The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released the highly anticipated solicitation for the next round of Science and Technology Centers (STC). STCs support complex research and education projects that require large-scale and long-term awards. While this STC competition is open to any area of research NSF supports, the solicitation states that, “Themes consistent with NSF priorities, including such areas as cognitive science and neuroscience, clean energy, and food security, as well as other national priorities are encouraged.” While the STC program is NSF-wide, oversight for each STC is the responsibility of the appropriate research directorate in coordination with NSF’s Office of International and Integrative Activities.
As in past STC competitions, education activities will be an important component with proposed Centers encouraged to focus efforts on specific programs that are appropriately integrated into the research activities of the Center. STCs are further encouraged, but not required, to form collaborations with institutions that serve underrepresented students interested in STEM.
In addition to education and diversity, “PIs are encouraged to exploit aspects of cyberinfrastructure such as high performance computing, data analysis and visualization, and virtual organizations for distributed communities in order to support the science and engineering goals of the Center, and to enable and enhance collaborations and resource sharing among the partner institutions.” Centers are also expected to facilitate knowledge transfer; examples include: technology transfer with the intention of supporting innovation, providing key information to public policy makers, or dissemination of knowledge from one field of science to another.
For more background on the STC program and an analysis of existing Centers, please see Lewis-Burke’s April 2014 analysis of the program following this summary.
Total Funding, Award Size, and Budget Information: Pending funding availability, NSF intends to award $16 million in fiscal year (FY) 2016 for up to four new STCs and $20 million per year for the remaining four years, with the possibility of a five-year renewal. Proposed STC budgets may range up to $4 million in the first year and $5 million per year thereafter—preliminary and invited full proposals beyond this range will not be reviewed. The inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited; however, proposals will in part be judged on having appropriate institutional commitments to carry out the proposed research.
Eligibility: Preliminary and invited full proposals may be submitted by U.S. academic institutions with doctoral degree-granting research and education programs in any area of research supported by NSF. The Center proposal must be led by a faculty member at the lead institution.
Institution and PI Limitations: An institution may submit up to three preliminary proposals as the lead institution; however, NSF will not support more than one Center from any lead institution in this competition. There is no limit on the number of proposals in which an organization participates as a partner.
A PI or co-PI on one proposal in this competition may not be a participant in another STC proposal in the same competition. Should a proposal be declined at any stage, a PI or co-PI on the declined proposal may then participate in another STC proposal. The solicitation further states that past members of STCs may participate only if the themes “are substantially different from those they pursued with prior NSF Center support.”
Partners: Lead institutions are expected to develop partnerships with other organizations, such as: other universities and colleges, national laboratories, research museums, private sector research laboratories, state and local government laboratories, and international organizations as appropriate. While not every partner must support all Center activities, all of the expected features of the Center must be accomplished through the partners’ activities. NSF further encourages, but does not require, international dimensions. Although not required by NSF, STCs are strongly encouraged to build “substantive and long-term” partnerships with institutions that serve underrepresented students interested in STEM.
Preliminary Proposals: Preliminary proposals are required and are due December 11, 2014.NSF will not review any proposals that are duplicative or substantially similar to proposals submitted to other NSF programs.
Full Proposals: NSF will accept full proposals by invitation only. For those invited, full proposals will be due June 16, 2015. Recommended awards are expected to be announced by April 15, 2016.
Funding Opportunity: NSF Releases Solicitation for Fifth PIRE Competition
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – July 22, 2014
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released the long-awaited solicitation for its fifth Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) competition. PIRE, first competed in 2005, is NSF’s signature international research and education program. In contrast to the last round, the 2014 competition is open to proposals from all science and engineering disciplines supported by NSF. The 2012 iteration of PIRE was limited to NSF’s Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) initiative. This round of PIRE also follows a reorganization of NSF’s international activities that resulted in the merger of the Office of International Science and Engineering with the Office of Integrative Activities to form a new Office of International and Integrative Activities (IIA). The creation of IIA came amidst a desire to decentralize NSF’s international activities and better integrate them across NSF directorates and programs.
