Overview of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative

Report
Introduction to Competitive Grant Programs
And Tips for Success
Mark Poth, PhD
Waterfront Reconfiguration
NIFA ORGANIZATION
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR
INSTITUTE
OF FOOD
PRODUCTION AND
SUSTAINABILITY
INSTITUTE OF
BIOENERGY,
CLIMATE, AND
ENVIRONMENT
INSTITUTE
INSTITUTE OF
OF YOUTH,
FOOD SAFETY
AND NUTRITION FAMILY, AND
COMMUNITY
OFFICE OF
GRANTS AND
FINANCIAL
MANAGEMENT
OFFICE OF
INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY
Division of
Animal Systems
Division of
Bioenergy
Division of
Food Safety
Division of
Global Climate
Change
Division of
Nutrition
Awards
Management
Division
Applications
Division
Division of
Plant Systems –
Protection
Division of
Community
and Education
Division of
Youth and 4-H
Division of
Plant Systems –
Production
Division of
Environmental
Systems
Policy
and Oversight
Division
Division of
Agricultural
Systems
Division of
Family and
Consumer
Sciences
Financial
Operations
Division
EQUAL
OPPORTUNITY
STAFF
Budget Staff
Communications
Staff
Operations and
Administrative
Systems Division Planning,
Accountability,
Information,
Policy, Planning, And Reporting
Staff
and Training
Division
Center For
International
Programs
TOM VILSACK
Secretary, USDA
DR. CATHERINE
WOTEKI
DR. SONNY
RAMASWAMY
Under Secretary,
Research, Education,
and Economics (REE)
and USDA Chief
Scientist
Director, NIFA
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
(NIFA) established by the 2008 Farm Bill
• Research enables us to develop the knowledge
needed to solve many of the issues facing our
nation
• Education strengthens schools and universities
to train the next generation of scientists,
educators, producers, and citizens
• Extension brings the knowledge gained through
research and education to the people who need it
most – in the United States and around the world
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
(NIFA)
• Integration brings the three components of
the agricultural knowledge system
(research, education, and extension)
together around a problem area or activity.
Integration occurs when the components
complement one another and are truly
necessary for the ultimate success of the
project or program.
Over 30 Different Competitive Programs
(some examples)
• Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
($264M)
• Specialty Crop Research Initiative ($40M)
• NIFA Fellows (Pre-Doc and Post Doc at $7M)
• Small Business Innovation Research ($18M)
• Biotechnology Risk ($3M)
• Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education ($10M)
Keys to Competitive Success
• Understand NIFA mission
• Explore the full range of programs
– Many options (find your advantage!)
• Communicate with the National Program Leader
or Leaders in your area of interest
• Persistent Participation
– Ad hoc Reviewer to Panelist
– Grantsmanship Workshops
– Applicant to Project Director!
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
Finding Your
Competitive Advantage
Who Gets Agriculture and Food
Research Initiative Grants?
FY 2010 Success Rates proportional to Applications Rates!
1. Land Grant Universities: 80% of applications and
75% of grants
2. Non-Land Grant Public Universities: 5% of
applications and 5% of grants
3. Private Colleges/Universities: 5% of applications and
7% of grants
4. Private Research Organizations: 4% of applications
and 4% of grants
5. Others (federal, Industry, Individual): the balance
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
Foundational Program RFA: estimated $70 M
for FY2012
1.
2.
3.
4.
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
5. Agriculture Systems and Technology
6. Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
Five Challenge Area RFAs (funding levels TBD)
and include Coordinated Agricultural Projects
(CAPS)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Climate Change
Global Food Security
Food Safety
Sustainable Bioenergy
Letters of Intent
• Required for most program areas.
• Take care to follow the guidelines (PDF!).
• Applications submitted without a prior Letter of
Intent submission will not be reviewed.
Food and Agricultural Science
Enhancement (FASE) Grants:
•
•
•
•
Pre-doctoral Fellowship Grants
Postdoctoral Fellowship Grants
New Investigator Grants (Restricted eligibility)
Strengthening Grants (Restricted eligibility)
–
–
–
–
Sabbatical Grants
Equipment Grants
Seed Grants
Strengthening Standard and Strengthening CAP
Grants
Understanding the level of competition
in AFRI
• Programs get about 100 proposals
• Will fund about 20
• So my chances of getting funded are about
20%...right?
• WRONG! Your chances are much higher if you
are eligible for the AFRI Food and Agricultural
Science Enhancement (FASE) Program!
