United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
09/15/17 5:00 PM ET Receipt
Grants to USA non-land grant agricultural colleges and universities to improve institutional capacity for research, education, extension, and outreach activities. Applicants are required to complete the registration process before submitting an application. Registration may take up to two weeks. This program supports activities in the areas of renewable resources, agriculture, and other similar disciplines.
Purpose and Priorities:
The Department of Agriculture is designated as the lead Federal Agency that supports higher education in the food and agricultural sciences. In this context, NIFA has specific responsibility to initiate and support projects to strengthen higher education teaching programs in the food and agricultural sciences.
NIFA is soliciting applications for the NLGCA Program that will align to the mission and goals of the following:
(1) USDA Strategic Plan, specifically addressing Goal 1.
(2) USDA Research, Education and Economics (REE) Action Plan (March 2014 version), specifically addressing Goal 6.
(3) NIFA Strategic Plan (2014-2018), specifically addressing Strategic Goal No. 1.
As legislatively reauthorized, the purpose of this program is to assist the NLGCA Institutions in maintaining and expanding their capacity to conduct education, research, and outreach/extension activities relating to agriculture, renewable resources, and other similar disciplines. NLGCA Institutions may use the funds to maintain and expand capacity:
(A) To successfully compete for funds from Federal grants and other sources to carry out educational, research, and outreach/extension activities that address priority concerns of national, regional, State, and local interest;
(B) To disseminate information relating to priority concerns to: (i) interested members of the agriculture, renewable resources, and other relevant communities; (ii) the public; and (iii) any other interested entity;
(C) To encourage members of the agriculture, renewable resources, and other relevant communities to participate in priority education, research, and outreach/extension activities by providing matching funding to leverage grant funds; and
(D) Through (i) the purchase or other acquisition of equipment and other infrastructure (not including alteration, repair, renovation, or construction of buildings); (ii) the professional growth and development of the faculty of the NLGCA Institution; and (iii) the development of graduate assistantships.
In efforts to carry out education, applied research, and outreach/extension, the NLGCA Program aligns its purpose and priorities with recommendations from the following reports: (i) National Research Council’s publication: “How People Learn,”; and (ii) the National Research Council’s 2009 report, Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World, which recommends that academic institutions should broaden the undergraduate student experience by integrating opportunities to participate in research, education, and extension. Furthermore, in 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Report attested: “At the baccalaureate level, a comprehensive array of undergraduate programs relevant to agriculture and the food industry, as well as applied social and natural sciences, must remain strong and well- supported”.
Increasingly, the leadership in the scientific community embraces multi-disciplinary efforts that integrate biological and social sciences. The incorporation of social sciences would result in successful and powerful academic foundations toward needed expertise and relevant professional skills employers anticipate and value; for example, in government, nonprofits, social services, education institutions, and businesses.
Program Area Description:
Applications that address the national challenge to increase the number and diversity (i.e., having an agricultural sciences workforce representative of the Nation’s population) of students entering food and agriculture-related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines are encouraged.
Applicants are encouraged to submit applications that will result in building linkages with other institutions (including other colleges and universities, units of State governments, and private sector entities) having a significant ongoing commitment to the food and agricultural sciences generally and to the specific Need Area(s) for which a grant is requested (see below). The goals of such joint initiative should include maximizing the development and use of limited resources (including faculty, facilities, and equipment) by generating a critical mass of expertise and activity focused on a targeted Need Area(s); increasing cost-effectiveness through achieving economies of scale; strengthening the scope and quality of a project’s impact; and promoting coalition building likely to transcend the project’s lifetime and lead to future ventures.
Leadership Skills Development:
The development of leadership skills, knowledge, and qualities are necessary to prepare students for agricultural related careers in private sector, government, and academia. NLGCA teaching applications must demonstrably incorporate a leadership development component to equip students with technical and leadership abilities upon graduation.
Specific activities may include:
-Developing practical applications to increase understanding of leadership roles, including critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills; ethics and professionalism; and working in teams;
-Connecting the academic classroom experience with daily leadership roles and organizational activities;
-Providing opportunities for mentoring and shadowing; and,
-Organizing leadership academies, workshops, trainings, etc.
Incorporation of Social Sciences and Enhancing Impacts:
The NLGCA Program supports social and behavioral science disciplines. NLGCA projects that integrate social and biological sciences to provide experiential learning opportunities for students in applied research, and related community development programs are encouraged. Incorporation of social and behavioral sciences is important for addressing many of the challenges facing agriculture and rural communities, such as increasing global demand for food production in the face of limited natural resources; improving health and reducing obesity by engaging in heathy diets; and alleviating poverty by fostering economic opportunity.
NLGCA encourages, but does not require, projects that develop content suitable for delivery through eXtension.