According to NSF, the purpose of PIRE is to “support high quality projects in which advances in research and education could not occur without international collaboration.” NSF reiterates throughout the solicitation that while applicants are afforded wide authority to propose projects in a range of topic areas, a clear case must be made for how international collaborations are defining characteristics of the project. Further, while NSF says it will accept proposals in any area of supported research or education, it encourages those that are interdisciplinary. Also of interest to potential applicants, NSF stresses throughout the solicitation that educational impacts will factor into proposal evaluation and applicants must demonstrate how projects would support a diverse, globally-engaged science and engineering workforce. As with other NSF programs, PIRE proposals must address the agency’s Broader Impacts criteria to receive funding. NSF encourages proposals that involve early career researchers and individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering.
Similar to the autonomy provided to applicants in selecting topic areas, NSF allows investigators to select collaborators from the country of their choosing. However, the solicitation contains information on commitments from many of NSF’s international counterparts to supplement NSF funding for the competition. Partner countries have made varying commitments to the program and will have different levels of involvement in the proposal review process. Some of NSF’s international partners will be involved beginning with the initial review of pre-proposals while others will not engage until after final award decisions are made. Complete details of participating countries and their arrangements with NSF are in the full solicitation.
Preliminary Proposals: Given the immense interest in PIRE, NSF requires that all applicants submit preliminary proposals to outline intended projects. Preliminary proposals are due to NSF by October 21, 2014.
Full Proposals: Following review of preliminary proposals, NSF will accept full proposals by invitation only. For those invited, full proposals will be due May 15, 2015.
Total Funding and Award Size: NSF intends to award a total of $10 million-$15 million for this round of PIRE. Pending the availability of funds, NSF will make average awards of approximately $4 million over five years.
Eligibility and Proposal Limitations: NSF states that proposals may be submitted by U.S. academic institutions with Ph.D.-granting programs that have awarded doctoral degrees in the 2012 or 2013 academic years in any area of research supported by NSF. Note that universities are limited to one proposal as the lead institution. There are no limits on the number of proposals per principal investigator or co-principal investigator.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released
the first solicitation for the NSF Research Traineeship Program (NRT), a new
graduate education initiative that replaces the longstanding Integrative
Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT).
The objective of NRT is to innovate interdisciplinary,
transformative models for STEM graduate education in order to prepare the
scientists and engineers of the future. NRT is intended to build on IGERT but
additionally includes “training for multiple career pathways, rotating priority
research themes, inclusion of both master’s and doctoral students, a broader
definition of trainees, and greater budgetary and programmatic flexibility”.
Unlike IGERT, the new NRT program has specific research
themes that will rotate every two to three years, with the initial focus on
Data Enabled-Science and Engineering (DESE). Proposals are also invited
from other interdisciplinary themes as long as they connect to national
research priorities and “have high potential for development of innovative
practices in graduate education.”
Letters of Intent: Optional letters of intent are due
May 20, 2014. While optional, NSF requests that letters of intent be
submitted to help NSF gauge estimated proposals submissions and review
Due Date: Full proposals are due June 24, 2014.
The solicitation only covers 2014, but future solicitations are expected.
Total Funding and Award Size: NRT awards are expected
to be up to five years in duration with a maximum budget of $3,000,000.
NSF anticipates awarding between eight to ten NRT grants with total program
funding of $24,000,000 to $30,000,000.
Eligibility and Limitations: Unlike IGERT, the NRT
program is open to graduate students in research-based master’s and
doctoral degree programs.NRT stipends and cost-of-education
allowances are limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However,
international students can be trainees in a NRT program and participate fully
in NRT training elements or activities.
Institutions can submit up to two proposals. If an
institution supports only one proposal, it can be in either DESE or another theme.
If an institution submits two proposals, at least one must be in DESE.
Additionally, an individual may serve as the Lead Principal Investigator (PI)
or Co-PI on only one NRT proposal, however, the PI or a Co-PI of a proposal may
serve as a faculty participant on other NRT proposals submitted.
The purpose of the SCRI program is to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by awarding grants to support research and extension that address key challenges of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including conventional and organic food production systems. Projects must address at least one of five focus areas: Research in plant breeding, genetics, genomics, and other methods to improve crop characteristics; Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators; Efforts to improve production efficiency, handling and processing, productivity, and profitability over the long term (including specialty crop policy and marketing); new innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening; and methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production efficiency, handling and processing of specialty crops.
For-profit Organizations Other Than Small Businesses
Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed
Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed
Other or Additional Information (See below)
Private Institutions of Higher Ed
State Agricultural Experiment Stations
State Controlled Institutions of Higher Ed
More Information on Eligibility
For the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), applications may be submitted by Federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, Cooperative Extension Services, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.
Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI)
The OREI seeks to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities. The purpose of this program is to fund projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. Priority concerns include biological, physical, and social sciences, including economics. The OREI is particularly interested in projects that emphasize research, education and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning by delivering practical research-based information. Projects should plan to deliver applied production information to producers. Fieldwork must be done on certified organic land or on land in transition to organic certification, as appropriate to project goals and objectives. Refer to the USDA National Organic Program (http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop) for organic production standards.
Who Is Eligible to Apply
1862 Land-Grant Institutions
1890 Land-Grant Institutions
1994 Land-Grant Institutions
For-profit Organizations Other Than Small Businesses
Other or Additional Information (See below)
Private Institutions of Higher Ed
State Agricultural Experiment Stations
State Controlled Institutions of Higher Ed
More Information on Eligibility
The following entities are eligible: 1. State agricultural experiment stations; 2. colleges and universities; 3. university research foundations; 4. other research institutions and organizations; 5. Federal agencies; 6. national laboratories; 7. private organizations or corporations; 8. individuals who are United States citizens or nationals; or 9. any group consisting of 2 or more of the entities described in subparagraphs (1) through (8).
Posted By Tyrone Spady,
Monday, February 24, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – February 24, 2014
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI’s) new Water for Agriculture program. AFRI is NIFA’s main competitive extramural grants program and it aims to award a total of $30 million in fiscal years (FYs) 2014-2018 for this program, with $6 million slated for this first round in FY 2014.
The release of the Water for Agriculture RFA builds upon the Obama Administration’s efforts to address and to draw attention to climate change and related impacts as well as the California drought. In a press release today, Secretary Vilsack noted NIFA will fund three main topic areas:
1. "Ensuring the water security of surface and ground water needed to produce agricultural goods and services;
2. "Improving nutrient management in agricultural landscapes focused on nitrogen and phosphorous; and
3. "Reducing impacts of chemicals and the presence and movement of environmental pathogens in the nation’s water supply.”
This new Water for Agriculture program was first floated to the scientific community in July 2013 when NIFA held a stakeholder listening webinar on the topic. According to the RFA, "NIFA will solicit integrated CAP [Coordinated Agricultural Project], FASE [Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement], and conference award types, with a focus on regional scales.” NIFA emphasizes this program will leverage existing efforts in its other related challenge areas of Agricultural Production and Climate Change as well as Sustainable Bioenergy. Additionally, the program will "focus on developing solutions for water management that link food, water, climate, energy and environmental issues [and] funding will be used to develop management practices, technologies, and tools for farmers, ranchers, forest owners and managers, public decision-makers, public and private managers and citizens.” There is also an emphasis on social sciences.
NIFA also announced today it will release solicitations for the National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP) this spring.
Letters of Intent: Letters of Intent are required and are due April 17, 2014.
Application Deadline: Applications are due on August 13, 2014.
Total Funding and Award Size: NIFA is soliciting only CAP, FASE, and Conference grants. CAP grants are capped at $1 million per year for up to five years for a total of $5 million. Conference grants may not exceed $50,000.
Eligibility and Limitations: Eligible applicants include institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations.
Sources and Additional Background:
• The RFA is available at http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/pdfs/14_afri_final_water_feb_21.pdf.
• USDA’s press release is available at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2014/02/0027.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces its intention to continue to support plant genome research through the Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP). Since its inception in 1998 as part of the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI), the NSF PGRP has followed the long-range plans for the NPGI and, working closely with the other agencies participating in the NPGI, has contributed to tremendous advances in plant genomics and plant sciences. The program is currently following the third five-year plan (National Plant Genome Initiative: 2009-2013;http://www.nsf.gov/bio/pubs/reports/npgi_five_year_plan_2009_2013.pdf). Following the goals set out in this plan, the PGRP encourages new, innovative ideas in the form of basic research and tool development projects that will advance the whole field of plant biology and accelerate basic discovery and innovation in economically important crop plants to meet societal needs. Potentially high-risk, high-payoff proposals or proposals that present unconventional ideas are especially encouraged. The list of ongoing projects available at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5338&org=BIO should be consulted to ensure that, if funded, a planned project would make a significantly new scientific contribution to the field.
Proposals that focus on individual genes or gene families should be sent to other BIO programs (see web pages available through http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=BIO for listing of programs and funding opportunities). Proposers are strongly encouraged to contact a Program Director prior to submission to determine the suitability of the project for the PGRP.
