NRI Funding Opportunities

The National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (NRI) is the office in the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) of the USDA charged with funding research on key problems of national and regional importance in biological, environmental, physical, and social sciences relevant to agriculture, food, the environment, and communities on a peer-reviewed, competitive basis. To address these problems, NRI advances fundamental scientific knowledge in support of agriculture and coordinates opportunities to build on these scientific findings. The resulting new scientific and technological discoveries then necessitate efforts in education and extension to deliver science-based knowledge to people, allowing informed practical decisions.

The NRI supports a spectrum of research that bridges the basic and applied sciences and results in practical outcomes. From its inception, the NRI supported projects for fundamental and applied research, and in FY 2004, CSREES was given the authority to use up to 20% of the available NRI funds to carry out a competitive grants program for projects combining research, education, and/or extension, termed "integrated projects."

Here is a description of the clusters for FY 2007. For more information in CSREES NRI, go to USDA.

Animal Genomics And Biosecurity Program Cluster

Goal: Enhance protection and safety of the Nation's agriculture and food supply and enhance economic opportunities for agricultural producers and enhance the nation's natural resource base and environment.

Information: Provides a foundation to tackle new and re-emerging pathogens or pests of major economic significance in the U.S. and that threaten both industry viability and consumer access to safe and affordable food. Thee programs also contribute to an effective security program for animals and plants that will allow the Nation to respond effectively to the intentional or accidental entry of a foreign pathogen, pest or other biological threat to the U.S. Knowledge from this cluster also helps improve agricultural efficiency and sustainability, lower production costs and aid the discovery of new and improved food and forest products for consumers as well as alternatives to pesticides and antibiotics to control disease outbreaks. Crops, forestry and animal improvements are supported. Activities emphasize basic and applied research approaches as well as integrated research, education, and extension solutions for identified priorities.

Agricultural Production And Value-Added Processing Program Cluster Overview

Goal: Enhance economic opportunities for agricultural producers, enhance protection and safety of the nation's agriculture and food supply, increase economic opportunities ad improve quality of life in rural America, improve the nation's nutrition and health and protect and enhance the nation's natural resource base and environment.

Information: Agricultural production and marketing play a crucial role in the success and growth of the nation's economy. The programs in this cluster support fundamental and mission-linked research and integrated research activities to address current and future challenges to food, feed and fiber production, post-harvest processing and competitiveness of US agricultural in domestic and international markets. They also support the science-base knowledge and technology development that will lead to new and improved uses for agricultural and forestry biomass in bioengergy, industrial and pharmaceutical applications. Basic research support by Agricultural Production programs forms the foundation of scientific knowledge needed to use the increasing amount of genomic data and resources for food, feed and fiber production. These programs make use of cutting edge technologies and tools, such asnanotechnology, genomics, protemocis and metabolic engineering, to ensure that agricultural production in the U.S. remains competitive, innovative and sustainable.

Nutrition, Food Safety And Quality Program Cluster

Goals: Improve the Nation's nutrition and health, enhance protection and safety of the nation's agricultural and food supply and enhance economic opportunities of agricultural producers.

Information: Improve our understanding of the behavioral and environmental factors that influence obesity ad lead to the development and evaluation of effective interventions for obesity prevention. Contribute to our knowledge of the requirements and bioavailability of food components and factors (including food processing technologies and interrelationships among dietary components) that impact optimal human nutrition or food quality. Increase our understanding of disease-causing pathogens and toxins, the risk factors that influence food borne organisms and food safety, and the risk factors that lead to the development and implementation of mitigation or control strategies.

Agroecosystems And Rural Prospertiy Program Cluster Overview

Goal: protect and enhance the nation's natural resource base and environment to support increased economic opportunities and improved quality of life in rural America and enhance protection and safety of the nation's agriculture and food supply.

Information: The overall mission of the cluster is to support research and integrated projects that will address the design or function of productive agriculture and rural communities that sustains yields and rural prosperity while minimizing the negative environmental impacts of agriculture practices and technologies on surrounding natural ecosystems.