Request for Proposals - Product Quality Research

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is soliciting research proposals in the area of Product Quality Research covering these applied and basic science topics for FY 2024: 

Primary considerations (original scientific research and existing research assessment)

Original scientific research:   
  • Understanding changes and drivers of consistency in pre-harvest beef management (i.e. nutrition, animal care, genetic management, management strategies, etc.) and subsequent impacts on product quality. 
  • Investigate opportunities to extend beef shelf-life and reduce discoloration and product loss for improved beef sustainability. 
  • Assess the variation of marbling deposition both within an individual muscle and within a carcass and understand the physiological disparity. Identification of carcass chilling solutions to address implications in marbling and lean color development. 
  • Examine the role of post-harvest handling challenges (i.e. cold chain abuse, packaging issues, aging times, etc.) on beef palatability characteristics. 
  • Monitoring of industry aging practices with sufficient detail and differentiation of product type and end-use. Proposals should include the identification of post-fabrication aging times across the industry via continuous monitoring or measurement at multiple intervals throughout the year. Funding priority will be focused on an assessment of information received from industry partners. 

Research ideas should be novel, applicable to the industry, and have a high potential impact. Basic research proposals should provide key learning to industry challenges. Collaboration is strongly encouraged where relevant. Budgets for research trials will be evaluated based on the scope and methodology of the submitted proposal. 

Important Dates for original scientific research

  • Proposal submission date: June 30, 2023
  • Funding notifications: Late Fall 2023 
  • Project start date: As early as January 2024
  • Project completion date: May 2025**

**The line item for student and support staff funding must be 12 months or less.

Existing Research Assessment: Gap analysis, meta-analyses, existing data analysis/modeling encouraged. Project proposals are limited to $10,000. 

  • Assessment of alternative cut consistency and identification of areas for improvement and industry feasibility. 
  • Articulate the practices across the beef supply chain that are currently in place or are needed to ensure consistency (production, product management, end user). 
  • Characterize beef quality attributes from harvest to aging and delivery to the end user. 
  • Articulate the interrelationship of beef plant processes operation and impact on product quality. 
  • Identification of system improvements/adaptations to increase product consistency. 
  • Development of best practices document for optimization and improvement of beef tenderness. 


  • Proposal submission date: June 30, 2023 
  • Funding notifications: Late Fall 2023  
  • Project timeline should be 12 months or less. 

Submission Instructions

Proposals must meet the submission deadline and follow the guidelines in this RFP to be considered. Accepted projects will be funded (or funded in part) by the Beef Checkoff.   

Research objectives should be clearly defined. Proposals should clearly state their relevance and potential benefit to the beef industry. Leveraged funding through collaborations with industry, foundations, government, and other sources with matching funds is encouraged. In addition, collaboration with additional researchers or institutions is encouraged where appropriate.   

PIs may submit more than one proposal. A CV is not required. 

Questions related to this RFP should be directed to Jessica Lancaster ([email protected]).

PROPOSALS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY June 30, 2023 at 11:59pm EST via the BeefGrants system.  

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has moved to an online portal for managing the grants process and facilitating the submission and review of grant materials. All portal users will need to log in or set up an account to submit their proposal(s) at BeefGrants.

Proposal Outline

The following fields will be required in BeefGrants:

  • Applicant Information 
    • Organization Information
    • Researcher Information 
    • Institution Grant Administration Contact Details 
  • Application Summary 
    • Project Title and Lay Project Title
    • Total cost of research 
    • Proposed start and end date*
    • Line item for student and support staff funding must be 12 months or less.
  • Project Details
    • Project Background & Hypothesis (include a brief background for the idea and an explanation of how you determined the hypothesis that serves as the basis for the project idea ~650 words maximum)
      • Background for red meat yield questions should only be important information beyond the resource document. 
    • Objectives 
    • Design of experiment/materials and methods. 
    • Total Time for Completion (in months) (auto-calculated from Application Summary fields)
    •  Describe the practical application of the research for use in the beef industry. 
  • Detailed Budget Table 
  • Other Sources of Support/Co-funding (optional) 
  • Supporting Documents/CV (optional)


Publication of all research is expected regardless of the outcome, however financial support for manuscript publication is considered separate from research contracts.  Once your project is completed and final report is submitted, please reach out to NCBA staff to receive more information on the new publishing guidance. 


PIs should review completed Product Quality projects to avoid submitting an idea that already has been covered. Completed project summaries are available at    

We understand that PIs do not know the nature of ongoing research projects. However, a list of ongoing projects cannot be made available due to contracting sensitivities. Please understand this limitation and use your best judgment to submit proposals that are both novel and of high industry impact. 


Project deliverables will include, at minimum, a final technical report with a full listing of research results and implications, and abbreviated executive summary highlighting key points from the full technical report. Final technical reports must follow a standard outline and be thorough and interpretive in nature. 

Deliverables also will include a final statement outlining all project expenditures from the institution’s business office. 

Funds cannot be spent beyond the project end date established in the project contract. Deliverables will be due on or before the project end date established in the contract. 


Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of independent industry experts and applicants will be notified of funding decisions Late Fall. Proposals will be evaluated for: uniqueness, relevance, soundness, the potential for success, budget appropriateness, and potential benefit to the industry/return on investment. 


We are aware that academic institutions have financial obligations for administering the research grants awarded to their faculty members. However, overhead costs, principal investigator salaries, tuition and equipment purchases will not be considered as part of the funds made available for this research.