Simultaneous submission of proposals to this program and another federal agency is permissible with prior written approval of the agencies involved. A proposal from the same submitter that is a duplicate of, or substantially similar to, a proposal already under consideration by NSF will be returned without review.
II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
In the sixteen years since the NPGI and the PGRP began, a wealth of genomic resources has been developed for plant biology. Using these resources and building on the advances that have been made in technology development and bioinformatics, it is now possible to address fundamental questions in plant biology and begin to achieve a systems-level understanding of economically important plant processes. This is achievable in the context of the physiology of the plant in a changing environment and will allow improvement of the practice of agriculture, reduction of the demands on environmental resources, and addressing of challenges posed by global climate change. In addition, new tools and methodologies continue to be needed to advance the field of plant biology as well as to tackle questions that are intractable using current approaches. There continues to be a critical need for training in the use of these new tools and technologies, especially for those scientists who possess expertise in traditional fields of plant biology, such as plant anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.
Activities in four focus areas will be supported in FY 2014: (1) Genomics-empowered plant research to tackle fundamental questions in plant sciences on a genome-wide scale; (2) Development of tools and resources for plant genome research including novel technologies and analysis tools to enable discovery; (3) Mid-Career Investigator Awards in Plant Genome Research (MCA-PGR) to increase participation of investigators trained primarily in fields other than plant genomics; and, (4) Advancing Basic Research in Economically Important Crop Plants (ABR-PG) to develop sequence resources that are critically needed to enable or advance basic research in crop plants.
Proposals are solicited from single investigators, small groups, or multi-institution "virtual centers." To be eligible, projects should include significant research activities in a crop plant(s) and be developed on a whole genome, whole organelle or whole network scale. The scale of the project in terms of personnel and budget should be developed in the context of the proposed activities. The management plan should be appropriate for the proposed activities and a carefully developed budget, research plan and timetable will strengthen a proposal. Proposers are encouraged to think "outside the box" and to put forward imaginative and creative ideas, selecting the experimental systems best suited to the research focus and taking advantage of all available genomics tools and resources. This could include the limited use of model plant systems to rapidly test hypotheses and/or gene function. Proposers should clearly justify the relevance of the research activities to the overarching goals of the PGRP as well as their potential downstream impacts. Proposals focused entirely on the use of a non-crop model plant system are more appropriate for funding through other programs at NSF (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_list.jsp?org=BIO&ord=rect).
The PGRP is committed to broadening participation and the available research tools and resources should enable any institution to take part in plant genome research. New investigators and investigators who have not participated in the PGRP in the past, or are from small institutions, are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal. Individuals and small groups of investigators from Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUI), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) are especially encouraged to apply. The PGRP encourages proposals from early-career investigators and also considers proposals submitted to the CAREER program (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503214). New investigators or mid-career investigators considering submission of a proposal for training in the use of genomic tools/approaches are strongly encouraged to contact a PGRP Program Director for further guidance.
Focus Areas for FY 2014
Genomics-empowered plant research to tackle fundamental questions in plant sciences on a genome-wide scale
The whole field of plant biology is being advanced by increased use of the new tools and resources that have become available through the NPGI. While there still remain some large community resources to be built, those available now are more than sufficient to address many of the major unanswered questions in plant biology, some of which have not been tractable using traditional approaches. In keeping with the focus of the PGRP, projects should be developed on a whole genome, whole organelle or whole network scale. In FY 2014, proposals are especially encouraged in the following areas:
Development of a genome-level understanding to link genes and pathways to physiological functions and phenotypes in crop plants
Development of a genome to systems-level understanding of plant-environmental interactions, especially with respect to adaptation to climate change and response to abiotic and biotic stresses
Systems-level approaches to understanding the interaction between the genome and the epigenome in the regulation of economically important processes in crop plants
Development of tools and resources for plant genome research including novel technologies and analysis tools to enable discovery
While tremendous advances have been made in the development of tools and technologies for plant genome research, there still remains a need for additional resources, particularly for innovations in high-throughput, high resolution phenotyping platforms to alleviate the constraint for effective utilization of genomics data and tools in the study of plants and plant processes. Proposers are encouraged to develop novel approaches focused on a specific problem or need. Potentially high-risk, high-payoff proposals or proposals that present unconventional ideas are welcomed. Priority will be given to the development of new or novel tools that are likely to contribute broadly to the advancement of the field of plant genomics. In FY 2014, proposals are especially encouraged in the following areas:
Improved tools for data integration and analysis, especially to enable linkage of sequence data with data generated using high throughput phenotyping, proteomic and metabolomic technologies
Novel methodologies for high-throughput, semi-automated and automated plant phenotyping, especially under field conditions and over time
Improved tools for high-throughput gene function analysis and validation, especially to enable targeted manipulation of plant gene activity required to test novel hypotheses
Improved tools for genome sequence assembly and analysis to enable effective use of data produced by next- generation sequencing technologies in the absence of physical maps
Improved data visualization tools
Use of model systems in the development of tools and technologies is allowed if it is clear that the tools and technologies developed would be widely applicable for use in plants of economic importance.