Agriculture and Food Research
Initiative: FASE Strengthening Awards
-Funded from 7.5% set aside from AFRI
appropriation ( that’s 7.5% of $264 million in
FY2012! Or over $19 million)
- Eligibility limited to EPSCoR states or small to
mid sized institutions (<17,500 enrolled with
limited institutional success not in the top 100) or
Minority Serving Institutions. Just meet one of
these requirements and you are eligible!
Strengthening Award Types
• Standard Strengthening (second chance funding
for full research grant $300k to $30 million)
• Career Enhancement Award (Sabbatical, “one
year of salary plus travel and supplies”)
• Seed grants (up to $150k)
• Equipment grants (the only AFRI grant type that
requires a match)
Strengthening Strategy
• Plan your work to link awards and leverage
Grants
• Evaluate where you are and what you need
• Equipment? Training or a collaborator
(sabbatical award)? Preliminary data
(seed/sabbatical)?
• What is your three year plan?
(equipment>seed>standard or
sabbatical>standard or other)
• How will this fit with your unique institutional
advantages and strengths?
Understanding the level of competition
in AFRI
• Programs is asking for just CAP awards?
• Look closer…for your advantage.
• All programs will take Strengthening Grant
applications
• Includes Equipment, Seed, Sabbatical and
Standard strengthening (including CAP) grants
• Contact the NPL for your program of interest to
discuss before submission of a LOI
Panel Participation
• Panelists from all regions needed.
• Faculty from all levels (Assistant, Associate and
Full Professor)
• In 2001 less than 2% from MSI, in 2010 7.6%
from MSIs for AFRI!
• Contact the National Program Leader listed in
the Request for Applications if interested in
serving or [email protected]
Panel Participation – Administrator’s Role
• Panel is a large work load. There will be about 15
applications to review. This takes most reviewers about
40 hours before panel.
• Administrators must work with faculty to free up this time
(release from teaching or other duties).
• Panels are on a fixed time line that may conflict with
teaching or other assignments.
• Administrators must work with faculty to cover
assignments while faculty member is in Washington for
the week of panel (or for virtual panels).
Grantsmanship Workshops
•
•
•
•
•
Provides overview of programs to applicants
Mock Peer Review Panel
“Face time” with National Program Leaders
Tips on grant-writing from experts
Travel fellowships for attendees from minorityserving institutions
• Offered in Washington, D.C. (planning now
underway, dates announced on our web site,
search “grantsmanship”)
Grantsmanship Workshops – your role
• Structured for faculty that will be preparing
applications
• Do your homework – check the web site for
programs of interest and the associated NPLs
• Use your time to engage!
– Introduce yourself to NPLs in your areas of interest
– Offer to serve on a panel (follow up with an email to
the NPL with your 2 page CV)
– Network with others from your region who might team
with you in the future on larger applications
Submitting Applications!
• Start Early!
• Read the Request for Applications!
• Contact NIFA with questions or to discuss
ideas (use the contact information in the
RFA and not general information from the
web)
• Letters of intent may be required before
you are allowed to submit an applicationcheck dates in the RFA!
Overview of the Competitive Grant
Proposal Process
• Application Process
• Review Process
• Awards and Declines
• Post-Panel Administration
Application Process
Request for Application (RFA)
•
Posted to the NIFA website
 www.nifa.usda.gov
 link to “Grants” page
•
Project Directors submit Letter of Intent (LOI)
 When applicable – not required for all programs
 Requirements provided in RFA
 Submission in advance of proposal deadline
Application Process
•
Develop proposal following:
 Specific program goals, priorities and
published deadline
 Guidelines provided in RFA
•
Submit proposal electronically (www.grants.gov)
 Highly recommend submitting at least 72 hr before
deadline
During the Review Process
• Contact NPL if you do not receive an e-mail within 4
weeks acknowledging receipt of your proposal
• Keep program updated of changes in address, phone
number, status of other pending proposals, and COI
status
• Wait for notification of funding decision
based on initial NPL e-mail received that also
listed the anticipated timeline
(contact NPL if deadline passes !)
