Funding Opportunity: NSF and USDA NIFA Release Joint Solicitation for the Plant Biotic Interactions Program
On April 14, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released a joint solicitation for the Plant Biotic Interactions (PBI) Program, which supports basic research on the interactions between plants, microbes and invertebrates; and applied research to develop methods for sustainably increasing crop yields.
PBI advances the Understanding the Rules of Life initiative, one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas for Future Investment, addressing food security concerns through increased understanding of genetic and environmental variables. A primary focus of this program is to investigate symbiotic relationships between agricultural plants and viruses, bacteria, fungus, pathogens, pests, and other plants. More specifically, the genetic, genomic, and cellular signaling responses and their effect on “nutritional, metabolic, and developmental processes.”
Applicants should consider genetic, genomic, biochemical, metabolic, and image-based approaches in the investigation of fundamental principles and how discoveries may be applied to the agricultural industry, including potential economic benefits if applicable. While a broad objective of PBI is to fill existing information gaps regarding the recognition and signaling between these symbionts, successful proposals must consider this in a more targeted context, investigating the biological mechanisms and systems necessary to overcome key agricultural problems.
The PBI program was developed as a mechanism that will foster fluidity between the basic research of the NSF Biological (BIO) Sciences Division and the outgrowth of translational technologies to support agricultural practice at NIFA. Unlike other joint solicitations, applicants “need not tailor aims or experimental systems to the specific mission of one or the other agency.”
Eligibility: Eligible entities under this solicitation include but are not limited to institutions of higher education, professional and scientific societies, observatories, and research labs.
Award Information: NSF and USDA NIFA anticipate distributing a total of $14.5 million for 20 awards, with $6 million made available by USDA NIFA for new awards and $8.5 million from NSF for new standard and continuing awards. Project duration under this program typically lasts two to four years, or five years for CAREER awards.
Deadlines: Preliminary proposals are not required. Full proposals must be submitted by 5 p.m. local time on September 1, 2017.
Sources and Additional Information:
- The full solicitation is available at https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17551/nsf17551.htm?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click#pgm_desc_txt.
- More information about NSF’s 10 Big Ideas for Future Investment is available at https://www.nsf.gov/about/congress/reports/nsf_big_ideas.pdf.