Projects that focus on development of community resources, either through production of research resources or novel tools or establishment of a service, must be justified in terms of potential demand, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. The plans for release of project outcomes, including the timing and form of released resources, tools or materials, must be described explicitly along with the terms of access. If appropriate, plans for continued maintenance or operation of such a service after the award should be described without assuming long-term NSF support.
Mid-Career Investigator Awards in Plant Genome Research (MCA-PGR)
New ideas, approaches and technologies are needed to advance the field of plant genomics to meet societal needs. Opportunities for mid-career plant researchers/scientists to move into genomics, or adopt genomics tools and technologies to solve relevant questions will greatly enhance the whole field. The PGRP continues to offer the Mid-Career Investigator Awards in Plant Genome Research (MCA-PGR) opportunity which seeks to increase participation of mid-career investigators primarily trained in fields other than plant genomics. Especially encouraged are proposals from investigators trained in plant anatomy, physiology or biochemistry. A "mid-career" investigator is defined here as any researcher who is post-tenure and not retired. Mid-career investigators trained in genomics of non-plant systems, informatics, and other disciplines that are critical to advancing the field of plant genome research (engineering, mathematics/statistics, physiology and quantitative genetics), are also encouraged to apply. Proposals submitted to the MCA-PGR opportunity should have a research theme that is consistent with the overall goals of the PGRP as well as critical training components proposed for the applicant. Proposers are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to develop new curriculum or course offerings that build on outcomes of the MCA-PGR activities.
NSF expects that MCA-PGR projects will take full advantage of data, materials, information, expertise, and facilities available through PGRP funded projects. Whenever appropriate, the applicant should network with existing PGRP-supported activities (consult http://www.nsf.gov/bio/pubs/awards/pgr.htm?WT.si_n=ClickedAbstractsRecentAwards&WT.si_x=1&WT.si_cs=1&WT.z_pims_id=5338& for a list of active projects). Funds may be requested to support research visits to existing PGRP-supported laboratories, for participation in training opportunities offered by existing PGRP projects, and for use of genome research facilities not available at the applicant's institution. If necessary, funds may also be requested for salary support of the applicant during the training period(s).
Investigators interested in the MCA-PGR opportunity are strongly encouraged to contact a Program Director for further guidance prior to submission of a proposal.
Advancing Basic Research in Economically Important Crop Plants (ABR-PG)
Over its sixteen-year history as part of the NPGI, the PGRP has supported the development of tools and biological resources that have enabled plant genomics communities to generate significant new insight into economically important plant pathways and processes through basic research. Advances in next generation sequencing technologies and public access to computational tools provide an opportunity for the PGRP to cost-effectively and strategically add sequence resources that would enable basic research in currently underfunded or understudied crop plants. The Advancing Basic Research in Plants of Economic Importance opportunity (ABR-PG) specifically solicits proposals that focus on biological questions in crop plant systems that could be addressed using a particular sequence or sequences. Sequence resources may include, but are not limited to, whole genome sequences, survey sequences, physical maps, and sequences that could improve genome annotations and assemblies Proposers must provide clear justification for the plant or plants selected, the type of resources to be generated and why the resources are essential to the specific question being posed. Any crop plant system may be chosen as long as it is well justified for the proposed research and the outcomes of the research will advance the goals of the PGRP. Amounts of up to $1,500,000 total for a period of up to two years may be requested for an ABR-PG project. Proposals must describe clearly how the sequence data will be disseminated and accessible to the public. Proposers are encouraged to consider the available resources and to leverage existing resources as much as possible. If other projects are under way that have overlapping goals, including international projects, proposers should present a clear plan for coordination.
