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Garden Grants: Funding to grow climate biotech

Garden Grants: Funding to grow climate biotech

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Get your best protein engineering ideas off the shelf.


Homeworld Collective is funding ambitious, early-stage projects at the translational intersection of protein engineering and sustainability. 

Grant amounts will range from $20k – $200k for a concise proposal, with decisions announced in November 2023. 

Apply Now


Online Application window

9/21/2023 – 10/20/2023 @11:59pm EST

Applicant webinar and Q&A

9/28/2023 (View the recording here)

Decisions announced


Cohort mentorship

12/1/2023 – 5/1/2024

Program Overview

Beyond fast funding, Garden Grants facilitates learning and collaboration by publicly sharing the problems that proposals address while protecting applicants’ novel ideas. Proposals have two parts:

  • The Problem Statement describes the context, significance, and goals of the project. In the spirit of growing knowledge and community, problem statements are made public.
  • The Solution Statement describes the the proposed work to address the Problem Statement. To protect applicants’ ideas, Solution Statements are kept confidential.

We invite you to either submit your own original Problem and Solution Statements, or apply with Solution Statements to pre-written Problem Statements from our Problem Statement Repository.

Proposals also include a timeline of milestones, a high-level budget, and team bios.

A Garden to bring ideas to life and discourse into a community.

Why the name?


A garden is a safe place for plants to grow and cross-pollinate. We intend for the Garden Grants to become a safe place for ideas to grow and cross-pollinate.


When will applications be open?

The application window officially opens September 21st, 2023 and closes 11:59pm EST on 10/20/2023.

How do I know whether my project fits your objectives?

For this cycle of Garden Grants, we aim to fund the de-risking work for ambitious ideas addressing important problems at the translational intersection of protein engineering and sustainability. The proposed work should be the first step on a novel path, not an incremental next step on an existing path.

The problem statement should make it clear why the proposed work addresses an important problem. Examples of good problem statements can be found in our Problem Statement Repository

What is the application format?

Detailed application guidelines can be found here.

Once you make a profile on, you can view the application form directly by going to the Garden Grants page and clicking “Apply for this Grant.” You will be ask to fill in 

  • Basic identification information
  • Project Budget
  • Problem Statement totaling 2400 characters
  • Project Timeline
  • Team bios
  • Video (optional)
  • Concise (<2 page) detailed Solution Statement
Who can apply?

In short, anybody but for-profit companies.

Anyone at a university or non-profit institution can apply: we encourage students and post-docs to be the lead applicants.

We welcome applications from any country.

There is no requisite credential or academic affiliation: all that matters is the quality of your idea, the clarity by which you describe your first efforts to bring it to life, and the evidence you provide for your ability succeed in your endeavor.

Because this funding comes from philanthropy, it is very difficult to fund for-profit companies so we are opting to exclude them.


Who owns IP from funded projects?

The applicant. Homeworld Collective makes no claim on any work product you produce.

What project stage will you fund?

We want to support you in de-risking your first experiment.

An ideal proposal has problem statement that clearly demonstrates its importance, a clear experimental plan, and an articulated sense of awareness of next steps based on the results of the experiments that we fund.

I'm worried that my most ambitious project could fail.

Is it a “big, if true” idea? Go for it! 

The goal of these grants is to help you de-risk your best idea so other sources of funding can support you to take it to the next level if it shows promise.

How much funding do you provide?

We can provide $20k to $200k. 

We DO consider the amount requested during review; all else equal, projects that require less funding will be favored.

How does your review process work?
  1. Your Problem Statement will be evaluated for importance and potential impact
  2. Your Solution Statement will be evaluated by 3-5 members of our Scientific Review Team for feasibility and alignment with your Problem Statement. The Scientific Review Team is composed of subject matter experts in application spaces across sustainability and protein engineering.
  3. Final review of your entire proposal will be done by Homeworld’s Core Review Team, who will synthesize the scientific reviews and assess overall impact of the proposed work and alignment with the goals of Garden Grants. The Core Review Team is composed of a small group of experts that skew senior. Funding decisions will be based on their recommendations.
What is your indirect cost policy?

