|GCRIO Home Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR of the National Science and Technology Council) Program Guide to Federally Funded Environment and Natural Resources R&D Department of Agriculture||| Search|
USDA is responsible for ensuring a safe, healthy, abundant, and affordable food and fiber supply, while sustaining and enhancing the resource base. Over the last decade, USDA has faced challenges in the areas of water quality, biodiversity, and pest and disease control that have required new approaches to food production and renewable natural resource management. In response to these changing needs, opportunities have surfaced in new uses for agricultural and forestry products, biofuels and biomass energy, and recycling technologies.
Types of Environment and Natural Resources Research Supported
Research Funding Opportunities
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)
Two competitive grants within CSREES relate directly to the environment and natural resources:
The Forest Service supports research to develop scientific information and technology needed to protect, manage, use, and sustain the Nation's 1.6 billion acres of public and private forest and rangelands.
The Forest Service conducts research through a network of seven regional Forest Experiment Stations, a national Forest Products Laboratory, and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry. Approximately 600 research scientists, supported by over 2,000 staff, are organized into Research Work Units at 70 locations. Programs are organized under four broad research areas, each of which includes several activity categories:
In FY95, the Forest Service provided $25.8 million to support 963 grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to colleges, universities, States, and other research organizations. In addition, grants and agreements totaling $3.5 million were awarded for studies under the global change program.
Cooperative agreements are used to form partnerships to more efficiently conduct mission-related research. These agreements are generally determined on a scientist-to-scientist basis where funding, need, and expertise co- exist. Cooperative agreements are intended to complement internal Forest Service research efforts, with funding generally deployed for short-term studies and to acquire specific expertise or resources. Cooperators must submit progress reports, approval of which is usually a condition for continued funding. Funding decisions are made by Research Work Unit Project Leaders in coordination with Forest Experiment Station headquarters.
Research grants and contracts are solicited on a competitive basis. Funding decisions are made by Forest Service scientists and Experiment Station management in accordance with applicable regulations.
Formal RFPs are issued annually for targeted research on the global change issue. The request for and competitive selection of research proposals is coordinated nationally, but RFPs are issued separately for the northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest regions of the country.
Information on cooperative agreements, grants, and contracts, as well as the Forest Service Global Change program can be obtained by contacting any of the following stations:
Intermountain Research Station
Agricultural Research Service
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) mission is to provide access to agricultural information and to develop new knowledge and technology needed to solve technical agricultural problems of broad scope and high national priority to ensure adequate availability of high-quality, safe food and other agricultural products to meet the nutritional needs of the American consumer; to sustain a viable and competitive food and agricultural economy; to enhance quality of life and economic opportunity for rural citizens and society as a whole; and to maintain a quality environment and natural resource base.
ARS serves a multitude of customers and stakeholders, including USDA and Congress. Within USDA, ARS serves the Secretary of Agriculture, operating as the Department's research arm to respond to the Nation's critical agricultural challenges. ARS scientists, technicians, and support personnel in laboratories strategically located throughout the country are at the disposal of the Secretary to investigate and solve technical problems that face American agriculture today.
ARS frequently establishes partnerships with companies and other institutions to develop new technologies through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and patent licenses. These cooperative endeavors have dramatically speeded commercialization of agricultural technologies. Approximately 550 CRADAs have been set up with industry to date; some of these have already led to new commercial products and processes. Under these agreements, industry provides marketing information essential for the successful commercialization of the product/process, and other information to help guide ARS research. In turn, the first right to an exclusive license on the product/process emerging from the agreement is awarded to the industry partner.
Nearly 200 licenses of ARS-developed technologies are currently in place. These primarily involve licenses to industry to make, use, and sell ARS- patented products/processes. Patents are an important component of USDA's technology transfer program. ARS typically receives 50 to 60 patents each year; it has received more than 1,200 patents since 1970.
ARS technology transfer has had a positive impact on small and rural
businesses. In keeping with the intent of the Federal Technology Transfer
Act of 1986, ARS gives first preference to exclusive licenses of its technology
to small businesses, many of which are in rural agricultural locations.
More than half of ARS' current licenses and CRADAs are with small, rural,
and/or minority- or women-owned businesses. More than 50 small and/or
rural companies were created based on patented ARS technologies.