Proposals are solicited from single investigators, small groups, and multi -institution "virtual centers". The scale of the project in terms of personnel and budget should be consistent with the proposed activities. The management plan should be appropriate for the proposed activities and a carefully developed budget, research plan, and timetable will strengthen a proposal. The plans for release of project outcomes, including the timing and form of release, must be described explicitly along with the terms of access.
Additional Considerations as Appropriate
Integration of Research and Education and Broadening Participation
Activities supported by the PGRP should provide an ideal environment for training of young scientists in modern research technologies, introducing them to new paradigms in plant biology, and promoting increased participation by members of under-represented groups. Informatics skills are critical to making the maximum use of genome resources. Accordingly, proposers are expected to integrate these kinds of training into their projects at all levels, wherever appropriate. NSF expects proposers to take advantage of the unique opportunities the proposed project provides in terms of education and incorporate these into the plan at a scale that is commensurate with the scale of the proposed activity. Focused activities that fit well with the specific opportunities offered by the project would be viewed as a strength. Proposers are encouraged to take advantage of existing programs and networks where appropriate, building in additional opportunities unique to the project's research goals. New activities that link and/or enhance ongoing PGRP-supported training and outreach efforts and enable them to increase visibility and impact are encouraged.
Massive amounts of data continue to be generated through PGRP activities. Proposers are strongly encouraged to consider their project outcomes in the context of the whole field of plant biology and ensure maximal accessibility and visibility. Outcomes are expected to meet current community standards for genomic data and to be deposited into existing long-lived community databases where appropriate. Projects that produce resources of utility to other researchers, whether part of a large-scale community resource project or not, are expected to release outcomes as soon as appropriate, once specified quality standards have been met.
Plant genome research is actively pursued all over the world. The PGRP encourages international research collaborations, particularly with investigators from developing countries, and especially where there is a common research focus or system. When applicable, the proposed research activities should be coordinated with similar efforts in other countries to maximize efficiency and avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.
It is expected that non-US participants will secure support for their component of the collaboration from their own national programs. The PI is encouraged to contact a PGRP Program Director for guidance regarding allowable costs when considering international collaborations.
Private industry has already made significant investments in plant genomic research. Innovative collaborations with industry are encouraged when they advance the goals of the PGRP. However, NSF funds may not be used to support the industrial collaborators. Participation of a company as a provider of a service should be managed according to the submitting institution's procurement policy. When private industry is involved, the proposer is responsible for ensuring that any intellectual property issues are handled according to NSF Policy (see section A-1 under Special Information and Supplementary Documentation below).
Finally, proposers are encouraged to consider inclusion of activities described in the Dear Colleague Letter for Developing Country Collaborations in Plant Genome Research (NSF 04-563:http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf04563). Proposed collaborative activities should focus on research problems important to developing countries that include scientist-to-scientist interactions potentially leading to long-term partnerships among participating laboratories. The exchange of ideas and people should be reciprocal and should be built on equal partnerships between U.S. scientists and scientists of developing nations. Examples of activities to be supported would include, but not be limited to, joint research projects and long-term (one year) or short-term (between one and three months) reciprocal exchange visits. Collaborations should be developed that bring complementary sets of expertise to bear on problems of importance to the participants from developing countries and that meet their identified needs. The described activities should meet the budgetary and organizational guidelines described in the Dear Colleague Letter.
Proposers are encouraged to contact a Program Director about the suitability of the activity for PGRP support prior to submission of these types of proposals.
Supplemental Funding Requests
March 1 annually (or next business day if that is a weekend or holiday) is the target date for most IOS programs for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Research Experiences for Teachers (RET), Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS), and Research Opportunity Award (ROA) supplement requests as well as proposals for Conferences, Symposia and Workshops (Meetings). Please note that supplemental funding is intended for unanticipated opportunities only and should be justified on this basis. Guidance for IOS PIs preparing supplemental requests is posted at http://www.nsf.gov/bio/ios/suppopp.jsp. Proposers are encouraged to contact a Program Director about the suitability of the activity for PGRP support prior to submission of supplement proposals. Requests for support of planned REU, RET, RAHSS, and ROA activities can be included in full proposals submitted in response to this solicitation. Proposers should follow guidance in the current REU solicitation (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13542/nsf13542.pdf) when including a request for a supplement (REU, RET, RAHSS or ROA) as part of the proposal.
