternative proteins(e.g., plant-based and cultivated meat) affect industrial animal agriculture in LMICs, including meat consumption, producers’ incomes, and greenhouse gas emissions from farmed animals?
  • Consumption & Demand (CON)
    • CON1: What plant-centric diets are nutritionally, culturally, and regionally appropriate for different LMICs? What are the most effective ways to promote those diets to different stakeholders? 
    • CON2: What are the drivers of increased meat consumption in LMICs? What are the most effective interventions and communication strategies to stop or slow the trend? 
    • CON3: What kinds of strategies and messaging would convince decision makers at public institutions in LMICs to reduce the proportion of animal-based food products served at their facilities and events?
  • Governments & Policies (GOV) 
    • GOV1: What specific policies of the World Bank, World Trade Organization, and similar entities lead to the development and expansion of industrial animal agriculture in LMICs? What is the role of LMIC governments in this expansion? 
    • GOV2: What are the key supply-side drivers of the introduction and growth of industrial animal agriculture in LMICs? Are government policies and value chain activities significant and influential drivers (e.g., government subsidies to industry, free trade agreements, corporate marketing and partnerships with governments)? 
    • GOV3: What is the status of domestic regulatory oversight of industrial animal farming operations in LMICs and what actions are currently being taken by those governments to prevent, monitor, and mitigate public health and environmental impacts?
  • Agribusiness & Value Chains (AGB) 
    • AGB1: What policies are needed to stop or slow the convergence of agribusiness and the oil/gas industry (e.g., using methane from anaerobic digesters on industrial animal farms to acquire carbon offset credits)? 
    • AGB2: What efforts or interventions are both effective and regionally/culturally appropriate to bring greater scrutiny to slow or stop the exportation of industrial animal farming practices to LMICs? What role do LMIC governments play in supporting such expansion? 
    • AGB3: What impact do food industry standards and voluntary corporate commitments have on meat consumption and animal welfare in LMICs? How can commitments made by companies in higher-income countries be expanded to other markets? 
    • AGB4: How can large supermarket chains in LMICs help decrease the price of cage-free eggs and normalize their consumption among all types of consumers?
  • Economic And Financial Aspects (ECON) 
    • ECON1: How does industrial animal agriculture impact the economic growth and development of LMICs when “true cost” accounting is used (i.e., including ecological devastation, pollution, GHG emissions, negative public health outcomes, etc.)? How can these external costs be communicated effectively to decision makers and those who influence them in LMICs? 
    • ECON2: How do animal welfare improvements and “higher welfare” products affect the economics for producers in LMICs? How can welfare improvements that reduce costs or increase sales be communicated to producers and other stakeholders in LMICs? 
    • ECON3: How much funding is coming from international donors and intergovernmental organizations to further intensify industrial animal agriculture in LMICs? Are there documented environmental and social impacts resulting from these investments that can be used to stop or slow future investments? 
    • ECON4: In LMICs that export large quantities of animal-based food products, what are the most likely and effective economic scenarios that would reduce farmed animal production, for both export and for domestic consumption?
  • Social Movements & Ngos (SOC) 
    • SOC1: How can different social movements (e.g., climate change, gender equality, hunger) and farmers’ group sin LMICs be persuaded and supported to work in a coordinated manner to address industrial animal agriculture? Are there any past successes that can serve as useful examples? 
    • SOC2: How can efforts to challenge industrial animal agriculture be globalized in meaningful ways, and more deeply connect those in LMICs with advocates and funding sources in higher-income countries? 
    • SOC3: What people, leaders, organizations, and resources in LMICs are currently working to slow or stop industrial animal agriculture? Have their efforts made a difference to the spread of industrial animal production in LMICs? How can future efforts be supported and scaled?
  • Environmental Issues (ENV) 
    • ENV1: How do industrial animal agriculture and alternative farmed animal production systems impact air, land, water quality, and resource consumption in LMICs? How has the shift towards industrial animal production affected the production of human food crops? 
    • ENV2: What policies are needed to stop or slow the practice of “carbon leakage” (e.g., when companies shift industrial animal farming to LMICs to avoid regulations in higher-income countries)?
  • Animal Welfare Issues (AW) 
    • AW1: How might advances in genetic editing and genetic modification of animals improve or worsen the welfare of farmed animals in LMICs? 
    • AW2: How informed about animal welfare practices are extension agents and veterinarians working in LMICs? How to help them learn about and apply best practices? 
    • AW3: Do farm animal welfare regulations (e.g., banning cages) tend to favor large-scale farmed animal production over non-industrial systems? What effects do these regulations have on consumption of animal-based products, especially in food insecure households in LMICs? 
    • AW4: What are the biggest welfare issues for farmed fish in semi-intensive farming systems in LMICs? What are the best improvements one can make to address these issues?

Funding Information

  • Each applicant can request a grant amount from US$5,000 (minimum) to $15,000 (maximum). 
  • Award period is six months. Grantees should choose a start date August 30 – November 30, 2024. 
  • Grants are paid in full at the beginning of award periods. 

Why offer these grants?

  • While there are certainly academic researchers focused on issues highly relevant to the “burning questions”, they are few in number. They believe that if funds are made available for exploratory work on these issues, there are probably more researchers who will find these issues of interest.
  • Furthermore, academic researchers often face the challenge of insufficient time to plan, to seek collaborators, to come up with a proof of concept required by major grantors. Many excellent ideas are not developed and leads not followed up simply because researchers do not have the time to focus on them or do not have the time and funds to carry out some preliminary work.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants (or the PI/lead member of a team) must be employed by universities /academic research institutions that can receive these grants. Grants are sent directly to successful applicants’ institutions. 
  • The institution that receives a grant need not be located in the U.S., but it should be equivalent to a US- based not-for-profit tax-exempt organization. And it must be able to accept grants in U.S. dollars. (Tiny Beam Fund reserves the right to withdraw a grant offer if, upon further inquiry, the institution cannot be determined as an organization that Tiny Beam Fund can provide grants to as per U.S. Internal Revenue Service rules and regulations.) An applicant (or the PI/lead member of a team) must hold the PhD degree (or equivalent). 
  • A team should consist of 2–4 members. Apart from the principal applicant whose institution receives the grant, the other team members need not be PhD holders/students or have university connections.

For more information, visit Tiny Beam Fund.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Looking for expert advice on economics?