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USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces Support for Collaborative Robotics

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced support through the joint National Robotics Initiative (NRI-2.0) to research the development and use of collaborative robots. NIFA’s funding is made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, which aims to address challenges in food and agricultural sciences, through research, extension, and education.

The NRI-2.0 program is a partnership between NIFA, the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, and Department of Energy. It supports foundational research in robotic science and technology. There are four main areas of research to advance the goal of ubiquitous co-robots: scalability, customizability, lowering barriers to entry, and societal impact.

Eligible applicants include state agricultural experiment stations, colleges and universities, university research foundations, federal agencies, national laboratories, and private organizations and corporations. Additionally, collaboration among academic, industry, government, non-profit and other organizations is encouraged to establish linkages between researchers, applications developers, and users.

NIFA reviews all proposals accepted in NIFA’s competitive grant programs through an external peer review process in which a panel of experts from within the respective field in question takes part. Specific details on panel meetings, review formats, and evaluation criteria may vary among programs.

There is $7 million available in funding. There are two full proposal deadlines: Feb. 20, 2018, and Feb. 5, 2019. See the request for applications for further details.

NIFA’s mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. NIFA’s investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of U.S. agriculture. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural sciences, visit, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAImpacts.

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