Conferences, Workshops and Symposia
The PGRP supports conferences, symposia and workshops in plant genomics that bring experts together to discuss current research, to expose other researchers or students to new research methods and approaches, and to discuss future directions of major research activities in plant genomics and bioinformatics. Conferences will be supported only if equivalent results cannot be achieved at regular meetings of professional societies or an established conference series. More information about submission of these proposals can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg. Proposers are encouraged to contact a Program Director prior to submission of these types of proposals.
EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER)
The EAGER funding mechanism may be used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This work may be considered especially "high risk-high payoff" in the sense that it, for example, involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. These exploratory proposals may also be submitted directly to an NSF program, but the EAGER mechanism should not be used for projects that are appropriate for submission as "regular" (i.e., non-EAGER) NSF proposals. PI(s) must contact the NSF program officer(s) whose expertise is most germane to the proposal topic prior to submission of an EAGER proposal. This will aid in determining the appropriateness of the work for consideration under the EAGER mechanism; this suitability must be assessed early in the process. For guidelines, see the most recent version of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg).
Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID)
The RAPID funding mechanism is used for proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment, including quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events. PI(s) must contact the NSF program officer(s) whose expertise is most germane to the proposal topic before submitting a RAPID proposal. This will facilitate determining whether the proposed work is appropriate for RAPID funding. For guidelines, see the most recent version of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg).
Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI)
Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) promotes university-industry partnerships by making project funds or fellowships/traineeships available to support an eclectic mix of industry-university linkages. Special interest is focused on affording the opportunity for:
Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students to conduct research and gain experience in an industrial setting;
Industrial scientists and engineers to bring industry's perspective and integrative skills to academe; and,
Interdisciplinary university-industry teams to conduct research projects.
GOALI targets high-risk/high-gain research with a focus on fundamental research, new approaches to solving generic problems, development of innovative collaborative industry-university educational programs, and direct transfer of new knowledge between academe and industry. GOALI seeks to fund transformative research that lies beyond that which industry would normally fund. More information can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504699.
Associates LLC – On December 11, 2013, the
European Union (EU) launched its new program to support research and innovation
entitled, Horizon 2020. Horizon 2020 will run from 2014 to 2020,
with a budget of over $109 billion and replaces the Framework Program Seven
(FP7). While Horizon 2020 has been developed to help drive research,
innovation, and economic growth within the EU, there are some funding
opportunities available directly for U.S. researchers. Eligibility varies
for each program and individual solicitations; therefore, researchers must
check funding opportunities in their research area to determine
eligibility. Horizon 2020 also provides the opportunity for U.S.
researchers to collaborate with major EU research projects through new or
existing awards from U.S. funding agencies.
Horizon 2020 has three main
program sections: Excellent Science,
Industrial Leadership, and
Societal Challenges. More detail on
the program sections is provided below:
· Excellent Science includes the following
European Research Council (ERC) – to support
individual researchers from anywhere in the world carry out transformative,
multi-disciplinary research in new and emerging fields; researchers must be
based at an eligible EU research organization to carry out their project
Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) – aims to
transfer the knowledge created within the EU science base into a competitive
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) – supports
transnational, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary mobility for all stages of
the research career
European Research Infrastructures, including
e-Infrastructures – supports the implementation and operation of the European
Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) roadmap and other
world-class research infrastructures
· Industrial Leadership aims to increase the speed
of development of new technologies and innovations to support tomorrow’s
business; it includes the following programs:
Information and Communication Technologies
Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Advanced
Manufacturing and Processing, and Biotechnology
· Societal Challenges provides a challenge-based approach
to bring together resources and expertise across different fields, technologies
and disciplines, and includes the following programs:
Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing
Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and
Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy
Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy
Smart, Green and Integrated Transport
Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency
and Raw Materials
Europe in a changing world - Inclusive,
innovative and reflective societies
Secure societies – Protecting freedom and
security of Europe and its citizens
Due Dates: Due dates for Horizon 2020
funding programs vary. Please see the relevant call information for
Total Funding and Award Size: Total
funding of $109 billion (€80 billion) is available over the seven year period,
with $10.7 billion (€7.8 billion) available for 2014. More information on
funding levels for the 2014 first set of calls is available at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-1122_en.htm.
Eligibility and Limitations: A majority of
funding opportunities are focused towards EU researchers. Certain
programs and funding calls are available to U.S. researchers.
