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AFRI Interagency Programs

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative works with other federal agencies in the United States to fund and support projects of mutual interest through Requests for Applications. Current and past interagency programs include:

Big Data, Informatics, and Smart Communities

Partnering Agency: National Science Foundation

Building on NSF's history of investments in data and computational sciences and USDA's history of investments in agricultural science, this activity jointly supports convergent research that combines methods in agricultural, biological, and computer and information science and engineering to address pressing challenges and opportunities in digital agriculture.

Comparative Genomics Research Program

Partnering Agency: National Institutes of Health

The Comparative Genomics Research Program invites applications for research developing comparative approaches that can be used to understand genome structure and function and the relationship between genomic features and phenotypes. This program supports studies that enable the use of a diverse array of species, including farm animals, to advance our ability to understand basic biological processes related to human health and disease, as well as studies that develop novel analytical tools and resources for the comparative genomics research community.

Cyber-Physical Systems

Partnering Agencies: National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, National Institutes of Health, Department of Transportation

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components. Advances in CPS will enable capability, adaptability, scalability, resiliency, safety, security, reliability, and usability that will far exceed the simple embedded systems of today. The challenges and opportunities for CPS are significant and far-reaching. The goal of the CPS program is to develop the core system science needed to engineer complex cyber-physical systems that people can use or interact with and depend upon. NSF is working closely with multiple agencies of the federal government, including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to identify basic research needs in CPS common across multiple application domains, along with opportunities for accelerated transition to practice.

Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit: Research in Biomedicine and Agriculture Using Agriculturally Important Domestic Animal Species

Partnering Agency: National Institutes of Health

Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit program invites the submission of grant applications that utilize agriculturally important domestic animal species to improve human health through the advancement of basic and translational research deemed highly relevant to both agricultural and biomedical research. This initiative is designed to facilitate and encourage comparative medicine research studies through the careful selection and refinement of farm animal models that mimic human developmental, physiological and etiological processes. These models will increase understanding of the biology of fertility and infertility, normal and abnormal metabolism, developmental origin of diseases, and improve prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in both human and agriculturally important domestic animals. This program concluded accepting new proposals in FY 2019 and has active awards from previous years.

Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases

Partnering Agencies: National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.K. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation

The multi-agency Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases program supports research on the ecological, evolutionary, and social drivers that influence the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases of crops, animals, and humans. The central theme of submitted projects focuses on the quantitative or computational understanding of pathogen transmission dynamics.

Food Specific Molecular Profiles and Biomarkers of Food and Nutrient Intake, and Dietary Exposure

Partnering Agency: National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Food and Agriculture are jointly supporting research on molecular signatures of dietary intake and exposure through this funding opportunity. The agencies encourage applications from well-qualified and experienced researchers, for addressing the specific gaps on food specific molecular signatures and biomarkers of food and nutrient intake, and dietary exposure over time. The funding opportunity supports both animal and human studies as appropriate. Clinical studies that involve controlled feeding and short term bolus feeding studies involving limited human subjects are appropriate for this purpose. This program concluded accepting new proposals in FY 2018 and has active awards from previous years.

Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water (INFEWS)

Partnering Agency: National Science Foundation

Humanity is reliant upon the physical resources and natural systems of the Earth for the provision of food, energy, and water. Society must determine how to best integrate across the natural and built environments to provide for a growing demands while maintaining appropriate ecosystem services. The overarching goal of Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) is to catalyze the well-integrated interdisciplinary research efforts to transform scientific understanding of the food, energy, and water nexus in order to improve system function and management, address system stress, increase resilience, and ensure sustainability. The National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture are combining resources to identify and fund the most meritorious and highest-impact projects that support their respective missions. This program concluded accepting new proposals in FY 2018 and has active awards from previous years.

International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP)

Partnering Agencies: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom (BBSRC), Grains Research and Development Corporation of Australia (GRDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of Biotechnology of India (DBT), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, in Spanish, Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique of France (INRA), Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), and The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Mexico (SADER)

The International Wheat Yield Partnership’s goal is to increase the genetic yield potential of wheat by 50% in 20 years. To achieve this goal, the program supports projects that:

  • Provide the scientific means to enable doubling of the current average rate of genetic yield gain;
  • Enable this impact by exploiting the best relevant science base worldwide,
  • Deliver by incorporating discoveries / traits and evaluating them in elite germplasm in relevant environments, and
  • Exploit these discoveries and germplasm by transferring them to leading relevant breeding programs around the world, both public and private.

This program concluded accepting new proposals in FY 2017 and has active awards from previous years.

National Robotics Initiative

Partnering Agencies: National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense (DARPA, ONR, Air Force Office of Scientific Research), National Aeronautics and Space Agency

The goal of the National Robotics Initiative is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively with, people. Innovative robotics research and applications emphasizing the realization of such co-robots acting in direct support of and in a symbiotic relationship with a human is supported. The purpose of this program is the development of this next generation of robotics, to advance the capability and usability of such systems and artifacts, and to encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas.

Plant Biotic Interactions

Partnering Agency: National Science Foundation

The Plant Biotic Interactions program seeks to support important fundamental and translational research on the mechanisms and principles that mediate the interaction of plants with their biotic partners. Synergies are sought between modeling and experimental approaches and between exploration of fundamental principles and the deployment of insights gained by these approaches in agricultural settings. Proposals that apply novel fundamental knowledge to agriculturally relevant systems should include available information about the agricultural importance of the system (e.g. economic information).

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy

Partnering Agency: Department of Energy

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy supported projects on genomics-based research for the improved use of plant biomass and feedstocks for the production of biofuels and renewable chemical feedstocks. Research to overcome these biological barriers to the low-cost, high quality, scalable and sustainable production of dedicated bioenergy biomass feedstocks using the tools of genetics and genomics are encouraged. This program concluded accepting new proposals in FY 2017 and has active awards from previous years.

Signals in the Soil (SitS)

Partnering Agencies: National Science Foundation, UK Research and Innovation (NERC, BBSRC, EPSRC, STFC)

Signals in the Soil invests in convergent research that can potentially transform existing capabilities in understanding dynamic, near-surface soil processes through advances in sensor systems and modeling. To accomplish this research, multiple disciplines must converge to produce novel sensors and/or sensing systems of multiple modalities that are adaptable to different environments and collect data and report on a wide range of chemical, biological and physical parameters.

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