Three Funding Opportunities Announced: Organic Ag., Collaborative Robotics, and Crop Breeding

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced three new funding opportunities: Organic Transitions, the National Robotics Initiative through AFRI, and Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces Support for Organic Agricultural Programs

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $3.8 million in available funding to address critical issues related to organic agriculture. Funding is made through NIFA’s Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants – Organic Transitions (ORG) program.

The ORG program supports the development and implementation of research, extension, and education programs that enhance organic livestock and crop production. Organic agricultural systems provide many ecosystem services, and natural resources stewardship is a key principle in organic farming.

The deadline for applications is March 29, 2018. See the funding opportunity for details. Continue reading

Cornell develops the first robotic insect

In Cornell News

Flying insects can perform impressive acrobatic feats, simultaneously sensing and avoiding a striking hand or landing on moving surfaces, such as leaves or flowers blowing in the wind. Similarly, walking insects can display amazing speed, maneuverability, and robustness by rapidly sensing and avoiding predators, while foraging or seeking shelter in small spaces and unstructured terrains.

Silvia Ferrari, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, with Robert J. Wood (Harvard University), is working toward a future where autonomous, small-scale robots would have similar capabilities, sensing and responding to their environments and maneuvering without human commands. These robots would be particularly invaluable for surveillance or reconnaissance missions in dangerous or remote environments. Continue reading