Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI): Food Safety Challenge Area grants are now open

The Request for Applications (RFA) for the 2012 AFRI Food Safety grants was issued June 25, 2012. This program is designed to promote and enhance the scientific discipline of food safety with an overall aim of protecting consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants that may occur during all stages of the food chain, from production to consumption. This requires an understanding of the interdependencies of human, animal, and ecosystem health as it pertains to foodborne pathogens. The intended long-term outcome of this program is to reduce foodborne illnesses and deaths by improving the safety of the food supply.

This is a complex program with a number of nuances; the following is a brief summary of this very detailed program, covering:

  • Program areas (including dollar amounts and deadlines)
  • Project types
  • Grant types
  • Eligible applicants

For the full RFA, visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/pdfs/2012_afri_food_safety.pdf

Contact Morrison for more information on this grant and our grant writing services:

Brent Morrison, bmorrison@morrisonco.net or 530-893-4764, ext. 202
Stacy Kennedy, skennedy@morrisonco.net or 530-893-4764, ext. 203

PROGRAM AREAS
1. Addressing Critical and Emerging Food Safety Issues
Program Area Priorities: Applicants must address the following: Currently, the majority of foodborne diseases are of unknown origin, i.e., a causative agent has not been identified. This may be due to difficulties in attributing illness to specific foods, lack of good diagnostic methods or truly unknown pathogens. Once identified, control strategies are needed to prevent future outbreaks. In addition to unknown causative agents, over the past 5 years CDC has identified a number of previously unrecognized food vehicles as causes of foodborne disease, including carrot juice, broccoli powder, micro waved pot pies, white/black pepper, raw cookie dough, and hazelnuts. Control strategies are needed for known pathogens on foods not previously recognized as vehicles of foodborne diseases.
Proposed Budget Requests:
• “Standard Grants” must not exceed $300,000 total, including indirect costs for project periods of up to 5 years. The program anticipates making up to 3 new awards.
• “Conference Grants” must not exceed $50,000 and one year in duration.
• Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement “FASE” Grants vary as outlined in the RFA.
Applicable Project Types (see below): Research Projects
Applicable Grant Types (see below): Standard, Conference, and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants
Letter of Intent Deadline: August 20, 2012 (5:00 p.m., ET).
Application Deadline: November 14, 2012 (5:00 p.m., ET).

2. Effective Mitigation Strategies for Antimicrobial Resistance
Program Area Priority: Applicants must address the following: Therapeutic and sub-therapeutic use of antimicrobials is an integral part of animal production in the United States and many other countries. According to food animal producers, antimicrobial use reduces the cost of producing animals, and therefore, the price consumers pay for food. Antimicrobials are used to treat animal diseases, to prevent and control the spread of diseases, and to increase animals’ growth rates. Antimicrobials have saved millions of human lives by controlling infectious diseases. However, the continued effectiveness of these drugs is now jeopardized by the emergence of bacteria resistant to antimicrobials. In addition, the speed at which antimicrobial resistance is rendering these drugs ineffective far outpaces the development of new antimicrobials.
Proposed Budget Request:
• “Standard Grants” must not exceed $800,000 total, including indirect costs for project periods of up to 5 years. The program anticipates making up to 3 new awards.
• “Conference Grants” must not exceed $50,000 and one year in duration.
• “FASE Grants” vary as outlined in the RFA.
Applicable Project Types (see below): Integrated Projects
Applicable Grant Types (see below): Standard, Conference, and FASE Grants
Letter of Intent Deadline: August 20, 2012 (5:00 p.m., ET).
Application Deadline: November 14, 2012 (5:00 p.m., ET).

3. Improving the Safety of Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce
Program Area Priorities: Applicants must address the following: The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumption of more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for optimal health. But recently there has been an increase in the incidence of foodborne illnesses associated with fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. Statistics for recent foodborne outbreaks associated with fresh produce reveal a critical need for education, outreach, and training for growers, producers, consumers and others regarding the safety of fresh produce. Good agricultural practices (GAPS), on-farm HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points programs), and other quality assurance programs are needed. In addition, there is a specific need for a focus on educating vendors and other providers of small road-side markets, farmer’s markets, and specialty markets where fresh produce is sold, as these groups are less likely to have access to food safety education and training when compared to larger providers.
Proposed Budget Request:
• “Standard Grants” must not exceed $425,000 total, including indirect costs for project periods of up to 5 years. The program anticipates making up to 4 new awards.
• “Conference Grants” must not exceed $50,000 and one year in duration.
• “FASE Grants” vary as outlined in the RFA.
Applicable Project Types (see below): Integrated Projects
Applicable Grant Types (see below): Standard, Conference, and FASE Grants
Letter of Intent Deadline: August 20, 2012 (5:00 p.m., ET).
Application Deadline: November 14, 2012 (5:00 p.m., ET).

