Grants for Agricultural Research_Competitive Research Grants

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Purpose of this program:

To support research, education and extension grants that address key problems of national, regional and multistate importance in sustaining all components of agriculture (farming, ranching, forestry, aquaculture, rural communities, human nutrition and obesity, food and fiber processing, etc.) Providing this support to US agriculture requires that the NRI advance fundamental. Building on these discoveries will necessitate new efforts in education and extension that deliver science-based knowledge to people, allowing them to make informed practical decisions. All grants are awarded on a competitive basis.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

The selected areas for research, education and extension grants are broad and change as the needs of US agriculture change. Applicants should check the request for applications for changes. Priorities are identified for: agricultural security; plant science and plant pathology; animal science; entomology and nematology; natural resources and environment; nutrition/obesity; food quality and health; markets and trade; rural development; new products and processes; and nanotechnology. Grant funds may be used for costs necessary to conduct research, education and extension (salaries and wages, scientific equipment, materials and supplies, travel, publication costs, and other allowable direct and indirect costs). Applicants should check the annual request for applications for limitation on indirect costs. The primary responsibility for general supervision of all grant activities rests with the grantee organization; the project director is responsible for the work defined in the grant. Funds may not be used for purposes other than those specified in the grant.

Who is eligible to apply...

For research grants applicant eligibility includes State Agricultural Experiment Stations, U.S. colleges/universities, other U.S. research institutions and organizations, Federal agencies, national laboratories, private organizations or corporations, and individuals. For integrated research, education and extension grants eligibility includes State Agricultural Experiment Stations, U.S. colleges/universities, research foundations maintained by colleges or universities, private research organizations with established and demonstrated capacities to perform research or technology transfer, Federal research agencies and national laboratories. Proposals from scientists at non-U.S. organizations will not be considered for support.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

Each prospective grantee organization must furnish the organizational information and assurances specified in the guidelines. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Formal proposal to National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program, USDA/CSREES as outlined in the guidelines. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110 as implemented by 7 CFR Part 3019.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program staff members review and evaluate all proposals with the assistance and advice of a peer panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Proposals are accepted in order of merit to the extent permitted by available funds.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...


Specific deadlines are announced in the request for applications or guidelines for each fiscal year. Deadlines for submission of fiscal year 2004 proposals are from January 9, 2004, to June 15, 2004.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 90 to 180 days.

Preapplication Coordination

All proposal solicitations are published on the Agency's Web site. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102 and E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.



Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Proposals for renewal, should be submitted at the announced deadline. Renewals are treated in competition with all other pending proposals.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

For research grants eligibility includes State Agricultural Experiment Stations, U.S. colleges/universities, other U.S. research institutions and organizations, Federal agencies, national laboratories, private organizations or corporations, and individuals. For integrated research, education and extension grants eligibility includes State Agricultural Experiment Stations, U.S. colleges/universities, research foundations maintained by colleges or universities, private research organizations with established and demonstrated capacities to perform research or technology transfer, Federal research agencies and national laboratories. Proposals from scientists at non-U.S. organizations will not be considered for support.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Project Grants

The funding, for fixed or known periods, of specific projects. Project grants can include fellowships, scholarships, research grants, training grants, traineeships, experimental and demonstration grants, evaluation grants, planning grants, technical assistance grants, survey grants, and construction grants.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$4,000 to $5,000,000. Average: $183,607.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


(Grants) FY 03 $112,514,357; FY 04 154,922,022; and FY 05 est $150,890,080. Note: Grants are competitively awarded.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification


Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Influence of the Amounts of Dietary Fat on the Absorbance of Plant Carotenes, Integrating Ecology and Economics for Managed Forest Landscapes, Smart Combination of Heating Modes for Improved Quality, Speed and Safety of Food Processing, RNA Dependent RNA Polymerases in Plant Antiviral Defense and Gene Silencing, Lympohpineal Interactions in the Chicken. Abstracts of all funded projects are available on the program web site

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

Significant accomplishments include: (1) Genomics - Support for international efforts to complete a draft sequence of the rice and bovine genomes. The rice sequence will serve as a model system that is now greatly accelerating the understanding of all cereals. (2) Biofuels - research has resulted in the development of more efficient bioprocessing of agricultural wastes into ethanol, making the process much more economically viable. (3) Pests and Diseases - Fundamental research has led to the development of a preventative treatment for screw worm, a devastating pest of livestock. It is estimated that this development will save US agriculture over $1 billion annually by preventing losses in production and overcoming international trade barriers related to this pest. (For more information see the program web site )

Criteria for selecting proposals...

1. The scientific merit of the application for research, education and/or extension, including: a) novelty innovation and originality, b) where model systems are used the ability to transfer knowledge gained to organisms of importance to US agriculture, c) conceptual adequacy, d) clarity and delineation of objectives, e) adequacy and suitability of the methodology f)demonstration of feasibility through preliminary data g) Probability of success. 2. Qualifications of the proposed project personnel and adequacy of the facilities 3) Planning and administration of the project 4) Relevance of the proposal to improvements in, and sustainability of, US agriculture as specified in the request for applications.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Normally, competitive research projects will be supported for periods of up to 4 years.

Formula and Matching Requirements


A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...


Annual progress reports due within 90 days after anniversary of grant effective date and final technical report due 90 days after expiration of grant. Federal cash transaction reports and financial status reports as in Attachment G of OMB Circular A-110.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


Audits will be conducted in accordance with guidelines established in the revised OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," and implemented in 7 CFR Part 3052, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations."

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


Grantees are expected to maintain separate records for each grant to insure that funds are used for the purpose for which the grant was made. Records are subject to inspection during life of the grant and for 3 years thereafter.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



Section 2(b), Public Law 89-106, 7 U.S.C. 450i(b), as amended; Section 1414, Public Law 95-113; Section 1415, Public Law 97-98; Section 1409, Public Law 99-198; Section 1615, Public Law 101- 624; Public Law 104-127; Public Law 105-185; Public Law 108-7.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

Pages 61290-61306 Federal Register, Vol. 56, No. 231, Part II, December 2, 1991; 7 CFR 3015, USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations; 7 CFR Part 3017, Government wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and Government wide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Grants); 7 CFR Part 3018, New Restrictions on Lobbying. National Competitive Research Initiative Grants Program Administrative Provisions, Federal Register, Vol. 56, No. 220, Pages 57950-57958, November 14, 1991; and 7 CFR Part 3019, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office


Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Chief Scientist, National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ag Box 2241, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-2241. Telephone: (202) 401-5022.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: