Global Food Systems Institute Research Seed Fund: Updates and announcements

The Global Food Systems Institute (GFSI) first established their Research Seed Funds in 2021 in order to assist faculty teams in forming new research programs related to food systems. Three multi-disciplinary teams of GFSI faculty were awarded seed funding to carry out innovative projects on diverse topics, from food value chains to agricultural data ownership. GFSI has now launched a 2023 Research Seed Fund Call for Proposals to allow additional faculty members to establish teams and form new research programs related to global food systems. 

Applications for the 2023 Research Seed Fund Call for Proposals are due July 1, 2023. For more information, please visit: 

Learn more about the first cohort of GFSI Research Seed Fund recipients from 2021 and what they have accomplished through their projects: 

Previous GFSI Seed Fund Recipients
Previous GFSI Seed Fund Recipients

GFSI Research Seed Fund Recipients: 2021 Call for Proposals 

Realizing the First Generation Digital Twins in Food Value Chains: Fresh Produce Digital Twins in Refrigerated Cases 

PI:Ziynet Boz, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 


Janise McNair, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Michelle Danyluk, Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition 

Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 

Update from Ziynet Boz: “Through our demonstrated use-case in digital twins, we have led the institutional membership of the University of Florida through IFAS into the Digital Twin Consortium, an industry-based consortium of technology companies and thought leaders in digital twins.  

We gave a presentation at the Q2 members meeting last week in Orlando, FL. I also participated in the “Digital Twins in Academia” panel with the “father of the Digital Twins” Dr. Michael Grieves.  My PhD students Lauren (co-PI with Dr. Ying Zhang) and Mert (co-PI with Dr. Rafael Munoz-Carpena) also gave a talk about their PhD projects and GFSI-funded project. Through this, we will now start partnering with companies like Dell, and organizations like CA Orange County Public Works to develop digital twins for other research projects.” 


Vitamin D-Enriched Fish: Development and Feasibility  

PI: Razieh Farzad, Assistant Professor and Seafood Safety Extension Specialist, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition & Florida Sea Grant 


Jeanette Andrade, Assistant Professor, and MS/DI program director, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department 

Corwin D. Nelson, Associate Professor of Physiology, Department of Animal Sciences 

Nancy Denslow, Professor and Director of Aquatic Toxicology, Department of Physiological Sciences 

Update from Razieh Farzad: “The objective of our project was to evaluate the effect of vitamin D-enhanced aquafeeds on the vitamin D content of fish fillets and the production performance of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis Niloticus​, as well as to evaluate whether the vitamin D inclusion in the aquafeed will affect the sensory properties of fish fillets. 

The team has successfully completed a fish nutritional trial and studied the effect of vitamin D enrichment on fish production and sensory attributions of the fillets, and will submit two manuscripts as well as grant proposals based on this work.” 


Interpreting the Ownership of Smart Farming Partnerships  

PI: Ziwen Yu, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 


Mo Wang, Distinguished Professor and Lanzillotti-McKethan Eminent Scholar Chair, Warrington College of Business 

Daniel Sokol, Professor of Law and Business at the USC Gould School of Law, Affiliate Professor of Business at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California 

Sandra Guzman, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 

Yiannis Ampatzidis, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 

Adam Watson, Assistant Professor and AOM Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 

Yilin Zhuang, regional specialized agent for water resources, UF/IFAS Extension Central District 

Jiang Bian, Professor; Chief Data Scientist & Chief Research Information Officer, UF Health 

Update from Ziwen Yu: “Current evolution in agriculture is powered by data-driven technologies such as AI. Partnerships between growers and technology providers are essential for implementation.​ Recent efforts of technology advancing (e.g., AI development) are made on compiling robust training data. ​But who owns the data? 

Our project has worked to address these questions through the creation of a literature review​ on existing efforts and a survey​ on perceptions of different stakeholders. We found that many farmers do not fully understand how their data is used. We have developed several publications​ and proposals​ based off of this work, to educate and help farmers to protect their rights and benefits related to data in future digital agriculture.” 


The Global Food Systems Institute (GFSI) helps you get there!

We support faculty, staff, students, and extension professionals to engage in international work, including teaching, research, and outreach to strengthen human capacity for effective food systems, primarily in the Global South. We assist with project development, identification of funding opportunities, and developing multidisciplinary teams. 

For more information on the Global Food Systems Institute, please visit our website at

Follow us on social media via our Linktree at


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Posted: June 29, 2023

Tags: GFSI, GFSI Research Seed Fund, Global Food Systems Institute

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