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Garden Grants Proposal Structure and Guidance

Published onAug 26, 2023
Garden Grants Proposal Structure and Guidance


Proposal overview

Problem statement

Solution statement

Other information to be provided


Funding decision

How to submit a proposal

Proposal Overview

Applications to Homeworld Garden grants have two main sections: the problem statement and the solution statement.

The problem statement (<2400 characters) concisely describes how the proposal’s focus connects to a high-impact sustainability challenge. Problem statements will be reviewed for clarity and impact. Problem statements that pass review will be made public after funding decisions are made, to provide examples of high-impact climate biotech problems. We encourage all applicants to keep their problem statements public; however, applicants who do not receive funding may choose to take their problem statements down.

The solution statement (<6000 characters) describes how the applicant team will address the problem statement. Solution statements are confidential. All sensitive information should be placed in the solution statement.

Problem statement

Each section below has an 800 character limit. References should be embedded links in [#] format, but the reasoning in the problem statement should not rely on the links to make sense. Here is an example, and more examples are in the Homeworld Problem Statement Repository. Any problem statement in the Problem Statement Repository can be copied or modified and submitted to Garden Grants paired with a solution statement.


The Context (max 800 char) frames the big picture. It describes a challenge important to society and a constraint that limits us from addressing the challenge but is too broad to imply the goals of a specific project.


The Significance (max 800 char) describes a possible pathway to address the constraint described in the Context. It then describes another more specific constraint that prevents progress on that pathway, to be addressed by the Goals.


The Goals (max 800 char) describe a set of project outcomes that address the specific constraint described in the Significance and are achievable by one person or a small team. The Goals might seem arcane on their own, but the Significance and Context clarify why they are important in the big picture.

Solution statement

(max 6000 character) Write a technical description of your solution, by which you will achieve the Goals in the problem statement. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Describe the specifics of how you will achieve the Goals, distinguish your work from similar efforts, and discuss the risks of your idea. (We value high-risk, high-reward projects that are “big, if true,” but it is important that applicants show awareness of their project’s risks.)

  • Do not re-state the problem statement. You may, and sometimes should, provide additional details about the how the problem is currently handled.  

  • Beyond funding, what would this project need for success now and after the de-risking has been completed? We want to help your project in all ways possible.

  • Don’t include appendices, links to extra data, etc., because they will not be read. 

  • Be prepared for non-anonymous inline comments from reviewers directly onto your proposal. 

  • Describe the budget by which you will use your funds if awarded. Please provide details here that are too sensitive to provide in the public “Budget” section of the application form.

  • The requested funding amount is factored into the final decision-making process, so be clear that you are focused on the core question or risk. The goal of Garden Grants is to de-risk ideas to unlock next levels of funding.

Other information to be provided


Describe your team and the skills you bring to the work. Who specifically would do this work? Are you an academic team, an individual, a non-profit? (For-profit companies are not eligible.) We do not need CVs, but links to LinkedIn, Google Scholar, or similar are welcome. 

If applicable, tell us what part of this work is new to you professionally. We welcome applications from early-career individuals, new exploration of climate problems by protein engineers, and new collaborations across protein engineering and other domains of climate tech, in addition to proposals from established leaders in climate biotech. 


Provide a target total funding amount. If you do break down the budget further, you are welcome to be vague, as this information will be part of the public part of your proposal. 

Please note that we do consider the amount requested during review; all else equal, projects that require less funding will be favored.

We will pay a maximum of 10% institutional overhead on top of your requested amount, in line with the Gates Foundation precedent, which should be accounted for in your budget.

Project Timeline

Please tell us how long you anticipate the project will take to complete. You are welcome to be vague, as this information will be part of the public part of your proposal.


Please tell us:

  • Have any experiments been done toward this work (it’s ok if not)? 

  • Have you applied for other funding for this project in the past? Is part of this project already funded? (Having been rejected is not bad; if anything, it helps us understand how our funding is additional and that you’ve thought about this idea for a while. We appreciate transparency and do our best to be transparent ourselves.)


The problem statement will be evaluated for impact and clarity.

The confidential section, including the solution statement, will be evaluated by reviewers through inline commenting and scoring. Inline comments will be visible to applicants. Applications will also be scored, based on the following criteria:

  1. Quality: Is the approach well-reasoned, plausible, and novel? Are arguments adequately substantiated? Is the budget well-calibrated for success without bloat?

  2. Importance: Is the proposed work a key step for de-risking or unlocking a path with potential for high impact?

  3. Awareness: Have the applicants identified the risks of their proposal and the relation of their work to other efforts?

  4. Viability: Is the team able to succeed in carrying out this project?

  5. Additionality: Is this project already being pursued elsewhere or a good fit for existing funding sources? 

  6. Holistic Score: The reviewer is asked to give a holistic score based on their overall impression of the proposal.

Funding decision 

The scores and comments given by reviewers will be considered by the Core Review Team, who will determine what projects should be funded based on what aligns with the mission of the Homeworld Garden Grants.

How to submit a proposal

Visit the Garden Grants page on, create a profile, and click ‘Apply for this grant.’

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