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Bioproduct Pilot Program FAQs

What qualifies as a Bioproducts Research Facility?

The intent is a physical facility (as opposed to a virtual facility) that has the ability to meet the criteria outlined under Definitions and Other Details heading on the program home page.

You will use Appendix 1 to state how your facility meets the stated criteria.

Distance from the primary residence hall can be 3 miles as the crow flies (straight line), as opposed to driving distance.

In the project narrative itself, applicants are responsible for articulating how the facility meets the requirements and why it is appropriate in meeting the priorities outlined in the Request for Applications. For example, one of the priorities includes a justification of the industrial relevance of the chosen scale for scale-up activities.

An on-campus laboratory would qualify as the Bioproducts Research Facility if it meets the four stated requirements AND is the location where the majority of the research and scale-up is happening. It would not be appropriate to use the laboratory to meet the stated Bioproducts Research Facility requirements but then perform the majority of the research and scale-up in another location that does not meet those requirements.

Who can be a lead institution?

The RFA allows for a broad range of lead institution types, including:

  • 1862 Land-grant Institutions
  • 1890 Land-grant Institutions
  • 1994 Land-grant Institutions
  • For-profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Native American Tribal organizations, not federally recognized Tribal governments
  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than postsecondary institutions
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than postsecondary institutions
  • Small businesses
  • State Agricultural Experiment Stations
  • State-controlled postsecondary institutions
Other or Additional Information

Additional details are provided in the RFA.

For purposes of clarity, the lead institution must direct research and/or production scale-up at the Bioproducts Research Facility that meets the four stated requirements, which should also be the location where the majority of the research and scale-up is happening.

  • The lead institution may demonstrate an ability to oversee operations of the Bioproducts Research Facility through various instruments, such as ownership, operational control, facility use agreements or other means.
  • In cases where one applicant would like to collaborate with a second institution that oversees Bioproducts Research Facility operations, either:
    • The lead applicant must secure a facility use agreement (or similar instrument) to oversee the proposed research in the facility; OR
    • The second institution should be the lead applicant.

Does my feedstock of choice qualify?

The RFA allows for a broad range of feedstocks, including [from the RFA], “any agricultural commodity, food, feed, fiber, livestock, oil, or a derivative thereof, that the Secretary determines to have been used in the production of materials that have demonstrated market viability and benefits (as described in Part I. B. Purpose and Priorities of the RFA) as of the date of enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. For purposes of clarity, forest and crop residues and agricultural/food byproducts or wastes are considered Covered Agricultural Commodities.”

The availability of feedstocks at the time of the application submission should meet or exceed the needs of a commercial-scale bioproducts facility. Our interpretation of the intent of the authorizing language is that we are not looking to fund theoretical biorefineries from crops that still need significant improvement for commercial deployment.

Does my product of choice qualify?

The primary focus of the product development and scale-up work must meet the definition of a construction product or consumer product provided in the RFA.

Consumer products are further defined in U.S. Code Title 15. (This link is also provided in the RFA.)

  • For purposes of clarity, the list of products in a.5.A through a.5.I are excluded and not-in-scope. Food and cosmetics are out-of-scope.

Biofuels and bioenergy (renewable electricity, biogas, etc.) are out-of-scope.

Could you clarify the prohibition of duplicate and multiple submissions?

Submission of multiple proposals proposing to do substantially similar work is not allowed.

Multiple distinct proposals from the same applicant are allowed (such as project director (PD) in one proposal and PD or co-PD in another proposal).

Multiple distinct proposals from same institution are allowed.

How competitive is this program?

This is a new program, so we do not have an established expectation for the percent of applicants that typically get funded.

Based on registration and participation in our RFA webinar, and other inquiries we are receiving, we expect this program to be highly competitive. We intend to award two to five awards, ranging from $2 million to $5 million, to total up to $10 million. Please put your effort into the most competitive proposals you think respond the best to the priorities outlined in the RFA.

The RFA states that four additional pages may be used for Figures and Tables. Does this mean our project narrative may be 29 pages?

The project narrative is limited to 25 pages, and an additional four pages may be used for four pages of figures and tables. These additional four pages may be included in the project narrative file (for a maximum of 29 pages) or you may include a project narrative of 25 pages and then separately upload a file with up to four pages of Figures and Tables under “Other” attachments, similar to the bibliography.

What kind of equipment can be included in the budget? Can facility rent be included in the budget?

Successful applicants must not use grant funds awarded under the authority of this RFA to:

  • renovate or refurbish research, education or extension space
  • purchase or install fixed equipment in such space
  • plan, repair, rehabilitate, acquire or construct buildings or facilities.

Equipment that is not fixed may be included in the budget.

Facility rent may be included in the budget. This is a separate budget item on the budget sheet.

Could you provide an example of a Logic Model?

Guidance for logic models can be found on the NIFA website.

 

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