We fund the direct costs of research, but we also recognize that there are real indirect costs that host institutions incur while managing grants. Therefore, we also support limited requests for indirect costs.‍

Indirect costs for proposals funded by Homeworld Collective will be capped at 10% of the award.

What are my responsibilities as a funded researcher?

Your primary responsibilities will be to fulfill the reporting requirements as outlined in our Data Policy and engagement with mentors following the award decision. Our aim is to have these responsibilities to be as minimal as possible while still being effective.

What will happen to my profile?

By default, your project page on, which features your publicly-accessible Problem Statement, will stay up after the application window closes and funding decisions are made. We hope that page is an asset for you regardless of the funding outcome, by indicating you as a potential thought partner or collaborator for others interested in the same problem. That said, you have the ability to delete the page at any time.

Will you adjust agreements or overheads?

To enable us to efficiently carry out our grantmaking program, our policy is not to adjust established details at this time.

If you feel that an adjustment is crucial to your project’s success, we invite you to communicate that as feedback and we will give serious consideration to our protocols for future grant cycles.

My question isn't answered here

Please contact with your question, and we will be happy to assist you.

Here are additional answers to questions we’ve received:

Question: Is fundamental science of interest to this mechanism of funding?

Answer: Our primary mission for this funding is translational in nature, aiming to be a bridge towards something impactful. Whether a project is applied or purely theoretical isn’t as significant as the ambition and the ability to de-risk efforts. If there’s foundational understanding that could lead to applications or addresses an open need in an application space, that would be in scope.

Question: How does this funding support ambitious efforts in the field?

Answer: We aim to de-risk ambitious experiments and provide a bridge to what could be downstream funding. If your project is in an early stage and can lead to a mature project or another significant outcome, that aligns with our goals.

Question: Is the funding purely for research or can it cover salaries as well?

Answer: While the emphasis is on lean thinking and being experiment-focused, we understand that for individuals to dive into projects, they might need a salary. Thus, a reasonable salary component in the budget is acceptable.

Question: How are you evaluating the projects based on their budget?

Answer: We do factor in the budget when making the final decision. All else equal, a project with a lower budget is preferred. Projects with higher budgets will need to demonstrate greater possible value. 

Question: How do you view “blue sky” or risky projects?

Answer: We value innovative approaches and transformative ideas. While it’s essential to be grounded in scientific principles, we appreciate the ambition behind transformational concepts that might seem like they’re “jumping into the unknown.”

Question: Can a grad student apply or lead up the group for a project?

Answer: Yes, grad students can apply. We encourage grad students to take the initiative and advocate for their projects, ensuring that it’s clear it’s being pursued within the context of your lab.

Question: How do you define if something is beneficial for the environment, given the complexities of certain subjects like lab-grown meat?

Answer: The subtlety of defining a problem statement is crucial. It’s about convincing readers that a given issue is significant. 

Also, even if solutions like lab-grown meat may have divided opinions, our core review team contains diverse viewpoints. Our decision-making process is not consensus-based, so if a core review team member feels strongly that a project is valuable, it doesn’t need buy-in from other members in order to be funded..

Question: When applying for funding, how much preliminary data is expected for a project?

Answer: While having some preliminary data can be beneficial, it’s not a strict requirement. The primary goal is to fund projects that might not receive funding elsewhere and help de-risk ideas. Part of that means funding projects that haven’t yet generated much data. However, if you’re in the early stages of a project and you have initial data showing potential, that’s welcomed.

Question: What will happen if different groups or individuals present similar proposals?

Answer: While it’s possible for multiple applications to address the same problem statement, we aim to treat them all independently during the review process.

Question: How are you ensuring equitable distribution of grants?

Answer: Our aim is to be additional, preferring to fund projects that may not receive funding elsewhere. For example, projects from less-resourced labs might receive higher priority than ones from well-established mega labs.

Question: Are purely in silico (computational) projects eligible for funding?

Answer: Yes, we’re open to funding purely in silico projects as long as the problem statement clearly explains why the in silico work contributes to advancing a frontier sustainability challenge.

I represent a funder and would like to support this project

We welcome all interested funders to our growing list of supporters. Please contact Daniel Goodwin (