Introduction to NIFA
Mark Poth
Sustainable Bioenergy
Division Director
[email protected]
4 NIFA Institutes
Institute of food production & sustainability
Institute of food safety & nutrition
Institute of bioenergy, climate, & environment
Institute for youth, family, communities
1 Center
Center for International Programs
Director (Acting)
Chavonda JacobsYoung
Institute of
Production and
Division of
Institute of
Climate, and
Institute of
Food Safety
and Nutrition
Division of
Division of
Division of
Plant Systems Protection
Division of
Global Climate
Division of
Food Safety
Division of
Plant Systems Production
Division of
Division of
Institute of
Youth, Family,
and Community
Office of Grants
and Financial
Office of
Division of
Community and
Division of
Youth and 4-H
Policy and
Operations and
Systems Division
Division of
Family and
Information Policy,
Planning, and
Training Division
Budget Staff
& Reporting
Center for
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
• 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
Tom Vilsack
Secretary, USDA
Dr. Cathie Woteki
Under Secretary Research,
Education, and Economics (REE)
mission area, and the Department's
Chief Scientist
Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young
Acting Director, NIFA
Agriculture and Food
Research Initiative (AFRI)
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
• Authorized for appropriation of $700
million for each of fiscal years 2008
through 2012
• FY 2010 funding = $262 million
• FY 2011 funding = $264 million
• Indirect costs capped at 22%
• No less than 30% of funds will be
made available for integrated
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
Of funds allocated for research:
• No less than 40% made available for
applied research
• No less than 60% made available for
fundamental research
– No less than 30% for multi-disciplinary
– No less than 2% for equipment grants
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
FY 2011/2012 Challenge Area RFAs
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Climate Change
Global Food Security
Food Safety
Sustainable Bioenergy
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
FY 2011/12 Challenge Area RFAs
Significant focus on achieving
measurable outcomes
Offers funding for research, education,
extension, and integrated projects
Most grants made as continuation
Range of award sizes; some as large at
$2 million per year
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
Foundational Program RFA
Plant Health and Production and Plant
Animal Health and Production and
Animal Products
Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
Renewable Energy, Natural Resources,
and Environment
Agriculture Systems and Technology
Agriculture Economics and Rural
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
Foundational Program RFA
Building a foundation of knowledge
critical for solving current and future
societal challenges
Offers funding for research projects only
Grants generally $500,000 or less each
in total
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
NIFA Fellowships Program RFA
1. Offering individual fellowships for pre- and
postdoctoral students – NIFA Fellows
2. Projects to focus on the broad Challenge Areas
3. Pre-doctoral fellowships: $75,000 for two years of
support (stipend, tuition, fees, fringe, travel)
4. Post-doctoral fellowships: $130,000 for two years
of support (primarily salary; also supplies, travel,
Project Types and Eligibility
• Research Projects – basic and
applied, multidisciplinary
• Education Projects
• Extension Projects
The broader AFRI Eligibility applies to
these single-function project types
AFRI Eligibility
1. State agricultural experiment stations
2. Colleges and universities (including junior colleges
offering associate degrees or higher)
3. University research foundations
4. Other research institutions and organizations
5. Federal agencies and national laboratories
6. Private organizations or corporations
7. U.S. Citizens, nationals, or permanent residents
8. Eligible institutions do not include foreign and
international organizations
Project Types and Eligibility
• Integrated Projects – integration of
research, education and extension (at
least two of three, or all three when
specified in the RFA)
The 406 or Integrated Eligibility
applies to this multi-functional project
406 or Integrated Eligibility
1. Colleges and universities
2. 1994 Land-Grant Institutions
3. Hispanic-serving agricultural colleges
and universities
Grant Types
• Standard Grant
• Coordinated Agricultural Project
(CAP) Grant
• Conference Grant
• Food and Agricultural Science
Enhancement (FASE) Grant
FASE Grants
• Improve research, education, and
extension capabilities of:
– institutions in EPSCoR states