Sources and Additional Resources:
The Horizon 2020 website is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/.
The press release on the launch of Horizon 2020
is available at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1232_en.htm.
More information on
current funding opportunities is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/index.html.
The United States of Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today released the request for applications (RFA) for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Program. In fiscal year 2014, NIFA plans to award approximately $82 million to support the AFRI Foundational Program.
The AFRI Foundational Program addresses six priority areas to continue building a foundation of knowledge in fundamental and applied food and agricultural sciences that are critical for solving current and future societal challenges. The six priority areas include: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities.
The fiscal year 2014 RFA will feature two new programs intended to address critical and emerging issues. The Exploratory Research Program (ERP) addresses new challenges that in food security, climate change, environmental quality and natural resources, nutrition, obesity, food safety, strong families and vibrant communities, and thriving youth. The program seeks to find innovative ideas that will position U.S. agriculture at the global forefront. ERP grants will be funded up to $100,000 for one year. The Critical Agriculture Research and Extension (CARE) program seeks to address critical problems that continue to impede the efficient production and protection of plants and animals. Funded projects will quickly yield solutions or practices that can be rapidly implemented by producers. CARE will fund projects up to $150,000 for three years.
AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grants program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. NIFA anticipates the amount available for AFRI Program in fiscal year 2014 will be approximately $275 million. This amount is based on the temporary appropriations, which provide funds through January 15, 2014. Adjustments will be made to program allocations once the fiscal year 2014 appropriations are finalized. AFRI will make awards in four challenge areas: food safety, food security, childhood obesity prevention, and a new challenge area, water for agriculture. The AFRI challenge areas will continue to support societal challenge areas where research, education, and Extension can achieve significant and measurable outcomes. The NIFA Fellowships Grants program will also be offered again to provide opportunities for training and workforce development through pre and postdoctoral fellowships in the agricultural sciences.
All AFRI program information, including the RFAs, is available online. Visit www.nifa.usda.gov/afri for more information.
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is available at: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2013news/12231_afri.html.
Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC,
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter
announcing a funding opportunity from the Belmont Forum
and the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security, and Climate
Change (FACCE-JPI). The Belmont Forum is supported by the G8 and
emerging economies’ heads of research councils with the purpose of bringing
together major funders of research on global environmental change;NSF is
the U.S. representative to the Belmont Forum.
For this solicitation, the focus is on the
issues of "food security and land use change that are best addressed through a
coupled interdisciplinary and multinational approach.” The Dear Colleague
Letter stresses that teams should include social/economic scientists as part of
their interdisciplinary makeup. Proposals from institutions within the
United States must collaborate with scientists from two other participating
countries (a list of participating countries is available at http://igfagcr.org/index.php/national-contact-points).
This solicitation concentrates on three
topics; proposals may address at least one topic or up to all three:
"Land use change impacts on food systems;
Food systems dynamics as driver of land use changes; and
Feedback loop interactions between land use change and food security dynamics."
Furthermore, this particular solicitation
offers two types of projects:
Projects (Type 1) – Projects should be
short-term, exploratory projects that focus on "networking, capacity building,
co-design of research questions and co-building methodologies.”
Integrated Projects(Type 2) –
Projects should aim to enhance the understanding of natural and human systems
as they relate to food security and land use. Not only is stakeholder
involvement essential, the solicitation states "a clear plan for how the
results would be used” is also required.
The Belmont Forum last released solicitations
in spring 2012 on the topics of freshwater security and coastal
vulnerability. From those solicitations, which required pre-proposals, 25
were invited to submit full proposals for coastal vulnerability and 30 were
invited for freshwater security. In October 2012 at NSF’s Geosciences
Advisory Committee meeting, it was noted that potential future topics for
Belmont Forum solicitations could include food security and urban megacities.
Letters of Intent: Not applicable.
Due Dates:Type 1 proposals are due September 30.
Type 2 pre-proposals are due September 30, with invited full proposals due
February 28, 2014.
Total Funding and Award Size:NSF expects eight to ten
proposals will be awarded for Type 1 and one to three proposals will be awarded
for Type 2. Type 1 proposals will be funded for 12-18 months for up to
$300,000 total, whereas Type 2 proposals will be awarded for three to five
years with up to $3 million total. There is a total of €10 million ($13.3
million) available for the competition.
Eligibility and Limitations: Researchers may only be part
of one proposal, whether it be Type 1 or Type 2.