plant science

Dear Colleague Letter: NSF-USDA-BBSRC Joint Funding Opportunity for EAGER Grants

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

NSF 18-039

Dear Colleague Letter: NSF-USDA-BBSRC Joint Funding Opportunity - Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGERs) to Develop Breakthrough Ideas and Enabling Technologies to Advance Crop Breeding and Functional Genomics

 

January 5, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Biological Sciences Directorate (BIO), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have established a joint funding opportunity to support the development of breakthrough technologies that will enable significant advances in crop breeding. This opportunity aims to make high impact changes in the ability to translate basic knowledge of plant genomics to practical outcomes in crops of economic importance to the participating countries.

This NSF-BIO, USDA-NIFA and BBSRC Joint Activity is soliciting Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals to support development of breakthrough ideas and technologies to speed the development for new crop varieties. There remain significant bottlenecks to improving crop varieties even if new traits or natural variants are identified, such as producing hybrids, understanding recombination, and epigenetic inheritance as examples. Translation of basic knowledge to practical outcomes can be accelerated by key emerging technologies that exploit genomics rapidly and effectively. This EAGER opportunity invites proposals to overcome these barriers to crop breeding in highly innovative and transformative ways. Investigators considering this opportunity should articulate how the enabling technologies would be used to improve crop breeding.

Areas of research that await breakthrough advances and are appropriate for this EAGER opportunity include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Advancing genome editing technology to generate new phenotypes for greater genetic gain
  • Achieving reliable and high throughput production of doubled haploids from genotypes that are currently recalcitrant to chromosome doubling to accelerate the breeding process in cereals and other crops
  • Controlling and understanding meiotic recombination to tap into inaccessible genetic resources in areas of low recombination and enabling whole genome manipulation
  • Modifying epigenetic inheritance to facilitate phenotypic changes related to environmental responses
  • Understanding mechanisms of heterosis, thereby generating and exploiting hybrid vigor for crop improvement

For this EAGER opportunity, emphasis should be on developing enabling technologies that will impact crops or model crop systems. Projects that focus solely on sequencing will not be considered. Funded projects relevant to the goals of the International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) will be invited to become IWYP Aligned Projects.

Proposed studies should be potentially transformative and must be considered "high-risk, high-payoff" to achieve the goal of making technological breakthroughs to promote crop breeding. Studies should be compatible with the budget (up to $300,000 for US components and up to £200,000 for UK components) and time limits (2 years) of the EAGER funding mechanism. For collaborative US/UK EAGER projects, BBSRC will fund UK researchers up to £200,000 and NSF or NIFA will fund US researchers up to $300,000 including indirect costs. US only EAGERS are limited to $300,000 total including indirect costs. Further details are provided below for budgetary limits for UK partners. EAGER proposals may originate from US-UK partnerships or from US-only applicants. EAGERs solely involving UK applicants are not permitted. For more information on EAGERs, please review NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

EAGER SUBMISSION PROCESS

EAGER proposals will be submitted in a two step process:

1. Submission of two-page summary of EAGER proposal concept (Summary): Inquiries will be accepted from a Principal Investigator (PI) or a consortium of Investigators led by a PI at an eligible institution in the US or UK. Standard BBSRC eligibility criteria, as described in section 3 of the BBSRC grants guide (http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/documents/grants-guide/) are further described below.

International collaboration between US and UK investigators is encouraged, but not required. EAGER submissions by only UK participants will not be accepted. Interested PIs are required to email a two-page summary of the idea to be considered for a full proposal. The two-page Summary should be submitted as a pdf file with a filename in the format "PILastName_PIFirstName_PIInstitution.pdf" to bttpitch [at] nsf [dot] gov by March 14, 2018 at 5:00 PM proposer's local time. US investigators may be listed as PI or coPI on no more than two Summaries; UK investigators may be listed on only one Summary (see BBSRC-specific details below).

The Summary should consist of three pages including a front title page plus two pages of text. A template for the front title page is available as a link on the NSF Plant Genome Research Program website. The text of the Summary should include the following information:

  1. Background
  2. Intellectual Merit
  3. Goals and Specific Aims
  4. Contributions of the US and UK partners to achieve the goals, when applicable
  5. Broader Impacts that includes a statement of downstream impact with long-term potential for translation to breeding improvement

All submitted material, including references and figures, must be included within the two-page Summary and must be prepared in a minimum 10 point font size and with margins at least an inch wide in all dimensions. The Summary will be reviewed internally by NSF/BIO, USDA/NIFA, and by experts appointed by BBSRC.

2. Submission of EAGER proposal: PIs whose submitted Summaries best meet the goals of this DCL will be encouraged to submit full proposals. All proposals will be submitted to NSF using Fastlane, and should be submitted according to NSF EAGER guidelines described in the NSF Proposal and Awards Policy and Procedures Guide 18-1 (PAPPG).

This is an interagency partnership between NSF/BIO and USDA/NIFA, and through a Lead Agency agreement between NSF/BIO and BBSRC; therefore, meritorious proposals may be selected by one of the agencies for consideration. Successful applications will then be forwarded to the appropriate agency for funding in accordance with each agency's terms and conditions. Applicants selected for funding may be required to provide additional information. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency. Information on NIFA's policies and procedures is in NIFA's Policy Guide. Information about BBSRC policies and procedures may be found in the BBSRC grants guide.

Special notes concerning UK applicants: Standard BBSRC eligibility criteria, as described in section 3 of the BBSRC grants guide will be applied to the UK component of applications submitted to this call. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Research Council Institutes (RCIs) that are normally eligible to apply for research grants are eligible to apply to this call. Applications with non-eligible UK partners will not be considered for funding.

The UK component of applications should be costed on the basis of full economic costs (fEC). If the grant is awarded, BBSRC will provide funding on the basis of 80% of fEC. UK components of applications are limited to one UK Principal Investigator and are limited to £200k for 2 years (80% fEC amount). UK Principal Investigators may only be involved in one application each. Successful UK applicants will be required to submit an additional form through the Je-S system, and will receive awarded BBSRC grants in Pounds Sterling. These grants will be subject to standard Research Council Grants Terms and Conditions.

For more information or questions, please contact one of the following:

  • Anne Sylvester, Program Director, Plant Genome Research Program, NSF at asylvest [at] nsf [dot] gov or 703-292-7168
  • Ed Kaleikau, National Program Leader, Division of Plant Systems, Institute of Food Production and Sustainability, NIFA at ekaleikau [at] nifa [dot] usda [dot] gov or 202-401-1931
  • Paul Wiley, Senior International Programme Manager, International Relations Unit BBSRC, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1UH, UK, +44 (0)1793 413379, Paul [dot] Wiley [at] bbsrc [dot] ac [dot] uk

Sincerely,
Joanne S. Tornow
Assistant Director (Acting)
Directorate for Biological Sciences
National Science Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

  1. What are the major changes in submission?
  2. Why was the "Submission Target Date" changed to “Proposals Accepted Anytime”?
  3. When can I submit a proposal?
  4. Is there a 90-day waiting period for proposal submission from the time the solicitation was released?
  5. Do I need to confirm that the date I want to submit my proposal is acceptable?
  6. Is there a preferred time of year to submit a proposal in response to a "No Deadline" solicitation?
  7. Is there any advantage to submitting at or near the beginning of a fiscal year?
  8. Will this new submission plan affect the Merit Review process?
  9. When will I be notified of the funding recommendation for my proposal?
  10. May I submit a one-page description to the Program Directors to make sure the proposal is a program fit for PGRP?
  11. What is the “Collaborations and Other Affiliations” workbook and how should it be submitted?

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  1. My proposal was declined and I’ve decided to collaborate with someone else who would be a better choice for PI. May that person resubmit the proposal?
  2. May I be PI on more than one proposal submitted to this PGRP solicitation in a 12-month period?
  3. May I be a co-PI on more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation?
  4. May I be a PI on a proposal and co-PI on another proposal submitted to this solicitation?