 

PROJECT TYPES
1. Research Projects
Single-function Research Projects will support fundamental or applied research conducted by individual investigators, co-investigators within the same discipline, or multidisciplinary teams.

 

2. Integrated Research, Education, and/or Extension Projects
An Integrated Project includes at least two of the three functions of the agricultural knowledge system (research, education, and extension) within a project, focused around a problem or issue. The functions addressed in the project should be interwoven throughout the life of the project and act to complement and reinforce one another. The functions should be interdependent and necessary for the success of the project and no more than two-thirds of the project’s budget may be focused on a single component.

The proposed research component of an integrated project should address knowledge gaps that are critical to the development of practices and programs to address the stated problem. The proposed education (teaching and teaching-related) component of an Integrated Project should develop human capital relevant to overall program goals for U.S. agriculture. The proposed extension component of an Integrated Project should conduct programs and activities that deliver science-based knowledge and informal educational programs to people, enabling them to make practical decisions.


GRANT TYPES
Applications must propose one of the Project types specified within the Program Areas and select the appropriate grant type for the application within the constraints of the grant types solicited.
1. Standard Grants
Standard Grants support targeted, original scientific Research, Education, Extension, or Integrated Projects.

2. Conference Grants
Conference Grants to support scientific meetings that bring together scientists to identify research, education, and/or extension needs, update information, or advance an area of science are recognized as integral parts of scientific efforts.

3. Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement Grants (FASE)
FASE Grants strengthen science capabilities in research, education, and/or extension programs. FASE Grants are designed to help institutions develop competitive projects, and to attract new scientists and educators into careers in high-priority areas of National need in agriculture, food, and environmental sciences. The FASE Grants provide support for Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowships (which will be solicited in a separate NIFA Fellowships Grant Program RFA), New Investigators, and Strengthening Grants as follows:
a. Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowship Grants: Doctoral candidates and individuals who will soon receive or have recently received their doctoral degree are encouraged to submit an application for a Pre- or Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant, as appropriate, for research, education, extension, or integrated activities to the NIFA Fellowship Grants program. Program information, including the anticipated release date, is available at www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/afri.
b. New Investigator Grants: An individual who is beginning his/her career, does not have an extensive scientific publication record, and has less than five years postgraduate, career-track experience is encouraged to submit an application for a New Investigator Grant for research, education, and/or extension activities.
c. Strengthening Grants: These funds are expected to enhance institutional capacity with the goal of leading to future funding in the project area, as well as strengthen the competitiveness of the investigator’s research, education, and/or extension activities. Strengthening Grants consist of Standard Grant types (both single-function and multi-function projects) as well as Seed Grants, Equipment Grants, and Sabbatical Grants.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS
Eligibility is linked to the project type.

1. Research Projects
Eligible applicants for Research Projects include: 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, 6) national laboratories; 7) private organizations or corporations; 8) individuals who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents; and 9) any group consisting of 2 or more entities identified in 1) through 8).

2. Integrated Projects
Eligible applicants for Integrated Projects include: 1) colleges and universities; 2) 1994 Land-Grant Institutions; and (3) Hispanic-serving agricultural colleges and universities.

Hispanic-serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities are colleges and universities that qualify as Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs) and offer associate, bachelors, or other accredited degree programs in agriculture-related fields; see http://www.nifa.usda.gov/nea/education/pdfs/hispanic/2012_hsacu_institutions.pdf.

3. Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement Grants (FASE)
Eligible applicants include: 1) colleges and universities; 2) 1994 Land-Grant Institutions; and (3) Hispanic-serving agricultural colleges and universities. Additional requirements are described in the RFP.

For the full RFA, visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/pdfs/2012_afri_food_safety.pdf

Contact Morrison for more information on this grant and our grant writing services:

Brent Morrison, bmorrison@morrisonco.net or 530-893-4764, ext. 202
Stacy Kennedy, skennedy@morrisonco.net or 530-893-4764, ext. 203

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