April 20, 2010
This is the fourth in a series of articles drilling down into some sections of the six Request for Applications (RFAs) recently released by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for the 2010 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Check out the third post about Climate Change and Conventional Breeding. Over the course of this week, keep an eye out for the final post about research opportunities in food safety.
Adapted from the SCOAR (Scientific Congress on Organic Agricultural Research) Bulletin.
The word “organic” appears only twice within the hundreds of pages of the AFRI RFA; however, opportunities may exist for organic researchers to compete for these funds. Several program areas offer multi-million dollar funding for projects of up to five years.
AFRI programs are currently seeking qualified experts to serve on review panels. If you do not plan to apply for a grant in 2010, consider serving on a review panel.
Space for organic projects most obviously appears in the Foundational Program and the Climate Change, Global Food Security, and Food Safety Challenge Areas. The enterprising researcher also may find some opportunities in the Childhood Obesity Prevention or Sustainable Bioenergy Challenge Areas.
Most program areas require a letter of intent submission as early as mid-April through the end of May. Full proposals are generally due 2 to 3 months later. Specific deadlines vary by program area.
The original SCOAR bulletin outlines specific program areas that hold the most potential for organic research.
Depending on program area, grants may be offered for research, education, extension, or integrated projects that combine research, education, and extension objectives.
Access the full RFAs.
On a related note, USDA is proposing to cut $5 million from the 2011 budget for federal funds specifically allocated to the Organic Transitions research program while suggesting that AFRI funds will make up the difference. NSAC opposes this termination and is cautiously optimistic that Congress will, as it has repeatedly in the past, reject this Administration proposal.