Competitive Peer Review Process
• Reviewed and rated highly by the NRC
• Designed to be scholarly & fair:
 Review by peers & other experts
 Provide written & verbal evaluations
• Understand the review process for your specific program
(research; education; extension; integrated) to prepare a
competitive proposal
 Program-dependent evaluation factors in the RFA are critical to
the success of an application
Review process is co-led by a
National Program Leader (NPL) and
a Panel Manager
• Organize and conduct review panel to assure
fairness & rigorous evaluations
• Neither NPL nor Panel Manager influence the
evaluation of any particular proposal
Selection of the Panel Manager
• Established and active in science as a
researcher, educator, or extension specialist
• Leader in the program’s field of science,
education or extension
• Knowledgeable of current trends & priorities in
the scientific area
• Hired as part-time USDA employee (1-2 years)
Role of Panel Manager &
National Program Leader (NPL)
• Study proposals to evaluate expertise needs for
thorough review of program applications
• Invite appropriate experts for review panel
• Assign proposals for peer-review (minimum 3):
– Panelists: number depends on the program needs
to cover portfolio of applications
– External ad hoc reviewers (optional): number
depends on program needs
Panel Member Selection
• Active in Research, Education or Extension
• Balanced to represent breadth of proposals and
applicants:
–
–
–
–
–
Discipline
Geography
Institution Size and Type
Professional Rank
Gender & Ethnicity
• Continuity: experience in the review process
Role of Panelists
• Review up to 20 proposals; # depends on
program
• Provide scientific, constructive & fair evaluation
• Protect confidentiality
• Avoid Conflict of Interest
Protecting Confidentiality
• Proposal content and identity of applicant
• Reviewer identity
• Reviews (shared with PD only)
• Panel proceedings
Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
• Advisors and advisees (lifetime)
• Collaborators and co-authors (3 years)
• Institutional
• Anyone who stands to
materially profit from an
award decision
• Other personal reasons defined by the reviewer
Avoiding Conflicts of Interest (cont.)
• Applies to NPL, Panel Manager, panelists
and ad hoc reviewers
• May not participate in any aspect of
evaluation
• May not participate in decision regarding
budget, project scope,
or project duration
Reviewer Evaluation of Proposals
Reviewers prepare written reviews before meeting
• Use RFA evaluation criteria
• Address strengths and weaknesses
• Make suggestions for improvement
Reviewers provide individual summary rating
• Excellent
• Very Good
• Good
• Fair
• Poor
Evaluation Criteria
(e.g., AFRI research proposals)
1. Scientific merit
2. Qualifications of project personnel, adequacy of
facilities, and project management
3. Relevance and importance of topic to US
Agriculture as articulated by the program’s
priorities
Evaluation Criteria for AFRI research
1. Scientific merit
• Novel, innovative, unique, original
• For model systems – ability to transfer knowledge to
important agricultural organisms
• Conceptual adequacy of research
• Clarity, delineation of objectives
Evaluation Criteria for AFRI research
1. Scientific merit (cont.)
• Adequacy of description and suitability / feasibility
of methods
• Demonstration of feasibility through preliminary
data
• Probability of success (High risk? Worth the
reward?)
Evaluation Criteria for AFRI research
2. Qualifications of project personnel, adequacy of
facilities, and project management
• Qualifications of PD and project team, including
performance record – CV (Think of this as a
pass/fail element, is not a barrier for new faculty)
• Awareness of previous and alternative approaches
– pitfalls and limitations ( Be frank!)
• Planning and administration of project (Did this
program ask for a management plan?)
Evaluation Criteria for AFRI research
2. Qualifications of project personnel, adequacy of
facilities, and project management
• Institutional experience, competence (not just a
track record but evidence of commitment for larger
grants)
• Adequate facilities and instrumentation (Think of
this as a pass/fail element. It is not a barrier for
smaller institutions. If the project needs just one
greenhouse it does not matter if your university
has only one or 100)
Evaluation Criteria for AFRI research
3. Project Relevance
• Relevant to US Agriculture and Food systems
as defined in the program priorities in RFA
To yield improvements in:
 Agriculture,
 Human nutrition, food safety & quality,
 Environment, or
 Rural communities
Evaluation Criteria
Evaluation Criteria for other proposal types differ:
• Integrated Projects
• Fellowships
• Research Career Enhancement (Sabbaticals)
• Equipment Grants
• Seed Grants
• Conference Grants
Review Panel Meeting
During panel meeting
• Primary reviewer summarizes proposal
• Primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. reviewers
provide evaluation and critique in order
• Ad hoc reviews are summarized (if used)
• Response to last year’s panel summary
discussed for resubmissions
• Ratings available to all panelists (except those
with COI)
Review Panel Meeting
•
Interactive Panel discussion
•
Panel consensus and categorizing
• Outstanding
• High Priority
• Medium Priority
• Low Priority
• Do Not Fund
• Triage
•
Prepare panel summary
Preparation of the Panel Summary
• POSITIVE Aspects
• NEGATIVE Aspects
• SYNTHESIS
Panel Meeting: Final Day
