USDA Announces $400,000 to Support Ag Science Entrepreneurs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced availability of $400,000 through a new competition to help university researchers bring their discoveries to the marketplace. The Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (I-FAST) competition is a joint initiative of NIFA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“Federal funding is crucial to agricultural research, especially to help move university-developed technologies into commercial products, aka technology transfer,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “I-FAST competition gives researchers the training they need to help make their research marketable.” Continue reading

USDA Announces $7.2 Million for Research on Plant-Biotic Interactions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 10 grants totaling $7.2 million for research on the interactions of plants, microbes, and invertebrates. This is the first round of grants awarded through the Plant-Biotic Interactions program, a joint funding opportunity established through a partnership between NIFA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NIFA funding is made possible through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The research to be supported by these grants will help reveal the mechanisms that govern how plants interact with the world around them,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “The expectation is that NIFA investments will result in tools for growers to help plants thrive in the face of pest and environmental constraints, along with other challenges.”  Continue reading

NSF Graduate Research Fellow (NSF-GRF) via the Graduate Research Intern Program (GRIP)

Our fifteen-member USGS Powell Center working group of Federal and academic research ecologists and entomologists is studying the theoretical and applied aspects of insect invasion.  The working group’s goals are to: 1) develop a quantitative model that informs prediction of insect invasions that could be high-impact; and 2) refine our working hypothesis so that the relative contributions of the defense-free space hypothesis and the enemy release hypothesis are more fully developed and the role of evolutionary history more fully specified. 

We have developed the structure of a Traits and Factors Database (TraFac) for herbivory-specialist insects, and have provided its initial population with traits of conifer specialist invading insects.  TraFac will be populated with traits of other invading insects specializing on other plant groups and of target herbivory specialist insects not yet established in North America but with a high likelihood of introduction.  We will create a statistical model of species impact as predicted by the traits and factors coded in TraFac, and will extend our model to targeted herbivory-specialist insects that have not yet invaded.  Continue reading

Research assistant position, Center for IPM

The National Science Foundation Center for Integrated Pest Management is seeking candidates for a research assistant position.

The successful applicant will carry out work supporting cooperative activities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the NSF Center for Integrated Pest Management. This work will entail the collection development, evaluation, analysis and communication of biological information. The primary responsibility of this position will be to research, write, and present reports on various exotic plant pathogens, which will be used to develop pest forecast models to support USDA APHIS decision making processes. The work will involve performing literature searches, reviewing and interpreting highly technical scientific information and government reports, corresponding with subject matter experts, and analyzing information to produce written reports that will then be presented to a team of analysts. Continue reading

NSF Ecology and Evolution of Infection Diseases accepting proposals

The Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases program supports research on the ecological, evolutionary, and socio-ecological principles and processes that influence the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases. The central theme of submitted projects must be quantitative or computational understanding of pathogen transmission dynamics. Continue reading

NIH Funding Opportunities Related to Zika Virus

Funding opportunities related to Zika virus:

o   NSF interest in proposals relevant to the ongoing spread of the Zika virus through Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) and Rapid Response Research (RAPID), released February 9, 2016

o   Rapid Assessment of Zika Virus (ZIKV) Complications (R21) (PAR-16-106)
Application Receipt/Submission Date(s): Applications accepted on a rolling basis beginning April 20, 2016

o   NHLBI Announces High Priority Interest in Zika Virus-related Blood Supply Safety and Transfusion Research (NOT-HL-16-307) released February 17, 2016

NIFA, NSF Announce $14.5 Million in Available Funding for Plant-Biotic Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) joined with the National Science Foundation (NSF) today to announce the availability of $14.5 million in funding for the NIFA-NSF Joint Plant-Biotics Interactions (PBI) program.

PBI supports research on the processes that mediate beneficial and antagonistic interactions between plants and their viral, bacterial, oomycete, fungal, plant, and invertebrate symbionts, pathogens and pests. This joint program supports projects focused on current and emerging model and non-model systems, as well as agriculturally relevant plants. Continue reading