FOCUS AREAS IN THE SOLICITATION

  1. It looks like proposals that focus on developing tools or community resources are no longer invited in this new solicitation. Is this true?
  2. I would like to submit a proposal to the ECA opportunity during my tenure year. Am I still eligible?
  3. I would like to submit a proposal to the ECA (or the MCA) opportunity. Am I required to include a co-PI who will serve as a mentor (for the ECA) or facilitate training in plant genomics (for the MCA)?
  4. I would like to submit to the ECA (or the MCA) opportunity, but my institution does not have a tenure process. My institution has a similar process called a “rolling five” appointment [or some other type], but true tenure is not available. Am I still eligible to apply to either opportunity?

OTHER

  1. How can I communicate my comments about the changes in this solicitation?
  2. What if my question is not addressed by these FAQs?

The following set of questions and answers refer to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the PGRP Program Solicitation NSF 16-614: Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf16614 . They are not intended to be a modification of the Program Solicitation.

Before preparing PGRP proposals, please read the PGRP (NSF 16-614) solicitation and refer to the general information about NSF proposal submission including the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) submission guidelines available at https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=papp.
FAQs about FastLane, the NSF site for submitting proposals, can be found at https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/NSFHelp/flashhelp/fastlane/FastLane_Help/fastlane_help.htm#fastlane_faqs_introduction.htm.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

  1. What are the major changes in submission?

    Instead of a "target date" or "deadline," proposals may now be submitted at any time.

  2. Why was the "Submission Target Date" changed to “Proposals Accepted Anytime”?

    PGRP is evaluating whether increasing submission opportunities will have different outcomes from a single competition per year with a preset target date. These include:

    • Attracting new ideas and participants into the PGRP program
    • Encouraging the development of transdisciplinary collaborations
    • Offering the community flexibility to select a submission date that allows time for building effective collaborations
    • Increasing the quality of proposals submitted 
  3. When can I submit a proposal?

    Proposals are accepted anytime.

  4. Is there a 90-day waiting period for proposal submission from the time the solicitation was released?

    No. There is no waiting period. You may submit a proposal as soon as the solicitation is released.

  5. Do I need to confirm that the date I want to submit my proposal is acceptable?

    No. Any submission date is acceptable.

  6. Is there a preferred time of year to submit a proposal in response to a "No Deadline" solicitation?

    No. However, it is important for project planning purposes to note that proposals submitted after April of each fiscal year will be recommended for funding with start dates after October 1, the first day of the next fiscal year.

  7. Is there any advantage to submitting at or near the beginning of a fiscal year?

    No. The selection of a submission date should be based on the best time for the PI(s) to submit a high quality proposal.

  8. Will this new submission plan affect the Merit Review process?

    No, the ability to submit proposals any day, any time does not affect the review process. PGRP will continue to provide ad hoc and/or panel review for all proposals submitted. We expect to hold several panels per year in response to proposal submission load.

  9. When will I be notified of the funding recommendation for my proposal?

    PGRP intends to recommend proposals for award or decline within six months of submission.

  10. May I submit a one-page description to the Program Directors to make sure the proposal is a program fit for PGRP?

    Yes. We encourage the PI of a project to contact a PGRP Program Director before submitting a proposal to ensure program fit.

  11. What is the “Collaborations and Other Affiliations” workbook and how should it be submitted?

    The Collaborators and Other Affiliations workbook provides information to help Program Directors select reviewers who do not have any potentially biasing relationships (personal or professional) with either the PI/co-PI(s) or the submitting institution(s). Information regarding collaborators and other affiliations must be provided for each individual identified as senior project. A workbook template is found at https://www.nsf.gov/bio/ios/ioscoatemplate.xlsx and instructions for filling out the workbook are included in the solicitation and on the first tab of the template. Per the instructions in the PGRP solicitation, the workbook must be prepared using the designated template and submitted as a Single Copy document with the proposal. After submission of the proposal, the workbook should be sent as an attachment to an email message to the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS), using the email address provided in the template.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  1. My proposal was declined and I’ve decided to collaborate with someone else who would be a better choice for PI. May that person resubmit the proposal?