Re-rank of proposals:
• Re-visit all categories
• Numerical ranking - usually only
proposals ranked in top ~50%
Funding of ranked applications
• Budgets may be adjusted as recommended by the
panel
• NPL and PM make decisions to fund eligible projects
“below the line” from set aside funds ( AFRI
Strengthening and New Investigator grants)
• NPL and Panel Manager prepare funding list according
to panel ranking for review and approval by Division
Director and Assistant Director
Post-panel: Declined Proposals
•
E-mail and/or letter to the PD
from National Program Leader
•
Return of:
•
Written reviews
•
•
Panel summary
Relative ranking
Post-panel: Recommended Awards
• Phone Call
• Return of:
– reviews
– panel summary
– relative ranking (categorical ranking)
• Complete award paperwork
Post-panel
• Panel Manager written report
 Recommendations for program enhancement
- New topic areas; Improved review process/panel processes;
- ‘Hot topics’ from awards for annual report;
- Recommendations for future Panel Managers and panelists
• NPL
 Award administration
 Feedback and consultation on declined proposals
 Reporting performance, summaries, success stories & highlights
(USDA, Congress, White House - OSTP, OMB, others)
 Program communication including outreach & promotion
Even More Competitive
Programs…
Other Competitive Programs
• Biotechnology Risk Assessment
• Small Business Innovation Research
• Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education
• NIFA Fellows
Biotechnology Risk
Assessment Program
• Purpose: To assist Federal regulatory agencies
in making science-based decisions about the
introduction of transgenic organisms into the
environment
– Risk Assessment Research
– Risk Mitigation/Management Research
Biotechnology Risk Assessment
Program
• Authorized in the 1990 Farm Bill
• All U.S. public or private research or
educational institutions or organizations are
eligible
• Funded through a 2% set-aside of all funds
used for agricultural biotechnology research
• Approximately $4 M available
Biotechnology Risk Assessment
Program
• Identify and develop appropriate
management practices to minimize physical
and biological risks
• Develop methods to monitor the dispersal of
genetically engineered animals, plants, and
microorganisms
• To further knowledge of characteristics,
rates and methods of gene transfer
Biotechnology Risk Assessment
Program
• Compare the relative impacts of
organisms modified through genetic
engineering to other types of production
systems
• Program Contact:
Shing Kwok
Small Business Innovation Research
(SBIR) Program
• Grants provided to Small Businesses to Research
and Develop technologies, products or services
that will be commercialized or brought to the
marketplace.
• Two-phase program
• $100,000 (Phase I) – feasibility study
• $500,000 (Phase II) – development and scale-up
Eligibility:
Small businesses of 500 employees or less.
SBIR Topic Areas
•
Forests & Related Resources
•
Plant Production & Protection Biology
•
Animal Production & Protection
•
Air, Water & Soils
•
Food Science & Nutrition
SBIR Topic Areas (cont.)
•
Rural Development
•
Aquaculture
•
Biofuels and Biobased Products
•
Small and Mid-size Farms
•
Plant Production & Protection Engineering
University Involvement in
USDA SBIR
• Strongly encouraged
• Faculty may serve as consultants or receive
subcontract and continue to work full time at
university
No more than 1/3 of a Phase I award budget
or 1/2 of a Phase II award budget may be
subcontracted.
University Involvement in
USDA SBIR (cont.)
• Faculty may serve as principal
investigator on the grant by:


reducing university employment
to 49% for duration of grant
and
conducting SBIR research off-site (i.e., other than
university research lab).
• Usually not acceptable for faculty to serve as
consultants and have all the research done in
their lab.
SBIR Program
Program Contacts:
Cleland
Charles Cleland
Bill Goldner
S. (Suresh) Sureshwaran
Dionne Toombs
Adele Turzillo
Goldner
Sureshwaran
Toombs
Turzillo
Sustainable Agricultural
Research and Education
(SARE)
Purpose: Increase and disseminate knowledge that
helps farmers and ranchers adopt practices that are
profitable, environmentally sound, and enhance the
quality of life for producers and society as a whole.
Eligibility: Open to all qualified public and private
entities, including all colleges and universities,
federal, state, and local agencies, private
organizations, corporations, and individuals
SARE Grant Types
•
•
•
•
•
Research and Education
Farmer/Rancher
On Farm
Graduate Student
Community Innovation
SARE Regional Boundaries
SARE Regional Coordinators
North Central
http://www.sare.org/ncrsare/
Coordinator: Bill Wilke
120 BAE, University of Minnesota
1390 Eckles Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
612-625-8205
[email protected]
Southern
http://www.southernsare.uga.edu/
Coordinator: Jeff Jordan
University of Georgia Griffin
Campus
1109 Experiment St.
Room 206, Stuckey Building
Griffin, GA 30223-1797
770-412-4787
[email protected]
Northeast
http://nesare.org
Coordinator: Vern Grubinger
University of Vermont Extension
11 University Way, Suite # 4
Brattleboro, VT 05301-3669
802-257-7967 x13
[email protected]
Western
http://wsare.usu.edu/
Coordinator: Phil Rasmussen
Utah State University
4865 Old Main Hill
Logan, Utah 84322-4865
435-797-3394
[email protected]
NIFA contact: Rob Hedberg
Top Ten Tips for Success
#10
#10… Submit ON TIME
• How far in advance should you submit your
proposal?