Applicants may submit one of the following four types of grants:
1. Planning Activity/Conference Grant
Applicants in this Grant Type may request funding to facilitate strategic planning session(s) required of faculty, industry, professional association, community leaders, or other necessary participants for the specific purpose of developing a formal plan leading to a subsequent submission of either a Joint, or a Large-scale (state or regional) comprehensive initiatives (LCI), Project Proposal, as described directly below in C.3. or C.4. A Planning Activity/Conference/Planning grant application may not be submitted in the same year for which a Joint or LCI application for the same project is also submitted.
2. Regular Grant (Single Institution/Organization)
Regular Grant supports targeted original scientific Research, Education/Teaching, Outreach/Extension or Integrated Projects. An eligible, individual institution, independent branch campus, or branch institution of a State system may submit a grant application for project activities to be undertaken principally on behalf of its own students or faculty, and to be managed primarily by its own personnel. The applicant executes the project without the requirement of sharing grant funds with other project partners.
3. Collaborative Grants
Collaborative Grant supports projects with at least one additional partner or a multi-partner approach to enhance education/teaching programs. Collaborative Grants should build linkages to generate a critical mass of expertise, skill and technology to address education/teaching programs related to the food, agricultural, and natural resources, and human sciences. Grants can reduce duplication of efforts and/or build capacity and should be organized and led by a strong applicant with documented project management knowledge and skills to organize and carry out the initiative. Collaborative Grants are expected to be larger than Regular Grants and should not exceed $3 million. The partners must share grant funds (see explanation of required funds distribution percentage among partners in the definition).
a. Joint Grants (Applicant + One or more Partners)
In a Joint Grant, the applicant executes the project with assistance from at least one additional partner. The partner(s) must share grant funds (see explanation of required funds distribution percentage among partners in the definition of a Joint Project Proposal in Part VIII, E.).
b. Large-scale (state or regional) comprehensive initiatives (LCI) (Applicant + Two or more Partners)
In an LCI Project Proposal, the applicant executes the project with assistance from at least two additional partners. Additional partners must share grant funds (see explanation of required funds distribution percentage among partners in the definition of a LCI Project Proposal in Part VIII, E.). An LCI project differs from a Joint Project Proposal in project scope and impact. LCI Project Proposals must support a multi- partner approach to solving a major state or regional challenge facing the agricultural sciences at the postsecondary level. LCI Project Proposals are characterized by multiple partners (each providing a specific expertise) organized and led by a strong applicant with documented project management ability to organize and carry out the initiative.
Note: LCI Projects must include both the R&R Budget and the R&R Subaward Budget Attachment Forms. The forms shall clearly identify the total grant funding anticipated for the applicant and each partner to demonstrate the required sharing percentage. All expenditures for the applicant and all partners shall be further itemized in the Budget Justification. LCI Project Proposal funds do not have to be divided equally among project years, nor do they need to be divided equally among project partners.
Impacts for all LCI Projects: In addition to addressing the Evaluation Plan section of this program expected impacts from a LCI Project must include, but are not limited to:
-An assessment of significant progress toward addressing the national challenge of increasing the number of under-represented students and the diversity of food and agriculture sciences graduates, while addressing the specific state or regional opportunity defined in the grant application;
-Documented expansion of the number of students who enroll in postsecondary courses in the food or agricultural sciences disciplines;
-Documented enhanced retention rates of students exposed to LCI Project activities;
-A comprehensive project evaluation, with indicators and methods defined in this grants program, which informs the undergraduate food and agriculture sciences community and others about the effectiveness of this LCI Project. (Please refer to Part V.B. for specific details regarding Evaluation Criteria and the Part VIII.F – Logic Model.);
-A description of completed or ongoing activities supported by this LCI Project, and a description of those same activities that will be sustained once grant funds end; and
-A description of any related activities expected to occur as an outgrowth of this funded project.
GrantWatch ID#: 145801
Planning Activity/Conference Grant: Applicants in this Grant Type may request up to $30,000 (total conference, not per year).
Regular Grant (Single Institution/Organization): NLGCA applicants may request up to $150,000 (total, not per year).
Collaborative Grants: Collaborative Grants are expected to be larger than Regular Grants and should not exceed $3 million. Applicants may request up to $300,000 (total, not per year) for a Joint Project Proposal. Applicants may request up to $750,000 (total, not per year) for a large-scale (state or regional) comprehensive initiative (LCI) Project Proposal.
Project periods may range from twenty-four (24) to thirty-six (36) months. Projects shall conclude no sooner than twenty-four (24) months after the award start date to allow the applicant sufficient time to evaluate the results and report the impacts. LCI projects are expected to use the full 36- month period. Conference projects may range between 24 and 36 months.