    Yes, but he/she may not resubmit within 12 months counted from the date of submission of the declined proposal. The proposal would be returned without review if it is resubmitted within 12-months regardless of the PI composition.

  2. May I be PI on more than one proposal submitted to this PGRP solicitation in a 12-month period?

    No. An investigator may serve as PI on only one proposal during a 12-month period, counted from the date of submission of a proposal as PI.

  3. May I be a co-PI on more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation?

    Yes. You may be a co-PI on more than one proposal. However, investigators should be aware that time commitments are considered in the review process of all proposals. Overly committed co-PIs may reduce reviewer confidence that project objectives can be achieved.

  4. May I be a PI on a proposal and co-PI on another proposal submitted to this solicitation?

    Yes. This is acceptable under the new solicitation.

FOCUS AREAS IN THE SOLICITATION

  1. It looks like proposals that focus on developing tools or community resources are no longer invited in this new solicitation. Is this true?

    Definitely not! The area called RESEARCH-PGR still invites proposals that focus solely on tool and resource development in addition to proposals that focus on genome-wide scale hypothesis-driven research. Please contact PGRP Program Directors if you have additional questions.

  2. I would like to submit a proposal to the ECA opportunity during my tenure year. Am I still eligible?

    You are eligible for up to 4 years from the start of the tenure appointment. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact a PGRP Program Director for guidance.

  3. I would like to submit a proposal to the ECA (or the MCA) opportunity. Am I required to include a co-PI who will serve as a mentor (for the ECA) or facilitate training in plant genomics (for the MCA)?

    No. You are not required to include a co-PI. However, reviewers will be asked to comment on mentoring and/or training. For that reason, it is in your best interest to articulate how you will be mentored and/or trained. Please refer to the solicitation for additional details.

  4. I would like to submit to the ECA (or the MCA) opportunity, but my institution does not have a tenure process. My institution has a similar process called a “rolling five” appointment [or some other type], but true tenure is not available. Am I still eligible to apply to either opportunity?

    Yes. Equivalent career stages are eligible. Please contact a PGRP Program Directors if you need further clarification.

OTHER

  1. How can I communicate my comments about the changes in this solicitation?

    Please email your comments to the Plant Genome Research Program at dbipgr [at] nsf [dot] gov. PGRP wants to hear about and will share with IOS and BIO your experiences, opinions, suggestions for improvements, and other comments about the changes in this solicitation.

  2. What if my question is not addressed by these FAQs?

    Please ask us! Contact information for PGRP Program Directors and management in IOS can be found in the solicitation and at the Division website (https://www.nsf.gov/ios).

Crop Improvement: Climate Resilience for Nutrition 20th Fall Symposium

Event date(s): Wednesday, September 25, 2019 to Friday, September 27, 2019
Location: Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 North Warson Road, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63132


The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center will be hosting its 20th Annual Fall Symposium in St. Louis, Missouri, from 25–27 September. This year’s Symposium, Crop Improvement: Climate Resilience for Nutrition is being organized with an international focus on approaches to improving resilience, examining agricultural development through a gender lens, and exploring the pathway from agriculture to nutrition. Panel conversations will go beyond scientific and technical solutions to also address agricultural development priorities and policies.

The Symposium will begin with the presentation of the Danforth Award for Plant Science to Dr. Segenet Kelemu, Director General & CEO, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) on Wednesday, September 25. The Symposium will be held at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 North Warson Road, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63132, phone: 314-587-1000. Free parking is available in lots adjacent to the building. For more information, email Tam McGuire, tmcguire [at] danforthcenter [dot] org

More Information: https://www.danforthcenter.org/events/symposia-workshops/fall-symposia/2019-fall-symposium

 

Plant Phenomics: From Pixels to Traits

Event date(s): Thursday, October 15, 2015 to Friday, October 16, 2015
Location: Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center