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
One Week
One Day
One Hour
One Minute
One Second
Naval Observatory Master Clock
Grants.gov Master Clock
# Nine
#9… Have a Colleague Review Your
Proposal
• Leave time before submitting your proposal to
solicit feedback (technical and proofreading).
• Alternatively, ask successful colleagues for a
copy of their funded proposal.
TIP: Be sure to express your gratitude for their time,
energy, and input.
• Review abstracts from funded projects:
http://cris.nifa.usda.gov/
#8
#8… Write a Meaningful and Engaging
Project Summary
• Summary should include goals and objectives,
hypothesis being tested
• Highlight what’s innovative about your project
• Describe outputs and outcomes
TIP: Recall that most panelists will not read your
entire proposal – get them interested with your
Project Summary
N.B. – Cutting and pasting the first two paragraphs of your
Introduction generally is not successful.
#7… Write the Proposal for the
Reviewers
• Put yourself in the shoes of a reviewer who will
read between 15 and 20 proposals.
– Capture their attention
– Get to the point = Be succinct
“What will be different as a result of your project?”
“So what?”
#7… If a Letter of Intent is Required
• Be certain that you address priorities listed in the
Program Description
• Describe the salient points of the project
• Include key objectives and define all necessary
functions (research, education, and/or extension)
• Identify potential outcomes or outputs from the
project
• Follow formatting guidelines (e.g., submit in .PDF)
#6
#6… Responding to Reviewer
Comments
• Take advantage of the extra page to address
reviewer’s comments
• Identify places in the proposal where reviewer
comments are addressed
– On page 9 we address…
• If you disagree with reviewers, be careful
TIP: It doesn’t pay to refer to reviewers as idiots,
intellectual lightweights, etc.
Don’t totally ignore reviewer comments, be diplomatic
Five
#5A… Develop a Comprehensive
Project Outline
• Outline should reflect:
– Goals and objectives
– Critical project functions
– Roles for project co-PDs and collaborators if any
#5B… Develop a Timeline for
Completing the Proposal (on Time)
• When is the deadline for submission?
• How much time will your Office of Contracts and
Grants need to review and submit the project?
Will holidays complicate this?
• How much time will a colleague need for
review?
TIP: Start early! Don’t delay!!! Remember #10!
Fore!
#4… Goals and Objectives
• Integrated projects: What’s the point of funding
this project?
– A clear Goal Statement should define the project
“What will be different after completing this
project?”
• Research Projects
– Is there a clear hypothesis that can be tested in
what is proposed? Looking for new knowledge and
not “observations”.
#3
#3… How does this fit with your Career
Strategy?
• Just because funding is available to do something
doesn’t mean that you should be doing it.
• Are you trying to fit a square peg in a round hole?
• How will this build on other resources you have
incorporated into your strategy (start up funding, industry
funding, set aside funding)?
• Have you “fallen in love” with this idea such that you
cannot be reached by reason or peer reviewers?
#2
#2… Serve on a Panel
• Contact the NPL or Panel Manager and
volunteer to serve
– Add your name to the Reviewer Database:
Send an email to:
[email protected]
N.B. – You may not serve on a panel in the same
year that you submit to the program.
#1
#1… READ THE RFA!!!
• Explore to find your competitive advantage!
• Program priorities can and do change!
• The RFA is more than just the Program
Description
–
–
–
–
–
–
Eligibility
Funding levels
DEADLINES (Letters of Intent, Full Proposals)
Review criteria
Project requirements
NPL contact information
Summary
1.
2.
3.
4.
Read the RFA!
Serve on a panel
Career Strategy Fit?
Write a clear goal or
hypothesis statement
5. Develop a
comprehensive project
outline
6. Responding to
reviewer comments
7. Write the proposal for
the reviewers
8. Write a meaningful
and engaging project
summary
9. Have a colleague
review your proposal
10.Submit ON TIME!
Questions?
• Contact: Dr. Mark Poth
• Division Director
• Sustainable Bioenergy
• 202-401-5244
•
[email protected]
• Thank You!!

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