Applications may only be submitted by a Non-Land Grant College of Agriculture (NLGCAs) certified as such by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. In order for an institution to qualify as a NLGCA, it must be a public college or university offering a baccalaureate or higher degree in the study of food and agricultural sciences, as defined in 7 U.S.C. 3103(9). A list of NLGCA’s certified by NIFA can be found on the NIFA website. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply to this grants program, providing such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.
Section 7101 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 required NIFA to establish a process through which institutions may apply for designation as a NLGCA. To request that NIFA provide certification of NLGCA status, an Authorized Representative must go to: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/webform/request-non-land-grant-university-designation and complete a web-based form indicating the institution meets the qualifications. Within 30 days of submission, NIFA will provide the administrative point of contact specified on the request, with a certification of NLGCA designation or a response indicating why the request for certification is being denied. You must attach this certification to your application in order to be eligible to apply (see Part IV, B, 3. Field 12).
Additionally, section 7101 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79), amended 7 U.S.C. 3103 to allow Hispanic-serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACUs) and State-certified non-land-grant institutions eligible to receive funds under the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Act of 1962 to opt out of their respective designation to qualify as Non- Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture. Please see the Federal Register Notice published on May 22, 2014 for more information.
Institutions that are eligible to receive funds under the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Program and did not opt out of that status by October 13, 2015, will not be eligible to request designation as NLGCA and submit applications in response to this RFA.
For the purposes of this program, the individual branches of a college or university that are separately accredited as degree-granting institutions as indicated per the Official List of Certified Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture are treated as separate institutions, and are therefore eligible to apply for NLGCA Program awards. Separate branches or campuses of a college or university that are not individually accredited as degree-granting institutions are not treated as separate institutions, and are therefore not eligible to submit an application. Accreditation must be conferred by an agency or association recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.
Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.
Section 713 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114- 113) limits indirect costs to 30 percent of the total Federal funds provided (or 42.857 percent of total indirect costs) under each award. Similar language may be included in the FY 2017 appropriation, therefore, when preparing budgets, you should limit your request for the recovery of indirect costs to the lesser of your institution’s official negotiated indirect cost rate or the equivalent of 30 percent of total Federal funds awarded. See Part V section 7.9 of the NIFA Grants.gov Application Guide for further indirect cost information.
Funds made available for grants under the NLGCA program must comply with the legislative authority.”
The use of grant funds to plan, acquire, or construct a building or facility is not allowed under this program. With prior approval, and in accordance with the cost principles set forth in 2 CRF part 200, some grant funds may be used for minor alterations, renovations, or repairs deemed necessary to retrofit existing teaching or research spaces in order to carry out a funded project. However, requests to use grant funds for such purposes must demonstrate that the work is essential to achieving the major purpose of the project. Grant funds may not be used for endowment investing.”
Consistent with other competitive grant programs, NIFA has determined that grant funds awarded under this authority may not be used for student tuition remission, on-campus room and board, academic fees or other financial assistance (no scholarships or fellowships). Further, promotional items (e.g., T-shirts and other give-a-ways) and food functions (e.g., cookouts or other social meal gatherings) are considered ‘entertainment’ expenses, and are, therefore, also not allowed under NLGCA.
Faculty and students receiving Federal funds from this grants program for developmental activities or educational costs must be an eligible participant as defined in Part VIII, D – Definitions).
Only electronic applications may be submitted via Grants.gov to NIFA in response to this RFA. Applicants are urged to submit early to the Grants.gov system.
Prior to preparing an application, it is recommended that the Project Director/Principal Investigator PD/PI first contact an Authorized Representative (AR, also referred to as Authorized Organizational Representative or AOR) to determine if the organization is prepared to submit electronic applications through Grants.gov.
If not (e.g., the institution/organization is new to the electronic grant application process through Grants.gov), then the one-time registration process must be completed PRIOR to submitting an application. It can take as long as 2 weeks to complete the registration process so it is critical to begin as soon as possible.
In such situations, the AR should go to “Register” in the top right corner of the Grants.gov web page (or go to http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html) for information on registering the institution/organization with Grants.gov. Part II.1.of the NIFA Grants.gov Application Guide contains additional explanatory language regarding the registration process.
Applications must be received by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on September 15, 2017.
USDA Strategic Plan:
View this opportunity on Grants.gov:
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Dr. Edwin Lewis, National Program Leader
Division of Community and Education
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2251
P: (202) 486-2773
F: (202) 720-2030
Adriene Woodin, Branch Chief
Office of Grants and Financial Management
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20250-2201
P: (202) 401-4326
F: (202) 401-1804
Rochelle McCrea; Team Leader, Team I
Office of Grants and Financial Management
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271
P: (202) 401-2880
F: (202) 401-6271
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