– faculty from small, mid-sized, and
minority-serving institutions (with limited
– single or co-investigators beginning
research, education, or extension careers
– pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral
FASE Grants
Pre-doctoral Fellowship Grants
Postdoctoral Fellowship Grants
New Investigator Grants
Strengthening Grants
Sabbatical Grants
Equipment Grants
Seed Grants
Strengthening Standard
An Overview of Integrated
Research, Education, and
Extension Programs
To bring the three
functions of the
knowledge system
around a problem
area or issue
NIFA’s Integrated Programs
The three functions should:
• Be interwoven throughout the life of
the project
• Complement and reinforce one
• Be interdependent and necessary for
the success of the project
NIFA’s Integrated Programs
• Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
• Section 406 Integrated, Research, Education,
and Extension Competitive Grants Program
• Specialty Crop Research Initiative
• Organic Agriculture Research and Extension
• Regional Integrated Pest Management
• International Science and Education
Competitive Grants Program
Agriculture and Food
Research Initiative (AFRI)
AFRI Integrated Programs
• Fundamental and applied
• Education
• Extension
• Integrated research, extension,
and/or education
AFRI Integrated Programs
Authorized for appropriation of $700
million for each of fiscal years 2008
through 2012
No less than 30% will be made
available for integrated programs
AFRI Integrated Eligibility
Colleges and universities,1994 land-grant
institutions, and Hispanic-serving agricultural
colleges and universities
AFRI Grant Types
Standard Grants
Coordinated Agricultural Project Grants
Planning/Coordination Grants
Conference Grants
Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement
Grants (FASE)
– Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowship Grants
– New Investigator Grants
– Strengthening Grants
Key Points for AFRI Integrated Projects
• Must include two of the three functions
(research, education, and/or extension per the
• Applications must contain objectives for each
function in the project
• Must budget sufficient resources to carry out
the set of research, education, and/or
extension activities
– No more than 2/3 on a single function
Key Points for AFRI Integrated Projects
• Applications must provide the elements of a
logic model (e.g., activities, outputs, and
outcomes) in narrative form or logic model
• Must include individuals on the project team
with significant expertise in each component of
the project
• Applications must contain a clearly articulated
management plan to ensure efficient
functioning of the team
AFRI Integrated Program
• Childhood Obesity Prevention
Challenge Area
• Climate Change Challenge Area
• Global Food Security Challenge Area
• Food Safety Challenge Area
• Sustainable Bioenergy Challenge
• Foundational Program
Integrated Research, Education, and
Extension Competitive Grants
Program (Section 406)
Section 406
Authorized in Section 406 of the
Agricultural Research, Extension
and Education Reform Act of 1998
Provides funding for integrated,
multifunctional agricultural
research, education, and extension
Section 406 Appropriations
$39.54 M
41.85 M
42.85 M
44.23 M
39.55 M
43.06 M
$42.29 M
42.29 M
41.99 M
41.99 M
45.15 M
Section 406 Eligibility
Colleges and universities,1994 landgrant institutions, and Hispanic-serving
agricultural colleges and universities
Section 406 Program Areas
• National Integrated Food Safety
• National Integrated Water Quality
• Organic Transitions Program
Section 406 Program Areas
• Integrated Pest Management
– Regional Pest Management Centers
– Crops at Risk
– Risk Avoidance & Mitigation
• Methyl Bromide Transitions
Specialty Crop Research Initiative
Specialty Crop Research
Supports research and extension that
takes a systems-based, transdisciplinary approach to solving critical
specialty crop issues, priorities or
SCRI Eligibility
Federal agencies, national laboratories,
colleges and universities, research
institutions and organizations, private
organizations or corporations, State
agricultural experiment stations,
individuals, or groups consisting of two
or more of these entities
SCRI Program Areas
Projects must address at least one of
five focus areas:
• Plant breeding, genetics, and
genomics to improve crop
• Identification and addressing threats
from pests and diseases, including
threats to specialty crop pollinators
SCRI Program Areas
• Improvement of production efficiency,
productivity, and profitability over the long term
• New innovations and technology, including
improved mechanization and technologies that
delay or inhibit ripening
• Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control,
