2007 Competitive Grants Program Synopsis
Thomas Fretz, Dean Emeritus and Chair of the Northeast Sun Grant Steering Committee
The NESGI announced the availability of its regional competitive grants program in an RFA released March 1, 2007. The RFA was sent to regional (including Ohio and Michigan) deans, research directors, extension directors, and academic program directors at the regional land grant universities and experiment stations using the Northeast Regional Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA) and NASULGC list-serves. Letters of Intent (not required) were requested by March 15, 2007. Approximately 50 Letters of Intent to submit a proposal were received and used to assist in the selection of the Technical Review Panel. A panel of 8 scientists and stakeholders with broad disciplinary and institutional diversity was selected. Completed grant applications were due electronically in the NESGI office by the COB April 30, 2007. Thirty-nine (39) completed applications were received. One proposal was later withdrawn from the competition when the PI was informed that they had received a USDA-NRI award. For the 38 remaining proposals, each was reviewed by a primary and two secondary reviewers. Total funds requested approached $5M. The NESGI allocated $985,000 for funding of regional competitive grants in the 2007 competition. The Technical Review Panel was convened in Washington, DC May 30-31 to review and rank the proposals. Eight (8) proposals were recommended for funding, including 1 Lead proposal and 7 Seed proposals. On June 8 these recommendations were presented to the NESGI Steering Committee for review. The Steering Committee recommended approval with a vote of 7-0 that the projects be funded contingent on resolving some budgetary issues, namely that the budgets and overhead are correctly calculated. The selected proposals were forwarded to a DOT-convened Federal Review Panel, including participants from USDA, DOE, EPA and DOD. The selections were approved and applicants were notified of the decision by letter from the Northeast Sun Grant Institute of Excellence Director, Larry Walker.