and respond to potential food safety hazards in
production and processing of specialty crops
Organic Agriculture Research and
Extension Initiative
Supports 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
OREI Eligibility
State agricultural experiment stations,
colleges and universities, university
research foundations, other research
institutions and organizations, Federal
agencies, national laboratories, private
organizations or corporations,
individuals who are United States
citizens or national, or a group
consisting of two or more of these
OREI Program Characteristics
• OREI is particularly interested in
projects that emphasize research and
outreach that assist farmers and
ranchers with whole farm planning
and ecosystem integration
• Fieldwork must be done on certified
organic land or on land in transition to
organic certification, as appropriate to
project goals and objectives
OREI Program Characteristics
• Projects should plan to deliver applied
production information to producers
• Priority concerns include biological,
physical, and social sciences,
including economics
International Science and Education
Support research, extension, and
teaching activities that will enhance the
capabilities of American colleges and
universities to conduct international
collaborative research, extension, and
Even More Competitive
Other Competitive Programs
• Biotechnology Risk Assessment
• Renewable Resource Extension Act -National Focus Funds
• Rangeland Research
• Biomass Research and Development
• Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development
• Small Business Innovation Research
• Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education
Understanding the Review Process
at the
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
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
 link to “Grants” page
 RFA defines the program… do not rely on third party
or web based summaries!
 The RFA may include several sub programs with
different requirements and deadlines. Read the RFA
Application Process
Request for Application (RFA)
Are you ready to submit?
 DUNS Number?
 Has you CCR expired?
Application Process
Request for Application (RFA)
Project Directors submit Letter of Intent (LOI)
 When applicable – not required for all programs.
HOWEVER, if required and this is missed this will
preclude submission of a full application
 Requirements provided in RFA
 Submission at the LOI deadline in advance of proposal
Application Process
Develop proposal following:
 Specific program goals, priorities and
published deadline and guidelines provided in RFA
Submit proposal electronically (
 Highly recommend submitting at least 72 hr before
deadline (especially fro larger more complicated
 Late applications are NOT accepted!
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
• Wait for notification of funding decision
based on initial NPL e-mail received that also
overviewed 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 are
critical to the success of an application
Panel Member Selection
• Active in Research, Education or Extension
• Balanced to represent breadth of proposals and
Institution Size and Type
Professional Rank
Gender & Ethnicity
• Continuity: experience in the review process
Role of Panelists
• Review up to 20 proposals; # depends on
• 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
• May not participate in decision regarding
budget, project scope,
or project duration
Reviewer Evaluation of Proposals
Reviewers prepare written reviews
• 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
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
Panel Meeting: Final Day
Re-rank of proposals:
• Re-visit all categories
• Numerical ranking - usually only
proposals ranked in top ~25%
Funding of ranked applications
• Budgets may be adjusted as recommended by the
• 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
 Approved Budget and determines recommended award amount
 Collects and prepares paperwork (with program staff) including
assurance statements, Current Research Information System
initial report
 Feedback and consultation on declined proposals
 Reporting performance, summaries, success stories & highlights
(USDA, Congress, White House - OSTP, OMB, others)
 Program communication including outreach & promotion
 Meets annually with all funded Project Directors
 Reviews all award materials (Terms and conditions, assurance
statements, reviews, etc.)
 Reviews Budget for compliance (indirect rates, match if required,
 Makes payments using ASAP system
 Withholds payments for inadequate progress and failure to meet
terms and conditions requirements
 Conducts financial audits
Thank you!

4 NIFA Institutes Institute of food production & sustainability Institute